respect wrigleyAs expected, yesterday’s story from Dave Kaplan about the Mayor of Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago, offering a large tract of land to the Ricketts Family to move the Cubs out of Chicago generated a great deal of discussion.

To my mind, while I found the story as a conversation-piece interesting, I had a hard time seeing the offer as anything more than a creative way for the Cubs to make the “threat to move” without having to actually make that threat.

It seems that the Mayor’s Office agrees. And it doesn’t see that threat as all that credible.

A top mayoral aide, speaking because the Mayor was on spring break (two quips: (1) is he the mayor of college?; (2) they don’t have phones or Internet in “spring break”?), told the Sun-Times that “the idea that the Cubs would leave Wrigley Field is not something to be taken seriously.”

I can almost see the aide stifling a laugh as he/she constructed that response. Which, of course, lies at the heart of the way the Cubs have been treated by the City throughout this process. It’s an unfortunate reality, but the City knows the Cubs aren’t leaving, so there is very little incentive to bend to accommodate the Cubs’ reasonable requests (or to lean on Alderman Tunney to get a deal done). The only real pressure point the Cubs have right now is the fact that the renovation will create jobs and tax revenue for the City, all without costing the City a dime. That looks great for Mayor Emanuel, and the Cubs should keep beating that drum – publicly and privately.

Ricketts Family spokesman Dennis Culloton addressed the Rosemont story by emphasizing that the focus, for now, is working to stay at Wrigley Field.

“The family appreciates the expressions of interest from Rosemont and others, however, the current focus is to work toward an agreement with the city of Chicago,” Culloton said, per the Sun-Times.

Of course, Culloton made sure not to unequivocally close any doors, since that wouldn’t exactly help the leverage equation.

“Tom Ricketts has no intention of talking to the mayor of Rosemont before Opening Day,” Culloton added. “Right now, the answer is ‘no.’ I cannot predict the future.”

The mention of Opening Day is fairly significant, given that Ricketts has said that is the date by which he feels an approved renovation plan (and funding plan) needs to be in place for construction to begin following the 2013 season. If no plan is in place by then, maybe the “threat to move” becomes just a tiny bit less laughable.

  • JB88

    I love the idea of having leverage over the city, but a move to the burbs is highly unlikely. In order to make a move make financial sense, the Cubs would need a way to turn Wrigley into an asset in another way and probably do so to the tune of at least $300-400 million. The only way that realistically happens is if one of those suburbs actually builds the Cubs a stadium and I think that the likelihood of that happening is next to 0.

    Otherwise, getting 25 acres of land is great, but probably isn’t worth more than $50 million dollars (possibly more, but not enough to overcome the fact that the Cubs would now be building a stadium from scratch). And, in today’s economic climate, that price is going to far dwarf the $500MM they were looking to invest on Wrigley and isn’t going to cover investments that provide immediate returns like the hotel complex they would be developing.

    The point is this: Wrigley is an asset to the Ricketts’ family (and should be seen as an asset). If they move, it immediately becomes a liability and one that isn’t recouping anywhere near the amount of revenue it previously provided. Thus, in order for a move to make any sense of all, the new stadium has to provide immediate funds that basically covers the cost of the new liability that is Wrigley Field. I’m no accountant/economist, whatever, but I can see that and know that is the primary reason why the Cubs moving is fairly ridiculous.

  • RicoSanto


  • cubmig

    This whole move-out-of-Wrigley thing is nothing any of us can do anything about. I say if Ricketts wants a new venue then move. End of story.

  • Fastball

    I don’t care whether Rickett stays at Wrigley or moves to Rosemont. It’s ridiculous for people to think you can keep Wrigley Field servicable forever. I look at Wrigley like it’s going to be a Runaway Rehab. You peel to many layers on that onion and it’s really going to stink. If Wrigley Field was an episode of Love It or List It.. I would probably be the one who is sick of the old place and wants something nice and new. On that show the couple never gets everything they want and they List It. I think it would be foolish to think you can rehad Wrigley and make it something new. You can’t fix the infrastructure and at this point it’s an old bag of bones. If Ricketts wants to throw good money after bad then that’s his peragitive. However, I think at this point in time he probably isn’t making idle threats. As a fairly smart business leader he already knows idle threats don’t work. If you make a threat you better be prepared to back it up. He is giving all the hints he means business. He throws out Opening Day over and over again. He said that’s his drop dead date for many things. Maybe a fool doesn’t take him at his word. He may just pull the plug. A man doesn’t like not getting his way when he has the power and money of a Ricketts. He seems like a bit of a wimp on the outside. But on the inside I would bet a paycheck he isn’t much of a wimp at all. He was pretty resolute in his approach to getting Theo and his new ST facility among other things. He got his way with his Dad when he wanted to by the Cubs. Only a fool would think Ricketts won’t move this team. Now that staffer at the Mayors office is pretty stupid. He runs his mouth and pisses Ricketts off even more. He makes a joke out of whether Ricketts would move or not and also makes a joke of the Mayor of Rosemont. Don’t be surprised when the Cubbies don’t play in Wrigley anymore.

    • aCubsFan

      Fastball you are absolutely correct…

      1.) Every building needs constant maintenance. Older buildings that haven’t been rehabbed in quite some time …like Wrigley… need more. And at some point in time the bricks will begin to crumble and the the ivy will disappear. Then what?

      2.) It is definitely like an episode of ‘Love it or List it’. My personal opinion is list it.

  • Fastball

    The Reds built Great American Ball Park for way less than $500MM. The Pirates built PNC for way less than $500MM. Illinois labor rates are the only thing that will cost Ricketts more. The efficiency of a new facility vs an old one is an operational windfall in hard and soft $$. It isn’t the cost of the facility that’s the only intriguing factor. The taxes would undoubtedly make a huge difference. All those Chicago taxes would be gone from your ticket price. There are huge advantages to moving from a financials perspective. Rosemont can give a tax abatement to Ricketts in several area’s. It’s always a better deal to move when your being recruited to move your business. The recruiters can offer more than you can get staying put.

    • aCubsFan

      Well Target Field in Minneapolis cost $397 million. Other new stadiums, as you have pointed out, have come in well under $500 million.

    • Edwin

      It depends on the business. A big part of the Cubs’ business is location. The Cubs would need to weigh the tax advantage over the possible risk of lower attendance.

  • Anthony

    Here is a side I haven’t heard. People saying that if the Cubs move they will lose all the fans that go for everything but baseball. I say that is beautiful. I am a baseball fan. I love the Cubs and baseball. You want to talk about tradition. 100+ years of losing is not tradition I want to keep. People screaming and cheering for a obvious fly out to right field that they think is a homerun, is not tradition I want to keep. I have sat in the bleachers and watched a guy get knocked unconscious by a ball during batting practice. I didn’t feel bad, the guy is sitting in the bleachers while major league hitters are trying to hit homers every time and you aren’t even looking at the field? So if those are the fans we lose, I say move just for that.

    • Eric

      Right, because there will not be any fans misjudging fly balls or idiots in the bleachers who don’t pay attention to batting practice out in the suburbs…..

  • Matt

    A beautiful new stadium, huge parking lot, tailgating, surround it with taverns, nightlife, etc. You can build something similar to what you have in Wrigley but add convenience for the fan. I love Wrigley…but the time has come. If Emmanuel doesn’t want to budge, call his bluff and move.

    • Noah

      There are 81 home games a year, many of which occur on weeknights. I just don’t see much nightlife being built around a stadium in Rosemont, nor it being economically feasible based upon having a maximum of 81 games with people nearby. For example, there’s no nightlife near Miller Park.

      I also enjoy the people misunderstanding who the hold up is here. Emmanuel isn’t holding anything up. He’s merely saying that the Cubs have to come to an agreement that will be passed by the City Council, which means they need to get Tunney on board with it.

  • Kubphan82


    I’m not a lawyer, nor will I ever be. But I’ve read Atlas Shrugged, lol. What the local government is doing to the Cubs has to be able to be refuted by the courts in some fashion, right? The government has too much of a hand in the business. Even when Obama bailed out the auto industry and set guidelines for recovery they then took their hands off and are no longer czar.

    Is there a case in court where the Rickett’s can plead that the State is hindering the business and the greater good of the citizens? Truly, how is it that the city can govern this business WITHOUT extending a hand? I’d rather the city not lend a hand and not govern…