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Ex-Cubs GM Dallas Green, who lit up Wrigley, would draw line with Jumbotron

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Updated: September 9, 2013 2:58PM



PHILADELPHIA — For all the baseball accomplishments Dallas Green pulled off as Cubs general manager and president in the 1980s, his lasting legacy in Chicago is undoubtedly the lights on the roof of Wrigley Field.

That doesn’t mean that 25 years after the first night game at Wrigley he’s thrilled with the idea of a Jumbotron-like video board ­going up in left field or supposedly see-through billboards hovering over the right-field bleachers.

“It’s going to mar the beauty of the ballpark, there’s no question about that,” said Green, who ran the Cubs from 1982 to 1987 and is a senior adviser to the general manager with the Phillies. “It’s one of the oldest in the game, and it has a charm to it. But it goes back to the same old thing. If you don’t put asses in the seats and you don’t have advertisers and you don’t have TV contracts, you cannot survive in today’s game.”

Especially with the added burden of servicing a major-league-high debt load of more than a half-billion dollars.

“That’s the point,” he said.

Green, who was fired after the 1987 season, pushed aggressively enough long enough for night baseball on the North Side during his tenure that lights for Wrigley were approved for the 1988 season in his final days on the job.

He said the team’s 1984 playoff run “taught everybody that you had to have lights to live in today’s baseball.’’

“I love day baseball,” he said, “but Rush Street is right down the road. And it doesn’t matter where you go; there are no short trips if you have day baseball.

“But I told the fans and I told everybody that their philosophy had to change a bit because baseball wasn’t going to let them — because of television and everything else — get away with playing day baseball in the playoffs and World Series.”

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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