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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWYesterday, 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.

  • kgd

    Politics are inherently catch-22 for everyone involved. “Politics…poly + tics…many + blood-sucking creatures…”

    I could go on and on.

  • hansman1982

    Cubs:

    Hey everybody, we want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in your area to remodel something that brings tens of millions of dollars every year so that it can bring in a few extra tens of millions of dollars to your area. We just ask for a few concessions.

    Everybody:

    Well now, wait just a dang minute, we need to make sure we get something out of this deal. Can’t have you just running willy nilly through the neighborhood with buckets of cash like that.

    Cubs:

    Ok, we will make much smaller demands.

    Everybody:
    Well now hold on, we need MOAR concessions than we thought. There is still a couple drops of water in the washcloth.

  • Chad

    If you know only 5% wouldn’t they be 20 times as frustrated as you are?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nah – because they also know good stuff that I don’t know.

  • Rich

    So irritating. I heard Kaplan ( or a caller ) mention about a golf course with the city in the background where the Cubs could build a new stadium. I honestly wish Ricketts would say f’it and build a state of the are facility and bring over the scoreboard.

    The rooftop owners can sell seats to look at a monster truck rally for all I care. I heard the rooftop owner on WGN this week, and she is off her rocker. I think it was owner of Muprhy’s Bleachers. She said the rooftops were part of the Wrigley experience. I disagree.

    Regardless, the Cubs now have to re-do the subways and crap? Such a bunch of crap.
    And of course it will all get worked out, but c’mon.

    • kgd

      Totally agree on the rooftops. Every time I’ve seen a game at Wrigley I haven’t given the rooftops a second thought, or a first for that matter. They’re just the ultimate nosebleed seats. I’m not saying I’m pro-ruining-someone’s-business, but the rooftop owners should just be grateful for what they have. They really have no right to complain when they essential just leech off the Cubs at little cost to themselves.

      The only thing outside of Wrigley Field itself that adds to the Wrigley experience is seeing if anyone can hit a home run that takes out that giant pane window again.

  • TonyP

    I would move the team to the burbs build an exact replica of Wrigley and all these parasites can piss off. I like Wrigley but I wouldn’t lose sleep over a move out of the city limits to improve the franchise.

    • Derrek

      The burbs are such a drag though

  • MJ

    I dunno anymore. We all know they’re not going to leave Wrigley. It’s sounding more and more like they’re better off continuing to hold the building together with duct tape and Krazy Glue for another couple of years, and wait for the big TV deal they’re going to get to help fund the renovation. It may not be of Dodger proportions, but they are going to fatten up. I’m just tired of Chicago politic$.

    • aCubsFan

      There is no guarantee that the Cubs are going to get a gigantic TV from WGN in 2014 and the Comcast deal runs through 2019 with very large strings attached which makes it improbable that could start their own network.

      • MJ

        Oh, it’s a guarantee. Maybe not with WGN, but somebody is going to cough it up on the Cubs next TV deal. Currently, the Cubs are getting 45 million in their TV deal. The Padres are getting somewhere around 75 million a year. Meanwhile, the bigger market teams: Angels, Rangers and of course, Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox have broken 100 million. Chicago is the number three market in the nation.

        Here’s a quote from the article I’m pasting a link to:

        “Somewhere down the line,” Mr. Ricketts admitted without outlining a specific timeline, “the Cubs will be able to renew our TV contracts, and that will be at a much higher level. There will be a nice bump at some point.”

        http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130119/BLOGS04/130119729/ricketts-talks-wrigley-renovation-broadcast-rights-sosa

  • Hawkeye

    The Ricketts have enough money, they should just purchase some land outside of Wrigleyville as an “investment.” That might be just enough to scare the hell out of the locals.

    • David

      Rumor has it the Cubs through CCRE are pursuing a option on a track of land in Schaumburg.

      • aCubsFan

        There the Schaumburg Flyers Stadium and land that would be ideal.

      • Kevin

        Strictly rumor, can’t find anything online that backs it up.

  • http://www.hookersorcake.com Hookers or Cake

    via The Onion “Cubs to pay Chicago $300 million for right to play at historic Wrigley Field.” also “Team owner agrees to wash the feet of mayor and Wrigleyville alderman.”
    Chicago has got to be one of thee most corrupt and broke cities in America. Emmanuel is a PoS.

  • Rich

    I have been to Murphy’s Bleachers one time. I was there way before a night game. Sitting on a stool at a table enjoying an Old Style, when the crew came in a yelled everyone stand up. Honestly we were like what is going on?

    Grabbed everyones tables and stools so they can pack more people in.SRO…

    that is your business, but geez…I have a nice photo of the beer prices from no games day, pre-game and game time…

    SCAM.

    • Tom A.

      I am only one fan with three season tickets. But, that owner of Murphy’s truly is greedy and plain wrong. I am done going to Murphy’s before or after the game.

  • Dave

    Building another stadium somewhere else in not a realistic option.
    If it was then the Cubs would have used it by now and the city and neighborhood
    would not be playing such hard ball even after the Cubs said they would pay for all the renovations.

  • Rich

    Dave, I disagree that it is not realistic. I think Ricketts knows that he can renovate Wrigley and make it a wonderful place for the fans and players and that is what he wants.

    I think all parties realize that the owners want to stay there ( I am guessing )..But I am sure that if he wanted a new stadium and there was land around he would.

    But he has purchased the land across the street, so I dont think he truly ever wants to leave.
    It will all work out and eventually the Cubs will improve a lot of facilities around Wrigley and make everyone happy.

  • ruby2626

    Disagree, building another stadium is certainly a realistic option. No point in bringing it up just to tick people off, but it is very real leverage. Isn’t it funny how both ball teams and the Bears have such small stadiums, wouldn’t it be great to build a new stadium in the N, or N.W. burbs 2nd to none. Build it similar to the way Glendale, AZ did, love the way a ton of restaurants were built in the same facility, Cubs could profit from those just as easily.

    People who talk about rooftops as being part of the experience are part of the problem. It’s that attitude that causes people to pack Wrigley regardless of how good the team on the field is. People go to the rooftop for one reason and one reason only, to get plowed. Gives those of us who actually pay attention to the game a bad name.

    • Pat

      The burbs do not have the infrastructure to handle the additional traffic. Ever go to a concert at Ravinia or Rosemont Horizon? That’s half to a quarter of the additional traffic for a Cubs game. The only options would be way west, like St Charles or Barrington, at which point nobody is going to make the drive. Take the individual losses of everyone in Wriglyville, add them together, triple them, and that’s what the team would lose, not once, but every year.

      • cubchymyst

        To add to that Wrigley being a tourist attraction keeps people showing up even when the team is losing. Many teams have a hard time getting people to return after a few down seasons. Wrigley helps prevent that from being a problem for the Cubs.

      • Kevin

        I think you are confusing true Cubs fans, who really care about the product on the field, to the drunks who sit on the rooftops and socialize. True Cubs fans will travel anywhere to see their team. After close to 100 years without a WS victory at Wrigley, why would you want more of the same? If you want to drink, go to a bar.

  • Frank Baron

    Gangster with badges… that’s what the Cubs are dealing with!

  • Kevin

    They should show Chicago politics on Shameless!

  • BD

    Why would the deal need to be in place by before the season? Is anything going to start before the season is over?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, there’s the revenue piece – signage, more night games, more concerts, street fairs – that the Cubs want to be able to take advantage of during the season. I’m sure construction plans have to be put in place at least a few months before the offseason, though, if they’re going to break ground in November (ok, October).

  • MJ

    I hope, if nothing else, they can (and will) just go ahead and bring the clubhouse into the 21st century regardless. That’s the one thing that absolutely MUST happen this year.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    please mr ricketts time to start looking elsewhere then see what his royal highness king rahm the ripoff says.this city and state are a joke.

  • Brett W

    I find it amazing how willing that state was (granted a different economical era) to give everything to the White Sox in a sweetheart deal, but the they are not willing to lift a finger to help the Cubs. Here’s hoping the Ricketts come to their senses and realize they need to build their own stadium outside of the Chicago City Limits.

    • MightyBear

      The Sox threatened to move to Sarasota. The Cubs have no such leverage unless Ricketts wants to move them out of Wrigley which would be the stupidest move in sports history.

      • TonyP

        You don’t think there is a strong enough fan base to fill a new stadium in the burbs?

        • DarthHater

          Nah, judging by this blog, I’d say half the fan base are whiners who want to boycott the team every 5 minutes and the other half just want to drink craft beers all the time. ;-)

          • TWC

            Oh, man, screw the Cubs — I need a beer.

          • hansman1982

            I guess I’m in the half that never wants to boycott the Cubs and drinks Natty Ice…

            • DarthHater

              To paraphrase Yogi Berra, if you come to a beer in the road, drink it.

        • hansman1982

          The Cubs certainly have that option, they are just trying EVERYTHING for it to not come to that.

          It’s a game, pull it out too early, you lose. Leave it in too long, you lose.

      • Kevin

        They have so much leverage, I can’t believe I’m reading this.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I have been saying for two months this is not going to end well. Ricketts family needs to face reality. The city is forcing their hand, not intentionally, but politicians are whores, what do you expect.
    To those that say the Cubs can’t move, that is ridiculous. I can make a case that they should move. They could expand their revenue stream by multiples with a state of the art ballpark. There are some great locations that could be had in places like Glenview, Northbrook, etc. And you better believe the Cubs have checked it out. I see no other way at this point.

    • Pat

      You are out of your mind. There is nowhere remotely suitable in Northbrook or Glenview. It’s not just the space for a stadium, it’s thirty thousand parking spaces as well. Additionally, there is zero chance the voters of either town would vote to add an hour plus to their homeward bound commutes eighty times a year. It would create awful traffic for miles in every direction.

  • Section 409 Row 2

    I remember when the Torco sign used to be part of the “Wrigley Experience” too, and that no longer exists. Losing for the last 100 years has been part of the experience as well so if the rooftop owners are not willing to significantly up their percentage revenue to the Cubs, I say block the views, bring in more revenue through internal signage and put a consistent winner on the field. No one will remember the rooftops after the next time the Cubs make the playoffs. Everything can be considered part of the “Wrigley Experience” from Murphy’s to Ronny Woo Woo, to the person outside in the Cubby Bear costume taking pictures for tips. Get over yourself Murphy’s….The Cubs don’t need you!

    • Northside Matt

      Exactly!

  • Northside Matt

    The difference between the Cubs and Sox is that Wrigley Field is much more valuable than Old Comiskey. Wrigley Field is what helps bring in the busloads from Peoria and Des Moines. I’m not questioning the level of fandom of those outside the Chicagoland area. I just think fewer out-of-towners will be heading in to watch the Cubs play at Arlington Park.

    If I were the Ricketts family(and I’d be really loaded), here’s what I’d do: Start scheduling more night games anyway. Start putting up signage. Start the renovation process. Dare the neighbors and the city to do something about it. Make it a bigger story than it already is. Does anyone think Tom Ricketts is going to look bad in the papers?

    “Family-Owned team wants to upgrade facilities and add night games in order to more effectively manage their business. Local government says no because they are not compensated accordingly and the local neighbors need their peace and quiet.”

    People should be mocking the Wrigleyville neighborhood and the city of Chicago. What a joke!

  • MightyBear

    If I was Ricketts and I was going to move the team, I wouldn’t move it to a suburb. I would move them to Las Vegas and stick it right up Chicago and the State of Illinois’ ass. See how popular Emanuel would be as the mayor who lost the Cubs.

    • Pat

      Yeah, moving from the #3 TV market to the #42 market would really make a lot of sense for Ricketts.

  • Charles

    If I recall correctly, back in the 80’s the Cubs entertained moving to Arlington Park Racetrack. Horse racing is not what it once was and there have been rumors of the track up for possible sale. Lots of parking, easy on/off from Route 53 which is minutes from I-90 and there already is a Metra stop at the track….just saying there are options outside the city.

    • aCubsFan

      And there is an empty hotel or empty property to put a hotel very close to the racetrack. It’s an ideal spot for the Cubs to move to.

    • Derrek

      That sounds awful to me.

    • Pat

      Less than two miles from the park in both directions Euclid drops to a single lane each direction and a 25mph limit. It would never work. It’s a lot different with people gng to the track at staggered times, and even then it can get kind of bad.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Arlington Park is doing just fine, it is Hawthorne that is struggling. Place is packed on the weekends during the spring and summer.

  • Eric

    I’d like to hear how many of the people who continue to suggest the suburbs actually live in the suburbs and how many times they visit Wrigley a year.

    It’s the Chicago Cubs, not the Arlington Heights or Schaumburg Cubs.

    • Derrek

      Well said. I am against a move to the suburbs. I want what is best for the team but this instant gratification business is driving me nuts.

  • http://bleachernation John

    I love that the city won’t help fund renovations but them to help fund community events.

  • Anthony M.

    Spend the money on a comprehensive plan/study to leave for the suburbs and let all of them the business, the roof tops and the city go belly up when the field is a big empty sore spot in that neighborhood. Tunney wants a playground , well let him have Wrigley and the bills to up keep it ! You can duplicate the field and all it’s old time charms in the Schaumburg area, with all the perks too ! Screw Tunney and the Mayor !

    • TWC

      Yeah, “when the field is a big empty sore spot in that neighborhood” that the Cubs still own. Good thinking, kid.

    • Eric

      I guarantee you the Cubs have already done exhaustive research regarding moving the team, building a new stadium and potential revenue streams in other locations. I also have little doubt staying at Wrigley is easily the best option.

      I’ve lived in the Wrigleyville and Lakeview area for over a decade. I’m also very familiar with Schaumburg and it is as cookie cutter as it gets. Hey, let’s go watch the Schaumburg Cubs and then head over to Woodfield to get some shopping done and grab a bite at TGIFridays. No thanks.

      There is nothing like the energy and excitement in Wrigleyville when the Cubs are competing. This would not be duplicated elsewhere. Not to mention that tourism plays a huge part in attendance over the summer. People won’t be making that trip to see the Cubs in the burbs.

      No doubt Tunney and Rahm are being complete a-holes but unfortunately a threat to move the team probably doesn’t hold a lot of leverage at this point. Hopefully they get their heads out of their asses soon.

  • Jim

    I would suggest Gurnee, IL. There is a large empty plot of land across I94 from Six Flags Great America. There are a lot of hotels in Gurnee and that could be a pretty cool fan experience to catch a game and Six Flags. Maybe the Brewers wouldn’t like the Cubs moving any closer?

    • Eric

      Wow…..

    • Pat

      Im not sure that plot is big enough for a stadium and 30,000 parking spaces. Maybe. Anyway, it’s a lot more realistic than Arlington Heights or Schaumburg.

    • Tom A.

      Three thoughts.

      (1) The City of Chicago would be total fools to let the Cubs move away from the city. Too many tax dollars and the image of being a world-class city is at stake !

      (2) Who in their right mind would want to drove to Gurnee to see the Cubs play 81 times a year ! Take me for example, three season tickets — I would 100% for sure no longfer be a season ticket holder. I also would have a hard time trying to get my mind about rooting for the Gurnee Cubs.

      (3) The Cubs would never move from the City unless for a much better deal — for example, the city of Gurnee building a $600,000,000 to $1,000,000,000 stadium to entice the team to move. Ha ha ha ha ha Gurnee pulling that kind of deal together.

  • Anthony M.

    I don’t disagree about the excitement in Wrigleyville, but the worst thing the Rickett’s did was immediately commit to that Field in public when they bought the Cubs. The city has them over a barrel and they know it. They are going to try and suck them dry. I was born and grew up in that neighborhood when it was on the downturn ( dumpy bars, dirty restaurants and streets and low home values ) and I know first hand how much better it is now from the Cubs owners throwing money into that area ! The people living in that neighborhood now knew what they were moving into and probably 75% of them moved there because of Wrigley and great area it has turned into.

  • Mike K

    These suburb suggestions are ridiculous. Cubs aren’t moving anywhere and although Tumey is a huge a-hole, he knows that he has some pull in this. This is not a new disagreement between the Cubs and the Chi….been going on for years. Gurnee Cubs makes me nauseous and throw up in my mouth a little bit. They’ll get a deal done on this stuff eventually and I don’t think Rahm is even that far off saying that it should all be done in a comprehensive deal rather than piecemeal. please stop with the suburb suggestions.

    • Tom A.

      A smart guy is Mike K !

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