This past week, we’ve heard a great deal of buzz about the city of Chicago finally agreeing to help fund the renovations at Wrigley Field (however small or large that help might be), but the Cubs have mostly rested on a form of “no comment.”
With Opening Day cranking up the attention yesterday, it was, presumably, harder for the Cubs not to say anything. So Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts chatted a bit more about the funding issue, and where things stand from his perspective.
Still, he wasn’t ready to give up too many details.
“Everyone should wait until we have the whole plan together,” Ricketts told Paul Sullivan when asked about the funding of Wrigley Field renovations. Ricketts characterized the status of talks with appropriate political officers as just “conversations.
“Once people see what we get out there, everyone will know it’s a win-win for the city, for jobs, tourism, for development,” Ricketts added. “It’ll be a big win for everybody. I don’t think anyone will have any issues once we figure out what the final solution is.”
Ricketts carried that win-win and “we’re talking” themes into an interview on The Waddle and Silvy Show.
“I don’t know [when the renovation will get done]. What I do know is that all the elected officials, we’re talking,” Ricketts said. “Everybody is kind of going in the same direction. It’s a lot of work to come up with something that’s a great win-win for the city and the team so we’re working with not only the city but the state and the county. Everybody has got to come up with something … it’s got to work for everybody or it doesn’t work. We’ve got a great conversation going and hopefully we’ll have something pretty soon that everybody agrees is the right answer.”
Ricketts added that the renovations are absolutely necessary just to keep Wrigley Field up and running. And many of the renovations should have come a long time ago.
“The big picture is the park has got to stand for 50 more years. It’s been really under-invested in over time,” Ricketts said. “The Tribune was a good owner, but it was an ROI [return on investment] kind of decision as to whether they put money in the park. I think before the Tribune baseball teams didn’t make a lot of money. It was hard to put a lot of money into an old park even in the ‘70s. It’s been under-invested. We need to get it up to speed. We need a lot of money to re-do electrical, sewage, all the stuff that is 100 years old. We’ve got a lot on our plate, but we’re going to get it done.”
There are no surprises there, right down to the Tribune Company practically inventing the concept of making a killing off owning a baseball team. The implication, of course, is that the Ricketts Family isn’t interested in behaving the same way, and, call me naive, but I believe Tom. Family ownership can be a very good thing for fans.
As for Wrigley Field, the uptick in chatter from both sides could simply be the product of an off-the-cuff comment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel combined with Opening Day. Or, it could be the product of discussions reaching the point where an agreement is close, and an announcement is forthcoming.
Let’s call it now: the Friday after the Cubs’ first four-game losing streak, you can mark your calendar for a press conference.