An exceedingly juicy rumor has been making the rounds, the short of which has the Chicago Cubs playing the 2013 season not at Wrigley Field, but on the South Side at the home of the White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field.

The source of the rumor, according to NBC5 in Chicago, is a set of anonymous workers at the Cell, who say they’ve been warned that a “busier than usual” season is coming in 2013. The Cubs – and sources close to the Cubs – immediately denied the rumor.

End of story, right? Sexy, but unlikely rumor gets shot down before it even circulates widely. That’s that.

Maybe for 2013. But is the “Cubs to play a season away from Wrigley Field” story really over?

Let’s be honest: that kind of plan has always been a possibility. Piecemeal, offseason changes at Wrigley offered one approach to updating the ballpark and player facilities in desperately needed ways, but another approach is to really dig in and make significant alterations over the course of a year (it’s a little harder to do massive construction in the din of a Chicago Winter). In that regard, this “rumor” isn’t terribly shocking.

But will it happen? In 2013, probably not. Multiple sources have been quick to poo-poo the possibility, and the Cubs, themselves, have denied the rumor.

In the years thereafter? To my mind, it would be unwise to call it impossible.

Yes, the Cubs have said that they’d prefer to handle renovations during the offseason and on road trips, and, yes, the money for a complete overhaul of Wrigley Field hasn’t even been sourced yet. But who knows how things will play out? Maybe the most cost-effective renovation will be a concise one, taking place over one calendar year. Maybe the substance of the renovations will not allow the Cubs to take a piecemeal approach. Maybe public financing will come with conditions that require the Cubs to complete the renovations within a certain period of time.

It’s possible that, when all is said and done, a year away from Wrigley Field could be the best – if not only – option for the Cubs.

The logistics of playing a season away from your home park are, in a word, onerous. But it’s been done before. And, as for the Cubs’ immediate denials? Well, if the funds haven’t been secured, and plans haven’t been finalized, the Cubs would, of course, act quickly to scuttle any buzz. No sense in risking near-term advertising or season ticket dollars (however small that risk) right now.

I’m not saying this rumor has legs, nor am I saying a season away from Wrigley is the best plan when it comes to fixing the old girl up. Heck, if the Cubs aren’t any good by 2014/2015/2016, Wrigley Field, itself, might be the only thing drawing casual fans to Cubs games. It would be rough to lose an entire season, in that regard.

I’m just saying that we should all keep an open mind.

Who knows: maybe that’s exactly why this rumor popped up. Maybe the Cubs want to see just how open our minds are.

  • scorecard paul

    I wish I was as lucky as you, but maybee you can help me out. I love Wrigley Field and all of her glorious history. My house is a shrine for Wrigley Field. I have been collecting memorabilia for about the last 20 years, I have a copy of every scorecard ever issued at Wrigley Field, except last year. It is a shame that it has become so hard for me to get my hands on the current scorecards. They have multiple variations, and covers, and it is hard for me to get them all. I will buy them from you. If you are going to the games anyway, I could send you some cash, and you could send them to me???
    Brett, I am sorry for begging on your website, but my collection is in need of help.

  • cubsball14

    At least they have October to work on Wrigley most years lol

  • Kevin

    We all agree that Wrigley Field is a very special place to watch a baseball game, most likely the best experience a fan can have. I also believe everyone is on board seeing what changes the FO has made trying to build a winner. Now here’s the very difficult question I need to ask…… it more important to experience Wrigley or a have a consistent winner? Unfortunately, Cubs fans, we can’t have both the way the law exists today. The Cubs need to play the same number of night games as other teams. Good players don’t play well over long periods splitting their games, 1/2 during the day and the other 1/2 played at night. Before any real money is spent to renovate Wrigley Field we need to be able to play at night. This is 2012 not 1912, we need to change with the times.

    • cubsnivy56

      I’m greedy, I want both the Wrigley experience and a winner.  I believe Dale Sveum made a comment that the day game excuse is just that, an excuse, and he won’t accept it.  Theo would not have taken the job if he didn’t think he could build a winner with things he can control.  I doubt that he expects to have the city, or whoever, grant the option for an equal number of night games.

      Over the last 20 years we have had a few winning teams, playoff level, but not enough to go all the way.  Those teams did not fail to win the World Series because of day games.  They failed because they were not built to win it all.  Past ownership was not committed to building a winner.  They wanted to be good enough to fill the stands and sell some beer and t-shirts.

      Let’s see wht happens with an owner, and front office, committed to building a winning organization.  Maybe we can have our cake and eat it too.  Now that would be the cats pajamas!

  • TeddyBallGame

    Scorecard Paul, assuming Brett gives full permission then I should be able to help you out. No worries about the price, I get them on sale for $FREE.99. I’m not sure about grabbing one everyday, but if you needed any in particular I should be able to help..only for a true Cubs fan!!

    • Brett

      By all means.

    • scorecard paul

      Thanks that would make my quest much easier. I don’t need one from every game. I simply try to get one of each type. They have a different outside cover each month, and to add to the difficulty they have a different insert (actual scorecard), sometimes up to 6 different ones. I usually try to get opening day, and then make sure that I cover all the bases with the different variations. The nearly imposible ones for me to get are the one day special editions.
      If it were ok with Brett I could give you my email address, or phone number, or you could simply list them on Ebay. There hasn’t been a scorecard listed on Ebay in the last 20 years that I didn’t see!! If you have a paypal account, I could just send you some cash to get our deal started. I would be willing to pay you in advance, and you could simply mail them all at the end of the year. I thought I had a deal like this worked out last year, but in the end I ended up getting burned. sad part is loosing the money sucked, but I hate even worse that I don’t have any scorecards from last year.

  • Marquette

    Have you ever given consideration to how this would impact the neighborhood, and the surrounding businesses? Many of these businesses make 80% of the year’s revenue off the 82 Cubs home games. Additionally, given the performance, and lack of actual attendance of late, many of them are hurting. Taking the team away from Wrigley for a season could very well force many establishments to close up shop.

    • die hard

      hmmmm…they all close up shop and the Ricketts family buys up all the businesses and leases and bldgs etc….not a bad idea to take over the neighborhood revenue stream…maybe thats the end game… 2016, a new ball field and surrounding neighborhood all owned by the Ricketts family….then they package the whole ball of wax in a public corporation and go public with an IPO like investors are doing in NYC with the Empire State Bldg….brilliant…I like it…

    • Brett

      That’s certainly not an insignificant consideration. Obviously the priority is the Cubs’ future at Wrigley, but the surrounding businesses in Wrigleyville do matter. Not sure anyone wants to put them all out of business. That’s not something I’d advocate.

      • Marquette

        My point was not necessarily that the Ricketts come in and buy up a bunch of drowning businesses, buildings, leases, etc. I was more so speaking to the fact that the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are a VERY unique situation… in which the neighborhood is greatly impacted. BTW, those who complain about night games, are surely not the business owners. I was just trying to bring to light the fact that a move, though even for only 1 season, could have a far deeper impact than what may appear on the surface.
        What would it be like to go back to Wrigley after a year at the Cell and all of the regular places (Murphy’s, Bernie’s, Sluggers, etc.) are vanished… some may not care, but to others it will be a whole different world than the one they were used to and enjoyed.

        • Coal

          The bars, restaurants, etc. in Wrigleyville do benefit tremendously from Cubs game day activity, but I think they take it for granted. When the night games end (or worse, the Saturday 3pm games) it is mayhem and you have these traffic police, crossing guards and CTA workers trying to handle thousands of drunk people in a pretty cramped neigborhood. If the bar owners spent a little more (say, pooling some money to fund extra police on night games) maybe the residents of Wrigleyville (who are in large part the stumbling block to more night games) would relax their stance a bit.

  • Kevin

    The White Sox get a free stadium and the Cubs need to ask permission for all proposed changes. What’s wrong with this story?

    • die hard

      why do you think Theo was really hired?….anybody can buy and sell players….but his ability to schmooze will go along way to convincing da mayor and Springfield to do likewise for the Cubs….

    • ferrets_bueller

      Because the White Sox dont own the Cell.  Its public property.  The Cubs own Wrigley.  Its private property.  If you want to give Wrigley to the government, then they’ll pay for your renovations.

  • Kevin

    Wrigleyville is friendly as long as they can profit from the Cubs. What is so bad playing more.night games? Sounds to me it’s a one way street. Let’s get real, this is 2012!

    • die hard

      but need to cultivate next generation of cub fan or else the game dies on the Wrigley vines….todays fans were raised on day baseball when as youngsters their parents took them to a game….no parent would want to deal with night games and expose kids to all the drunks and fights

  • Kevin

    Brett, I just love this website, thanks for your efforts!

    • Brett

      Well thanks, Kevin. I do what I can.