Aside from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority fight between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn that touched on the possibility of State funding (not going to happen), the Wrigley Field renovation story has been surprisingly quiet in these post-election weeks. It was a fair guess that things would be quiet in the months leading up to the election, when political attentions were focused elsewhere.
But, I mean, let’s get this ball rolling again. I remain of the mind that the Wrigley renovation – and the eventual attendant revenue increases (to say nothing of the improved fan experience and improved player facilities) – is one of the biggest stories in the Cubs’ world right now. The fact that it presently lays fallow is deeply frustrating to me. I’m hopeful that the “fallow-ness” is simply a product of a lack of public information, rather than a lack of private action.
At this week’s Owners Meetings, the media did its best to shed some light on the story and get an update, but they were mostly unsuccessful.
“Right now, we’re just working through our plans and then we’ll just start the process,” team owner and chairman Tom Ricketts told Patrick Mooney. “Hopefully, sometime soon we’ll have it all figured out, but that’s really all we can do.”
When asked if, now that the election was over, it was time to restart talks with the Mayor, Ricketts demurred.
“Like I said, it’s just one step at a time, working on a plan and see what we can come up with.”
Sadly, there just isn’t much there. Obviously the wheels are turning, but how quickly? At what level? Who is involved? We just don’t know. Grumble.
For his part, the Commissioner stands ready to help with the process however he can.
“I’ve talked a lot to Tom,” Bud Selig said, according to Mooney. “I certainly want to be involved and helpful, to help them get done what they want to get done.”
There were previous suggestions that Selig could hold the All-Star game out as a carrot to the city of Chicago in order to help spur things along. The Game brings along with it a significant positive economic impact to the city in which it’s held, so it’s something.
The most interest bit from that Mooney article, by the way, was the lack of something – the lack of a flat-out denial that the Cubs would play a season out of Wrigley Field in order to get the renovations done in a single year.
“We’ve said this before: The goal is to play at Wrigley, and that’s what we’re focused on,” Ricketts said. The goal. Given that the schedule has now been delayed by a year, is it possible that the whole play-a-season-away-from-Wrigley, which previously seemed like a non-starter, is back on the table?
That would quickly make this story much, much more loud.