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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWA couple weeks ago, we learned of a plan ostensibly crafted in harmony between the Chicago Cubs and Alderman Tom Tunney, which involved today’s City Council meeting. The gist:

In short, the Cubs are requesting an extremely modest near-term increase in permitted night games, from the currently-allowed 30, to a still-small 33. The Cubs would also like to increase the number of permitted concerts from three to four, and would like to be permitted to conduct street fairs on Sheffield Avenue, which is already closed on game days. At the meeting, Tunney indicated that he comes into the picture because the Cubs would like him to introduce an ordinance at the February 13 City Council meeting which would increase the night games to 33 and the concerts to four, among other things. (The street fair issue, Tunney indicated, could take longer to formally take shape, because there are a number of issues to work out.)

It was unclear at that time just how the Cubs had procured Tunney’s involvement. He’s been demanding a handful of concessions and benefits for the Wrigleyville community, funded by the Cubs, in exchange for his support on their plans to secure new revenue streams for the renovation of Wrigley Field.

Well, it seems that the Cubs haven’t yet procured his involvement after all. From the Tribune:

The Chicago Cubs’ push for more night games in the upcoming season could be in jeopardy, as Ald. Tom Tunney said he would not introduce legislation at today’s City Council meeting ….

The team had asked Tunney to introduce a measure amending the neighborhood protection ordinance at Wednesday’s meeting. But the alderman wants the Cubs to address parking, traffic and security issues in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.

The lack of a proposal today suggests Tunney is in no rush to give the Cubs what they want. Additional night games are just one of the changes the Cubs seek that are tied to Wrigley renovations. The team also wants the city to lift landmark restrictions on the stadium to allow for more advertising and change zoning around Wrigley to allow for pre-game street festivals.

So, it seems the Cubs have not yet sufficiently bent to Tunney’s will in order to get his support three of their four proposed renovation funding mechanisms – more night games, more concerts, and street fairs – to say nothing of the fourth mechanism, increased ad signage, about which the Cubs remain locked in a dispute with the rooftop owners.

What a fine mess, as most things with political requirements become.

Were I more cynical, I’d point out a DNAinfo report that the Cubs two years ago stopped making a $150,000 annual donation to charities of Tunney’s choosing as a potential additional source of ice between the parties. That informal agreement was the result of the last time the Cubs sought Tunney’s help in procuring changes in what they are allowed to do at Wrigley Field (in that instance, it was the introduction of concerts dating back to 2005). Perhaps Tunney once again seeks charitable contributions by the Cubs.

We do know for certain that he wants, among other things, increased police, improved streetscape, a renovated Sheridan Red Line stop, and a new park in the area. Perhaps Tunney is simply leveraging the Cubs’ time pressure – they’d like to have as many changes as possible in place for the upcoming season – to get as much out of the Cubs as he can.

The City obviously has a vested interest in moving the process along, so it’s fair to wonder how long they will permit Tunney to hold things up in the interest of neighborhood improvements. Would the City get involved, directly, on that side of things? We’ll see.

In the interim, we wait. We wait on an agreement between the Cubs and the rooftops (if one is to be had), on a plan for neighborhood improvements, on City Council approval of the Cubs’ additional revenue plans, and on a comprehensive ad signage plan. And, then, maybe we’ll have a finalized renovation plan.

  • TWC

    “Were I more cynical, I’d point out a DNAinfo report that the Cubs two years ago stopped making a $150,000 annual donation to charities of Tunney’s choosing as a potential additional source of ice between the parties.”

    Lulz.

    Ah, Chicago…

  • BPaoni

    It’s time for the Cubs to say screw you to Tunney and the neighborhood, and threaten a move to the burbs. Then the rooftop owners would be screwed, and everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy the gift of lower property values. This(Tunney) is getting beyond annoying at this point.

  • Spencer

    Honestly, I’m getting to the point where, if the neighborhood continues to have the team by the balls, that I just want them to move to a new location in Chicago.

    • ctmcwilli

      Amen to that. With the Rickets funding pretty much everything they should be getting WAY more leeway than they are.

      This is crap!

    • King Jeff

      I’ve been at that point for a while now, I just don’t think it’s going to actually happen.

  • Randy

    Ricketts should move the team to another area in the burbs where they arent controlled by people wanting handouts. This is crap. A business shouldbe able to run their company for the most part the way they choose. The business owners would crap themselves if the owners started talking about a move.. The residents need to get over it

    • Derrek

      The suburbs will find a way to sick their heads into the mix too. I was raised in Naperville, about 45 minutes west of the city, and their city council is incredibly crooked. There are going to be issues everywhere. The Cubs are going to stay where they are and eventually Tunney and the rest of the 44th Ward will come to terms with the fact that Wrigley Field is a destination, not a neighborhood.

      • Downtown Chicago

        Sorry to hear that. About you being raised in Naperville, I mean. And no, I’m not making a joke.

        • Derrek

          Well thanks for your sympathy. It was a safe childhood at least haha.

  • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve got to think that the majority of people living in the Wrigleyville area these days knew what they were getting into when they bought homes/apartments out there.

    • Derrek

      They definitely knew. Many people I went to college with moved to Wrigleyville for the sole purpose of living near the park. Everyone knows Wrigleyville is not a quiet neighborhood.

    • Pat

      But the owners, who bought the team three years ago, didn’t know what they were getting into?

  • JB88

    People, stop being nearsighted, the Cubs aren’t moving out of Wrigley. What the Cubs should do, however, is let it be known that they will backstop Tunney’s next challenger, and the one after that, and the one after that. If he doesn’t play ball, they’ll make his next elections a living hell.

    If you want to play hardball with Tunney, that’s the way you do it, not by making empty threats of relocating.

    • ctmcwilli

      Then they are stooping to his level of politics. I think the prospect of moving is really more a long term vision. They are balked from almost every angle…..why not move?

      • Derrek

        They can threaten to move but it would not happen, at least not for a long time. The Ricketts do not want to move and Tunney definitely would not want that to happen while he is in charge. This is just bickering, everything will work out.

    • CubsFanBob

      from what I heard about him all they need to do is go to a certain gym at the corner of clark and diversey usually sitting around the hot tub / whirl pool

  • Dan W

    Sounds like the opening scene of the not yet made movie, Gangs of Chicago. Tom Tunney (love the name) run’s the streets of Wrigleyville. Nothing gets done in this town without a little kick-back to Tunney.”Quote” Clark Street… and Addision… Cross and Orange… and Little Water. Each of the Five Points is a finger. When I close my hand it becomes a fist. And, if I wish, I can turn it against you. LOL Sorry it just makes me laugh.

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      It gets me to wondering, in this situation…What Would Nucky Do?
      “First rule of politics, kiddo: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

  • True Blue

    Sure same old story in Chicago, grease my palm before I do whats right for the community & businesses that bring in the dollars to the area … some of the things I don’t miss about Chicago, and sorry to say it, but there are many near by towns with the space and willingness to accept the Cubs and their needs, and not collect taxes or have the BS Chicago does… A perfect Modern Replica of Wrigley Field sounds better every day….

    • Derrek

      The idea of the Cubs in the suburbs makes me cringe though.

    • Pat

      To be fair, the Cubs still have not developed the triangle parcel which was part of the Bleacher Expansion agreement. If I’m in the neighborhood I agree to what they want, but after they deliver on their end. So the extra night games can be scheduled as soon as the park is built, or whatever the trade off is.

  • roz

    “We do know for certain that he wants, among other things, increased police, improved streetscape, a renovated Sheridan Red Line stop, and a new park in the area.”

    What the heck do the Cubs have to do with this stuff? Are the Cubs supposed to pay for more cops and a renovated L stop?

    • Derrek

      No. These are just what Tunney wants for his ward.

      • roz

        Then how is it even a bargaining chip? If that’s what he wants for his ward that’s fine, but the only way that matters in this situation is if he expects the Cubs to contribute some money for more police and renovating the L stop.

        • Derrek

          Well I guess I gave you a bit of a fractured answer. Tunney wants the Cubs to contribute to these causes. I do not really understand why the Sheridan stop comes into play. That is an issue Tunney needs to take up with the CTA. The CTA is also revamping a large portion of the north side red line stations, I was under the impression Sheridan was covered by that.

          Tunney just wants contributions. He is trying to keep it a neighborhood while the Cubs are trying to make it a destination.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Changing the subject a little ” When do Individual Cubs Tickets Go On Sale ” it has to be coming up very soon

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      March 8.

      • Patrick W.

        My birthday. Don’t any of you forget that.

  • Jim

    We all know how corrupt Chicago / Illinois is when it comes to politics. I would even throw out there a northern Indiana move. It would still be very accessible to Illinois fans + not have all the political junk that comes with Illinois. Merrillville could be a nice location and could widen the fan base all the way down to Louisville. Just a thought and probably a 0% of happening …

    • Kev

      We could build a new stadium right next to the horseshoe casino! And it would instantly become THE MOST DEPRESSING PLACE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE.

  • wiscubfan

    Maybe Rickett’s wants to be pushed maybe he already knows he needs to move to the burbs and Tunney is giving him the amunition

  • P hertz

    Tunney’s a shakedown artist. He’d throw away billions in revenues because of it. Rahm will have to do some arm twisting…and Tunney should start looking over his back come next election cycle.

  • Eric

    I live a few minutes away from Wrigley and have lived in the area for a little under a decade. I have a hard time believing this has anything to do with the majority of residents. It’s Tunney, money, the rooftops, and perhaps a vocal minority. Tunney sucks.

    And can we please stop with suggestions to threaten to move to the suburbs or northwest Indiana? It’s a terrible idea and the time frame of that threat holding any type of leverage has long since passed.

    • Jim

      I know that Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville holds a dear place in all of our hearts. But the facts are that Wrigley field is very old, falling apart in places, and way below the standards in MLB. The Cubs have been a HUGE revenue stream to Wrigleyville, Chicago, and Illinois over the years, and still they run into political red tape at every turn. When the White Sox and Bears needed new stadiums the city pitched in to help. When the Cubs ask, they get a “No”. There are some that even say that part of the Cubs 104 year drought has to do with having to play so many day games and poor facilities for the players. I don’t know about that, but there is a history there.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Hence the $300M planned renovations.

        • Jim

          Yes the $300M that the Cubs will have to pay for themselves.

          • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

            What’s your point? Why does it matter that they will have to pay for it themselves?

  • MJ

    There would have been nothing wrong with Tom Ricketts firing a preemptive strike and saying, “We like the ballpark. We know what it means to people and the city, but we’re not married to the idea of staying here if it’s not in the best interest of the team.”

    He lost all the leverage he had by being a sentimentalist. Dallas Green once said if the Cubs don’t get lights, they won’t stay. Light posts went up with the quickness the next year.

  • DarthHater

    Perhaps the Cubs could compromise by offering free placement of “Vote for Tunney” ads in all the new Wrigley urinals!

  • Ryan W

    As a 44th Ward resident, and someone who has attended some the meetings being referenced (hopefully i don’t have to note i am a Cubs fan as that should be self explanatory given my presence here) there are a lot of people that are overblowing the situation. I think Brett is dead on when he says that Tunney is using the biggest leverage he has at the moment: time. The Cubs want this done YESTERDAY. The Alderman and the leaders of many community groups are upset that the Cubs are trying to “push this through” so quickly. I think Tunney is really smart (JB88 he won’t be replaced until he retires, he is well liked in the community), and he knows that the Cubs’ plan will happen with or without his support. He is just trying to do as much as he can for his community before it’s taken completely out of his hands. Who can blame him, that’s what he was elected to do…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for that input, Ryan. Good to hear from folks in the community.

    • MaxM1908

      Ryan, you make a good point. But, I don’t blame him as much as I blame his constituents who think they are owed something back from the Cubs. They are like the baby boomers — they want all the benefits and none of the liabilities.

      • DarthHater

        Nope, no generalizations to see around here, folks. Please keep moving…

        • bbmoney

          I know I’m generally in favor of making broad generalizations about entire generations……and entire areas of the city……..sigh.

          • Brian76

            As we all know, all generalizations are false.

  • itzscott

    “Charitable Contributions”…. I think we all know how that works:

    Donate money to some prescribed and obscure charity that’s been set up and magically it filters its way back into a politician’s pocket where it can’t be traced.

    Cubs get a tax deduction for a charitable contribution which ends up lining Tunney’s pocket.

    Voila!

  • MaxM1908

    Count me in on the bandwagon of move to the suburbs (or at least threaten it to put these ungrateful little twerps back in their place). Wrigley Field is an icon, but I won’t sacrifice the good of the team for sentimental reasons. A new stadium can be just as iconic with time — especially with a few WS wins to its name.

    • Derrek

      The suburbs is a good threat, but they should leave it at that.

      • Pat

        It is a terrible threat. There’s no good location anywhere close to the city. Like any new park, the first few years would be fine, but after that attendance would take a huge dip without the tourists and the corporate season ticket holders. Both would decrease dramatically with a move out of the city.

  • Sully

    Again, Tunney get the hell outta the Cubs way. Off subject question. Does anyone know when single game tickets go on sale? Been lookin but haven’t found anything.

  • Jack

    According to the US Census bureau the Chicago metro area has a population of 9.5 million and the City of Chicago has 2.8 million. Approximately 70% do not live in the City. Find a location that is easy to get into and out of and relocation could work.

    • 1060Ivy

      The Chicago metro area extends up through Wisconsin through Illinois and into Indiana. Believe its are the lake to the east, west past Joilet and north to Kenosha and south to Jasper county Indiana. My guess is that the area is probably larger than one or 2 of the eastern states.

      Chicago may only represents 30% of the population but it’s the most densely populated area in the metro area.

  • Derrek

    Honestly, the Cubs will not move. It’s a good threat but a move is not desirable to either party. Wrigley Field is a destination. The Ricketts know this and Tunney definitely knows this. An agreement will be reached.

    The Cubs playing baseball in a new cookie-cutter stadiums, in the suburbs for that matter, is an awful thought. I cannot believe fans are encouraging such a tragedy to happen.

    • Patrick W.

      New stadiums aren’t cookie cutter, are they? I’ve been to the new parks in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Atlanta, D.C. and Baltimore and each one is unique and not remotely cookie cutter.

      • Derrek

        They tend to be predictable and lack character. The new parks are nice, don’t get me wrong, but nothing feels like Wrigley. I’ve been to a number of new parks and they all just run together in my mind. Well, Milwaukee stand out because of the roof but my point stands.

  • BIll

    A clean faciltiy would be most welcomed by this Cub Fan

  • MayImakesuffup

    As 56% of all statistics are made up on the spot, 72% of current Cub fans would support a move out of the city of Chicago.

    • 1060Ivy

      And what % of the season ticket holders?

      • MayImakestuffup

        That would be 96%

  • ruby2626

    It galls me that the former Mayor of chicago being a huge White Sox fan funds them a new ball park while the Cubs get told you get zero. On top of that they are trying to minimize all the Cub sources of revenue making it near impossible to run the team like it should. Thank goodness for the new ownership, they are not small time like Mike McCaskey, what kind of fool is he, we are the largest single market team in America and he builds us the smallest stadium.

    I say that if the city doesn’t come around to our liking screw em. Let’s see what happens to the Wrigleyville property values if the Cubs move elsewhere, if the neighborhood wants to fight us every step of the way then enjoy having your property values cut substantially, you make your bed, lie in it. Personally I believe a new billion dollar state of the art stadium in one of the N.W. burbs would be a huge financial success. Does anyone doubt with the fan base so much closer to the park that we could sell every ticket for every game in a 55,000 seat stadium. The advertising revenue would be off the charts. I live in Wheeling, one of the main reasons I don’t go to more games is the combined 2 1/2 hours traffic I can expect to see. Screw the Cubs and the supposed Wrigley field experience, I’ll take a better chance of winning every day of the week. Not too early to start looking for alternate sites.

  • Die hard

    The parties need an intervention or a sequester or a nor’easter or all 3 to make them get realistic

  • another JP

    If Ricketts is as astute a businessman as I believe he is, he’ll figure the incremental value of the changes he’s recommending and determine if Tunney’s proposal is reasonable. IMO, he should announce that the pending upgrades are on hold indefinitely until the city wises up… contractors won’t enjoy the fact that $300M of work won’t occur because of that local pinhead. The Cubs are looking at pumping a lot of revenue into the area and if that’s communicated to Wrigleyville people will put pressure on their alderman to quit fooling around.

  • Kevin

    What benefits are the Cubs getting with all their tickets subject to the amusement tax?

    • Pat

      Access to the #3 television market. And all entertainment enterprises in the city are subject to it at various rates. It has nothing to do with the Cubs in particular, it has to do with doing anything they can to fund the legacy costs of public unions.

  • Die hard

    The nose of the camel is in the tent- who cares if Cubs went to 60 night games? nobody except the dwellers and businesses who dont benefit from night games So how to fix this? Simple- City gives a rent or mtge based tax credit for all such residents within a mile of park – say 10% of amt paid for rent or mtge- win win if credit reimbursed to City from those profiting from 60 night games

    • Northside Matt

      The tax credit thing is a nice idea, but the City of Chicago does not give away money. Not unless you are politically connected.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs had access to the #3 television market before the amusement tax started back when it was established to build the new Comisky. The Cubs have never benefited, just simply subsidized all the other professional teams in Chicago.

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