Yesterday, we learned that Alderman Tom Tunney was not yet willing to support the Cubs’ push for a City Council resolution approving an increase in night games available to them as soon as this season, the added revenue from which would be used to help fund the Wrigley Field renovation. His reasons for holding back support are, presumably, quite simple: he wants the Cubs to help out with a variety of community needs first. (And, although the issues are not directly tied, it’s a fair guess that he’d also like to see a plan in place with the rooftop owners before he gives up any leverage whatsoever.)
Now, it sounds like Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t interested in supporting the night game plan, either. At least not until there’s something more comprehensive put together.
“First of all, we are not going to break off a piece of that ordinance,” Emanuel said of the Cubs’ efforts to get an increase in night games, per CBS. “It is all in one piece. We are going to do this comprehensively.”
I doubt the Cubs have any problem with that at a conceptual level, but they are in something of a bind here. On the one hand, the City appears unwilling to apply necessary political pressures until the Cubs have a comprehensive renovation and funding plan in place. On the other hand, the Cubs can’t have a comprehensive renovation and funding plan in place until they know what funding mechanisms – ad signage, night games, concerts, street fairs – are going to be available to them. And they can’t know what mechanisms are going to be available to them until the Alderman, the neighborhood, the rooftops, and the City get on board with whatever plan the Cubs want to put together. But they can’t put that plan together until they know who’s going to be on board with what … I could go on.
I’m growing frustrated, and I would imagine that I know only 5% of what’s going on behind the scenes. Thus, the involved parties’ frustration must be tenfold my own.
If the City – and, let’s be quite clear, the Mayor – want the Wrigley renovation to take off while using no public funding, which is a huge feather in the Mayor’s cap, then the City and the Mayor need to do whatever is necessary to help the Cubs get the plan in place.
Oddly, Mayor Emanuel offered an additional thought when discussing the renovation efforts:
“There is an agreement to be had. It’s right there. All you need is a little leadership and a little will.”
Said as if he doesn’t still hold so very many of the cards.
I’m not out to make anyone in the situation the villain – again, we know very little of what’s actually going on – but, from the outside, it looks like everyone recognizes that the Cubs and Wrigley Field are the golden goose, and they’re all looking to squeeze out as many eggs as they can before giving the Cubs what they want (and need).
Let’s just hope all of those hands in the cookie jar don’t scuttle things for another year. Ricketts family spokesperson Dennis Culloton told DNAinfo that if there isn’t a solution in place on the funding questions by the start of the season, construction could be delayed.
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