1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWWarning: You will probably be angry, or at least annoyed, after reading this piece. When I write, I go to painstaking lengths to see both sides of a story, and to represent things in the most even-handed, fairest light. The Cubs aren’t always right, and I try to divorce myself from my fandom when it becomes necessary to do so. The best I can do in that regard today, however, is to say that there is a lot going on behind the scenes with respect to the Wrigley Renovation story, and we aren’t privy to the vast majority of it. Things may not be as they seem.

But if they are as they seem, the Chicago Cubs continue to get screwed by the power drill that is the Chicago political machine.

Earlier this week, the Ricketts Family announced that they’d partnered with the Chicago Athletic Club on plans to bring a state-of-the art facility to the proposed hotel across from Wrigley Field. It’s another job-generating, tax-generating, neighborhood-nicening, swell thing that the renovation plan will provide. It should have been met with, at worst, silence by those who remain discontented about the renovation.

Instead, it was met with a nasty response from each of Mayor Rahm Emanuel (indirectly) and Alderman Tom Tunney (very directly), the two men who hold the political cards necessary for the Chicago Cubs to actually proceed with their plans to renovate Wrigley Field.

First, from the Mayor. The Sun-Times reports that an anonymous “mayoral confidante” – aka, someone in the Mayor’s Office who has strategized together with everyone else in that office about just what they want to say to the media – says the Mayor was unmoved if the athletic club announcement was any kind of pressure tactic. From the confidante: “It didn’t work when the Cubs were demanding public financing and it won’t work now.”

As if the request for public funding and the offer to build a state-of-the-art facility in a very-desirable hotel are the same thing. As if the latter isn’t a good thing for Chicago citizens who live in the Wrigleyville area. As if the request for public funding that would have come from the absurdly high amusement tax on Cubs tickets was so deeply insane in the first place. As if anyone in the political machinery isn’t willing to say the most ridiculous, over-the-top, completely thoughtless, unsophisticated tripe so long as it advances their agenda. And gets them elected or re-elected, of course.

Alderman Tunney’s response was even more self-serving, and even more politically glib. From the Tribune:

Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44th, said Thursday that he would not sign off on a deal unless it included more parking, better police protection and “aesthetic” assurances sought by Wrigleyville residents and businesses — all issues that have yet to be settled.

Reminded that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for an agreement, in part because the Ricketts family that owns the Cubs is not asking for any government funding, Tunney replied, “Yeah, but it’s not going to be on the backs of my community, sorry.”

The Rickettses have maintained that a deal needs to get done by Opening Day in early April so they can line up the contractors and materials needed to fix up their aging ballpark, but Tunney dismissed that concern.

“You’re talking about one of the wealthiest families in America,” the alderman told a throng of City Hall reporters pressing him on the issue. “End of statement.”

So many noisome bits in two little statements. “Aesthetic” assurances? Yeah, I’m sure it’s the “aesthetics” of the Wrigley renovation that are troubling Tunney and his constituents. How’s that falling concrete treating the folks of the neighborhood? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Tunney does realize that the Chicago Cubs are his largest constituent, right?

And, oh, the Ricketts Family is super wealthy? Oh, ok. Well, then, in that case, they should not be permitted to run their business like any other business in the neighborhood. Grr! Rich people!

And, oh, let’s completely ignore the fact that the business at issue is the one that, historically, has propped up the very neighborhood Tunney seeks to protect.

Which gets me back to even-headedness, and calms me down. We can’t forget – and all sides would be well-reminded – that everyone in this dispute stands to benefit from the Wrigley renovation plan, if done properly. There is still so much incentive to work collaboratively – be it with the political elements, the Cubs, the owners, the rooftops, the other businesses, the neighborhood residents, the fans – that everyone just has to get over the idea that they’re going to get exactly everything they want. It seems to me that the Ricketts Family and the Cubs gave up on the idea that they could get their perfect solution a long time ago. So they bent, considerably.

It’s time for everyone else to start bending, and to stop saying ridiculous things to curry political favor.

  • Pat

    It might make negotiations easier if the Ricketts actually disclosed their plans. More advertising is intentionally vauge and is not included in any of the many, many renderings. The hotel plans are vague and obviously still fluid. Remember that the team promised to put more parking in that area when they negotiated for more night games and a bleacher expansion seven years ago. I don’t blame Tunney for looking at this from a once bitten, twice shy perspective. Why should the neighborhood approve anything that has yet to be finalized? That’s like giving money to the banks before stipulating what it could be used for.

  • Kevin

    Time for Ricketts to pull offer off the table! No bluff, just simply looking at all their options. The Cubs will fill the stadium wherever they play as they are “America’s Team” and will always have a solid fan base. Can’t ever say the Ricketts didn’t try to stay at Wrigley.

  • Kevin
  • Pingback: Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: At Least the Mayor is Still Prodding Things Along | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • randy

    Joe Ricketts is a cheapskate tbagger billioniare.

  • schiavone william

    Joe “T Bag” Ricketts wants corporate welfare on the backs of African Americans and the other citizens of the City of Chicago.
    Meanwhile the City is closing schools left and right and cannot even afford to put enough cops on the street to deter some of the gun violence.
    Ricketts can build a new park on other property he owns like Clark and Grace or the former McDonalds lot.
    The gulls are circling at Wrigley for a reason. They smell death.

    • corey costello

      What in the flying F-bomb?

    • pondoro

      Dude what the hell……. Get out of the poor me inner city suffering crap and realize he is doing it with HIS money, money we ALL can make if we work.

      Go Ricketts and Go Cubs

    • Internet Random

      This is blatant, amateurish trolling. Ignore it.

    • Hansman1982

      You, sir, win the 2013 BN Troll of the Year Award award.


  • Tom A.

    Ugh ! I read a post like this one and just get more angry with our mayor, alderman and those greedy rooftop owners.

    I took people from Australia and England to the game today. Like me, they think the rooftops are clearly not an attractive presentation of our city. I will stand by my opinion that the rooftops are ugly, unsafe and a theft of the Cubs product. I have reached the point that if the Cubs move from Wrigley Field there will be three satisfactions — the rooftop and bar owners will be bankrupt, our Chicago Mayor will certainly not be re-elected after the school closing and losing the Cubs and Alderman Tunney’s restaurants will lose significant revenue (hopefully bankrupt like the rest).

    Hey Mr. Mayor and Alderman Tunney, wake up !!! Normally, cities pay hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars for a team like the Cubs. You are so dog-gone stubborn and stupid you can’t take a gift of $500 million. Hey rooftop and bar owners, you saw $0 from me today and $0 every day from this point going forward.

  • tincup mother -uck

    Joe Ricketts was going to spend 10 Million on an ad featuring Rev. Wright to try to beat Obama. How did that work out?

  • Peyton John

    No corporate welfare from tax payers.
    Ricketts has billions of his own money so spend it on the Cubs or sell the team.
    The rooftop situation is a no win situation for Ricketts.
    He can let the contract run out in in 11 years or whenever they expire but then what? Would he put something in front of those building to block the view?
    What might that be? There is no property for an upper deck. If he blocks the view with signage or a scoreboard how does that fit in to the historical nature of Wrigley? The look into the outfield is already confusing with the new batters eye and the right field miniature Camden Yards replica scoreboard. Add those and more to the different rooftop stands and you have a real clusterscrew.
    The outfield should be left alone and that includes the rooftop owners views. Just leave it alone Ricketts. The grandstands, the clubhouses, the lack of skybox suites and other appointments that new parks have is what should be added. If thet can’t replace the grandstands then it might be time to move.