Quantcast

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.

  • Craig

    They won’t be laughing when the Cubs leave. It will kill some political careers.

    • Silly Rabbit

      Only Snow kills careers in Chicago, baseball dont even come close .Heck, the Cubs have been losing for over a hundred years and they still have fans, cant be the team Do you know why the Cubs has had a big following Free access to televised games . Soon the Cubs wont have that. anymore as well.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m missing something or can’t shed my Cubby bias, but the added dollars and jobs and presence of logic in the project makes this seem like a no-brainer.

    • Chris84

      While everything you say is true, the one thing your missing is that there is the matter of campaign contributions and looking out for those dollars. Those dollars come from the rooftop owners, thus Tunney has to look out for them rather than the Cubs, or the jobs it will create.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Blech.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The City wants it done, and the neighborhood does, too … but they know the Cubs are stuck, so they want incentives to give the green light. They know they can squeeze the Cubs, but no one wants anything to actually fall through.

      • Voice of Reason

        Brett, to say the Cubs are stuck is not true!

        However, the Cubs will not leave Wrigley Field. They will get this worked out. This is the Cubs using whatever leverage they can find and they are happy to use the Village President for just that reason.

        When the Ricketts bought the Cubs, they also bought Wrigley Field, which is probably more important than the franchise!

        That said, the Ricketts are business owners and want to make the most money possible. That is where the problem lies. The city has it’s heavy agenda and the Ricketts have their heavy agenda. Both are asking for a ton.The sides will meet somewhere in the middle. This is all the art of negotiating.

        If you owned a business and every time you opened the doors you had a packed house you would never leave! I say there is a 3% chance that the Cubs leave.

        But, to say the Cubs are stuck is not true!

        • Rich H

          No Wrigley is not more important than the franchise. Please remember that Zell tried to see both as separate entities and sell them as such. He couldn’t find a buyer other than the State and big Jim eventually said no as well. He then went back and repackaged the Cubs and Wrigley together. So to come back now and say that Wrigley is more valuable than the franchise is not realistic at all.

          • http://Isa Voice of reason

            And, why couldn’t he find a separate buyer for each? You just validated my point with your post.

            Nobody wanted to buy the cubs unless it included wrigley field because these those who know baseball and business know that wrigley field is just as important if not more important than buying the franchise.

            The rickets said they would not have bought the cubs unless wrigley field was part of the deal.

            You just validated my point.

            • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

              You do realize the Cubs can survive without Wrigley, right? Can Wrigley survive without the Cubs? Would you buy Wrigley on it’s own, without the Cubs?

      • Kevin

        The City wants it done, and the neighborhood does, too … but they know the Cubs are stuck, so they want incentives to give the green light. They know they can squeeze the Cubs, but no one wants anything to actually fall through.

        The city and neighborhood are really showing they want it done. They want BRIBES before they approve anything. If you won’t approve us without lining your pockets then you just made our decision a lot easier.

        The Cubs are not stuck! The Cubs have many options including different locations and teaming up with corporations to maximize their equity position.

        Go ahead and squeeze the Cubs and watch them leave.

        True Cubs fans should care less if the Cubs moved out of Chicago. If anybody posts that they will turn into a Sox fan then they are not true fans.

  • King Jeff

    “Tom Ricketts has no intention of talking to the mayor of Rosemont before Opening Day,”

    These guys choose their words very carefully. This is a telling statement in my opinion.

    • CubFan Paul

      Very telling. Ricketts will and should have other appointments with Mayors Opening Week if Emanuel keeps it up.

      Construction plans/jobs are on the line and I don’t think Ricketts blinks first.

      • Silly Rabbit

        Those jobs are seasonal and temporary. The City is big enough that those jobs mean nothing its not like its full time. Jobs – besides Ricketts can start the Revonation and those jobs begin. This is about zoning controls that the city do not want to lose, Ricketts will have to have those jobs opening whereever and whenever this happen.
        So jobs is a poor carrot to wave. Those jobs get filled either way.

        • hansman1982

          To the voters of Chicago it will be that Rahm allowed $400M to go to the suburbs. I am sure there are many that are sensitive to the suburbs getting a dime of what they feel should be Chicago’s money.

        • CubFan Paul

          Renovation jobs in the winter of 2013 equals $60M (does NOT including the Hotel and neighborhood projects)

          That’s leverage. The City needs that annual $60M yesterday.

        • aCubsFan

          Temporary jobs may not mean much to the City of Chicago, but (as a son of a carpenter who has been through this too many times) construction jobs mean a lot to the people who have been unemployed for over 2 years because of the construction depression.

      • hansman1982

        Ricketts will (should) work really hard to make it look like he is not actively pushing a move to the burbs.

        If no deal is announced, I would imagine Kaplan will have another story or two from a couple other suburbs in April and May, opening the pressure from the public to a point where Ricketts “would be foolish to not explore all opportunities”.

        For a VAST majority of Cubs fans, they have little to no clue what is holding up the rebuilding of Wrigley (if they are aware this is an issue). For Tom to suddenly come out and say that the team is looking at moving, would ruffle far too many feathers.

        • aCubsFan

          You are kidding yourself if you think that behind the scene discussions and/or offers haven’t been making their way to the Cubs.

          Rosemont and the City of Chicago don’t like each other, and Rosemont is the only village with the guts to come out and put their offer in the paper. They’ve done similar things before.

          The Mayor of Schaumburg is a pretty shroud politician, and they hold a very valuable piece of property that the Boomers (from the independent league) play at and has plenty of parking, Metra rail stop, and is easily accessible to.

          Horse racing is pretty much dead in Illinois. So, Arlington Heights has a valuable chunk of property as well which has highway entrances/exit and a Metra stop. Plenty of room to do anything the Cubs would want to do and very close to downtown Arlington Heights which is rapidly growing.

  • ETS

    Leave Wrigley. The City is ran by a bunch of idiots. Just build similar dimensions, put in brick and ivy and make it “feel” like wrigley, only top facilities, way more space and no obstructed views. Some cubs fans will moan about it, but they’ll get over it. They’ll get over it even faster if the new stadium is that much nicer.

    It’s crazy that someone like the Marlins can get a city to float the bill for an expensive stadium and the Cubs can’t even get the city to allow them to pay for their own.

    • Jimbo

      Agreed, all the way around. Enough is enough.

  • Webb

    I’m not sure why a threat “not to renovate” wont carry weight. The Cubs can just announce that without the city’s concessions a $400M cannot be completed in the near discern able future and will be delayed until the stadium crumbles or the city concedes.

    I can read my own counter point to why that wont work as I’m writing….

    Damn this is frustrating.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com db kyle

      It’s not credible because the Cubs stand to make a ton of extra money off of the renovations, even if they were to accede to all of the City and neighborhood’s demands.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m on the overall point, but I wouldn’t take it quite that far: if the Cubs got no new ad signage, no added night games, no street fairs, and no added concerts, their added revenue would be limited to (a) hoped-for increases in concessions sales, (b) more luxury areas in the park, and (c) better attendance because the park is “nicer.” I’m not so sure that nets them “a ton” of extra money. Some. But the advertising and night games would be quite a bit more.

      • DarthHater

        The question isn’t just whether they can make money by staying at Wrigley. It’s whether they could ultimately make more by moving and, if so, how much more. At a different location, the Cubs could play as many night games as any other team, which ought to lead to greatly increased future TV revenue that might dwarf other revenue streams derived from a Wrigley renovation. In addition, whatever revenue a Wrigley renovation might generate, one cannot simply assume that comparable revenue streams could not be generated at a new facility.

        I’m not saying a move could or could not make fiscal sense. But nobody here has sufficient facts to do a meaningful comparison of the economics of staying to the economics of a possible move.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com db kyle

          If having the facts was a prerequisite for having an opinion, Brett can shut the comments down.

          Please don’t do it, Brett.

  • ProfessorCub

    I realize this is off topic, and I wouldn’t normally make a post like this (and won’t again), and perhaps I’m way late to the party, but Julie DiCaro is either Jim Hendry in disguise or a Cardinals/Sox fan trolling, right? Maybe I’m seeing things incorrectly, but her posts recently are infuriatingly short-sighted and negative. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks BNers!

  • Karen P

    I would just like to say that when I was relieved that Chicago didn’t get the 2016 Olympic games, people naturally asked why. I said, “Because Chicago politicians are a**holes who think they’re demi-gods and can do whatever they want.”

    I f*cking hate Chicago politicians, as pointless as that emotion may be. After this nonesense, I think I’m praying that on April 2, Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein drop the huge bomb that the team is moving out of Chicago after the 2014.

    I’m so over all of this ridiculousness.

  • Silly Rabbit

    If the team wants to move then move. Ricketts will have a new staduim and can control his team and build his team the way he see fits. I doubt anyone can argue with that statement.

    I also feel that Tunney should not give in to Cubs unless the voters in the area tell him to do so. Addison and Clark can go in a different direction. Some taverns and all the rooftops will close both side will lose but hey children can finally go home from school without passing drunks during the daytime ,residents can enjoy the summer.

    • Boogens

      “I also feel that Tunney should not give in to Cubs unless the voters in the area tell him to do so.”

      That’s the crux of the issue in Wrigleyville. Tunney’s representing the interests of the rooftop owners, but his entire constituency. Unfortunately, the majority of his district is quiet on this issue.

      Also, trying to make the Cubs pay for infrastructure upgrades, like the Red Line station, is beyond ridiculous. This is something that Tunney and the city have been negligent on and they just looking to stick it to the Cubs by demanding a free ride.

      As Karen P. said the city’s politicians are a bunch of a-holes.

      • Boogens

        Meant to say “… but NOT his entire constituency.”

    • aCubsFan

      Really? The drunks are in the Wrigleyville neighborhoods only during the baseball season? Are you sure that the Cubs are responsible for all the drunks in the neighborhood? It couldn’t be due to the nearly two dozen bars in and around the ‘Wrigleyville’ neighborhood could it?

      There are loitering drunks in every part of the City of Chicago and it has nothing to do with any sporting events that may, or may not be, happening in the area.

      • DarthHater

        Anybody attending a Cubs game is in the stadium and not on the streets when kids are going home from school. But a little thing like facts is never going to deter the negative nancies from their whining.

  • mjhurdle

    As much as I love Wrigley, another poster summed up my sentiments exactly when he said he was a fan of the Chicago Cubs, not Wrigley Field.
    Wrigley is great, it is tradition, it is history and if i had my wish, the Cubs would be allowed to do whatever they needed to make sure that it stayed the home of the Cubs for years.

    However, this issue is becoming old. The constant struggle the Cubs must go through for any sort of improvements is ridiculous. It is more than just this renovation. This will happen again, and again, and again every time the Cubs want a change.
    At this point i am 100% behind the idea to take the outfield apart brick by brick. Bring the foul polls and the scoreboard and reconstruct a modern version of Wrigley somewhere else, complete with brick outfield wall and ivy.
    The fact that the politicians seem to be so convinced that this golden goose will never leave just assures me that the city’s attitude toward the business of the Cubs will never change. It is time to cut it loose.
    Just the opinion of this frustrated Cubs fan.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    You are right, the Cubs are playing this brilliantly. It is quite obvious that they are not even close to coming to any deal with the city, who it seems feels no urgency to accommodate the team in any way.
    I expect in a few weeks, the Cubs will announce that the city has refused to allow any of their requests to let them run the team like a private business, and they will be open to discussing new stadium sites with other areas.
    I am down here near St. Louis, and it is striking the difference in the attitude the city has towards the Cubs. If a mayor of St. Louis had the smug attitude towards the Cardinals like this, he would be committing political suicide. They would run him out on a rail.

  • TampaCubsFan

    This is unrelated to the topic, but does anyone know when the Daytona Cubs schedule comes out???? I was excited to see Soler was sent to Daytona!!!!

  • mikeakaleroy

    It’s sad that it has come to this. I’ve been a Cubs fan for 30 years, and have put up with the losing year in and year out, and the constant teasing I incur from my brother the Cardinals fan, but have always rooted my heart out for this team. After all this time, and all those spectacular losses, this little pissing match is the first thing that’s ever made me question which team to root for. It seems ridiculous to me that the lucky bastards that live in Wrigleyville that can see this team play all the time, if they wanted to, are the very people that are claiming that the Cubs would be nothing without the neighborhood and constantly getting in the way of the team trying to improve its surroundings.

    I understand that there are two sides to this, and I guarantee the Ricketts family sees several more dollar signs that could come with the renovation, but the current state of Wrigley is ridiculous and it certainly needs updated.

    I am from Iowa, so a movement to the burbs would be perfect for me, but I’m also aware that it will never happen. It’s just so frustrating how much money this team brings into the city and that a deal hasn’t been reached.

    /vent over

    • Meredith

      I am one of those lucky bastards. I love it here. I love the Cubs. Build the hotel! I’d love to walk to a gym and bring business into my neighbor’s bars and restaurants.
      I think many people are missing the differences between the wrigleyville neighbors and the wrigleyville rooftops and what they want out of Wrigley. I think a lot of people are missing out on truly putting themselves in the different parties’ shoes.
      We could also bring into this discussion the way community meetings on the topic have been obscured. (Ex: Tunney says “thanks for coming out to the meeting” but doesn’t post the date, time, and location of the meeting).
      I am trying to dig into the legitimacy of the City’s claims to delay approving Rickett’s proposals.
      But trust that me and my neighbors are not trying to get in the way on this one.

      • mikeakaleroy

        Thanks Meredith. I don’t mean to lump everyone together in that neighborhood, and apologize for that. I have had friends that lived in the area specifically to go to Cubs games all the time.

      • King Jeff

        I think that’s an important distinction that most aren’t making. The actual residents of Wrigleyville are mostly supportive of this move. The resistance is coming from business owners parading as residents.

        • Boogens

          You said it much better than I did in my previous post.

        • Spriggs

          Well these residents need to be making way more noise then. They have a lot to lose, so why aren’t they?

  • Thom

    I wonder if the Cubs are conducting polls on how receptive the fan base would be to a potential move to the suburbs along with their new uniform and logo research? :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For whatever it’s worth, I’ve never heard anything about a possible move entering into any surveys or focus-grouping.

      • Richp

        There is a poll currently running on CSN which indicates 77% of of participants would still love,and continue to be fans if the Cubs were to move to Rosemont. I realize this isn’t a scientific poll,but it does fulfill the initial requirement for a “survey or focus group”. I suspect it is the 1st? of many.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I just don’t see a lot of value in polls like that – there’s selection bias (the types of people who participate are the types who read online media about the Cubs, which tends to be a small segment of the types of people who attend Cubs games (trust me, this is one thing I know to be true from experience)), and the phrasing of that question pushes you toward a certain answer.

          I would continue to support the Cubs if they moved – but that doesn’t mean I think a move is a good idea. I just think many folks around here grossly underestimate the long-term negative impact to attendance that would follow a move to the suburbs. Yes, if the Cubs win, they’ll still get numbers. As good as in Lakeview? No chance. And if the Cubs don’t win? It could get very, very ugly. I don’t understand why more people don’t see this. You have to step outside the mind of a hardcore fan, which is what we all are, and think like a fringy fan.

          • Spriggs

            There is a big attendance risk, but on the other hand, with a presumed increase in capacity, there is potential for a long term increase in annual attendance figures. Especially if they start out with a winning product.

            In the shorter term, the “final year” or two at Wrigley would also guarantee sell outs for just about every single game until they did move.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Eh. I’m not sure the Cubs are all that interested in greater seating capacity (even as they prepare for “better days”). The current renovation plan, if I remember correctly, reduces seating capacity slightly. Wrigley still seats more than nine other ballparks in baseball, so it’s not a huge issue – especially if the Cubs are better able to monetize their partnership with the rooftops. That’s extra seating right there.

          • Kevin

            Brett, How can you honestly say the Cubs moving would have a negative impact to attendance?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Because you’re moving out of an historic stadium in a beautiful setting and moving away from the population density? You might see comparable attendance during the honeymoon period, but after that, you’re going to see fringy fans tapering off, especially if the Cubs aren’t a dominantly good team.

              You hardcore folks just can’t get out of your own head. The vast majority of folks who go to Cubs games aren’t us. Many go to Cubs games for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the team or their passion for the Cubs. Take away Wrigley – in its current location – and a number of those reasons go away.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Historically, the Cubs attendance has risen and fallen with attendance at other “tourist” locations (museums, zoos) in Chicago. Winning years introduce exceptions: but the simple fact is that Wrigley is something to see in and of itself, even when the Cubs are not.

                Where “hardcore” fans make the Cubs standout is in road attendance: the Cubs routinely do very well on the road even when the team stinks. However, in a lot of cases, those represent the 2-4 chances that a Cubs fan will have to see his/her team in person all year, so those games are very strong magnets. Moreover, a “good” road crowd is still a pretty poor home-crowd!

              • aCubsFan

                If population density was such a big thing for stadium and team attendance, why then is Target Field drawing over 3 million since its opening when it is in downtown Minneapolis where no one lives?

                Why are the Phillies drawing over 2.5 million since Citizens Bank Park opened when it is in a part of town where no one lives?

                Why do the Braves draw so many people when most of the people with in the surrounding suburbs?

                Why do the Angels consistently draw so many people to their games when there aren’t a lot of people living close to the stadium and it is difficult to get in and out of the stadium area and there’s nothing to keep the fans there after game?

                Detroit draws over 2.5 million and that ball park is in the worst parts of Detroit, and there isn’t a huge local population around the stadium.

              • cubfanincardinalland

                Brett, I feel you are really overestimating the power of Wrigley Field as the branding of the Cubs. They would draw more fans in the right location and a new state of the art ball park.
                I drive up from Southern Illinois for ball games 3 or 4 times a year. Wrigley is a dump quite frankly. Great historic feel, but it is miserably family friendly, and not very fan friendly either. I went to college in Minneapolis, and that is a great example of what the Cubs could do. It has been a huge boon for the Twins.

                • Edwin

                  The Cubs should go to college in Minneapolis?

                  • hansman1982

                    Only if Hayden Fox goes back to coaching.

                • JB88

                  I think you, cubsfanincardinalland, severely underestimate the effect that WGN helped in growing the Cubs brand nationally and the impact those broadcasts have had on tourists visiting Wrigley Field each year.

                  If you truly think that the Cubs have 30,000 plus of its own fans visiting Wrigley, on average, every game, then I have some land to sell you in Florida and a bridge to sell you in Arizona.

          • aCubsFan

            They don’t get it because they aren’t you…a shill for the rooftop owners.

            Wrigley was never a draw during the 60s, 70s and early 80s when the Wrigley family owned them. The attendance was horrible because they had a horrible team.

            It really wasn’t until 1982 when the Tribune Company bought the Cubs when attendance started to hit the 2 million mark and more on a regular basis. And then it wasn’t until Harry Carey came to the Cubs in 1982 and the 1984 Cubs magical season that attendance really started to pick up. Then again with the 1989, 2003, 2007 and 2008 Cubs playoff clubs. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/history/year_by_year_results.jsp
            http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/cubsatte.shtml

            It was during the Tribune era that the Cubs started promoting personalities. First, was Carey — still today they promote Carey through the ‘celebrity’ singing of the 7th inning stretch. Then came Sandberg, Grace and Sosa. Then Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella. And, they also started promoting past Cubs’ heros – Banks, Santo and WIlliams. Of course night games, starting in 1988, has helped with attendance significantly because it’s difficult for most fans to go to weekday games.

            People don’t come to Wrigley because of the bricks and ivy on the outfield walls. They came/come to Wrigley to see if Sandberg, Sosa, Bonds, McQwire or Soriano can hit a home run onto Waveland or Sheffield Avenues. They came/come to Wrigley to see Carey — and what celebrity is going to and if they are going to butcher it — sing the 7th inning stretch.

            I have not seen any distinct correlation between an old park — like Wrigley — and attendance just like there’s no correlation between a new park and attendance. If there was you wouldn’t have the Twins being right behind the Cubs in attendance in 2012 with a terrible team in a 3-year-old park.

            If the park/stadium was the be all end all for attendance, then the White Sox would have much more attendance than they do. But people remember Reinsdorf’s white flag sell off, they remember the heavy-handiness he had with the player’s strikes and are protesting the owner.

            Most people are unaware that Reinsdorf has a very friendly deal with the state regarding the stadium lease and the surrounding property, but Reinsdorf fails to live up to his end of the deal to redevelop the surrounding neighborhoods, so he can put more money into his pockets.

            • David

              Cut the crap. Brett is not a shill for the rooftops. Wrigley is too a draw in and of itself and it’s something that absolutely needs to be considered when deciding if a move would be prudent.

            • Patrick W.

              The White Sox play in the 6th oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues. It is no longer a “new” ballpark. The first three years of the new park’s existence the White Sox had above average attendance. The point is that those changes you mention up there that made Wrigley a destination happened, and their effects linger. If you think that there aren’t people (a lot of people) that come to see Wrigley Field who wouldn’t go to Sears Holding Company Park in Rosemont, I think you’re wrong. Look at attendance in Pittsburgh, or Baltimore or Cleveland. New parks spiked attendance and then as the teams failed to produce, attendance tanked. Since the aforementioned changes to the marketing of the ballpark the crappy teams on the field have done little to suppress attendance.

          • gutshot5820

            Brett, I don’t understand your logic in this post. Of course there will be selection bias in that poll primarily composed of people that are interested enough in the Cubs to be online, reading news related to the Cubs. I would think if anything, information from that type of selection bias is exactly what the Cubs would want to know. What they don’t want is a random poll of people who have no interest in the Cubs.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              No – they want to know how many people who currently come to Cubs games at Wrigley Field would continue to do so at a ballpark outside its currently location. That subset of people is very different from “hardcore Cubs fans who consume Cubs content online.” As I said: the majority of folks at Cubs games are not us, and are not nearly as likely to keep going to games religiously like we would.

  • another JP

    To be honest all this has been driven by the Rosemont mayor, so until Ricketts makes a statement or some other tangible evidence of interest to move out of the city occurs guys like Rahm’s spokesman are going to act smug. I’d love for the Cubs to leave Chicago, screw the politicians in that town.

  • Kevin

    Ricketts needs to pull offer to spend $500M off the table immediately and tell the city they need to research all possibilities before any renovation begins. This will allow other cities and corporations to offer the Cubs the best overall opportunity to maximize their value. Don’t be surprised if Schaumburg and Naperville offer their own packages too in an attempt to lure the Cubs to their city. Don’t think for a minute that the Ricketts are not already talking with Corporations for a teaming arrangement for a new stadium.

  • noisesquared

    Just a thought, what if the Cubs built a new state of the art retractable roof facility in the burbs, but kept Wrigley intact enough to just to play a few select weekend dates (maybe 6-8 games over 2-3 weekends) during the summer? Those could be sold as ‘super-premium’ tix. I doubt it’s fiscally feasable, but what a way to stick it to Chicago – basically ‘we’re taking the bulk of our revenue elsewhere, but we’re going to have enough games in Wrigley to just remind everyone how important we were to Chicago’. The fans still get their shrine (at a premium), but the Cubs get the practicality of a modern facility and the associated revenues….

    • Internet Random

      I’ve suggested something like this before. I’m not certain it’s a great idea, but I do feel like it’s worth exploring.

  • Matt

    If I’m a business-savvy gentleman with even half a brain I see two choices:

    1. $400 million in renovations on an old stadium that will, at the end of the day, still be substandard compared to other stadiums AND fighting local businessmen, neighborhood watch bullies and Chicago politicians along the way, minimal say in your own private business and minimal flexibility with what you can do with it.

    2. Build a new stadium somewhere else that is fully modernized, deals with zero neighborhood tenants, zero Chicago politicians, doubles potential revenue sources, gives full flexibility in ownership and say of what happens to the park.

    Seems like a no-brainer.

    • ETS

      Not to mention, depending on where you go, you probably get public funding or at least land from the city as incentive for #2.

  • rich

    Why did’nt the so called he or she have the guts to name themselves !

  • Patch

    For all the justifiable frustration, there are a few mitigating factors to keep in mind:

    1) Look, I have a LOT of issues with my politicians, but keep in mind that Ricketts didn’t magnanimously come forward with an offer to spend only his own money at the beginning; he asked the city to make the same mistake cities around the country have done. And in this instance, I’m very, very proud that, in the end, Chicago politicians didn’t give in.

    2) Leaving Chicago is a non-starter. Most of you here are just Cubs fans, but a whole hell of a lot of us are Chicago Cubs fans, and I can tell you that my pride in my hometown runs deeper than my pride in my baseball team (though the two are obviously linked). Leaving Chicago is one of the few things they could do that would make me consider switching loyalties to the Sox, and I know I’m not alone. (Yes, I know the Sox made threats a while back and all. But they’re here.)

    3) You guys realize that “neighborhood concerns” aren’t just about the immediate Wrigleyville area, right? A lot of young professionals and young families live in greater Lakeview, and the noise, drunkenness, and traffic of Cubs games is a nuisance for them, too. (I always feel a little guilty when my non-baseball fan coworkers complain.) Not that I take Tunney’s statements at face value, but let’s not be so dismissive of these concerns, yeah?

    Ultimately, I think and hope a deal much like the one on the table goes through. But the way this conversation is going here can frustrate me. Obviously this is a fan-first perspective, but try to be a little more understanding, at least.

    • ETS

      1) It only makes sense to ask the city to help pay since they claim partial ownership and have crazy regulations on what can/can’t be done to the park.

      2) If there’s any scenario where switching to the sox is a possibility then I question your fandom.

      3) There are those kinds of neighborhoods in every cities. The people you are talking about chose to live there. It’s not like they moved into a peaceful, quiet area and the cubs put in a bunch of bars last year. If they don’t like then they can move.

      • Patch

        1) Sure, it makes sense to ask. That doesn’t make public financing a good idea. And on a similar note, it also makes sense for politicians to squeeze whatever they can from the Cubs because they know the Cubs aren’t going anywhere and that they are what they are, in large part, because of Chicago (particularly if you consider the Superstation part of Chicago).

        2) Cool. Doesn’t bother me. But I hope you’ll acknowledge that there are competing loyalties, and a lot of people value some of those above baseball. It’s fine if baseball is the most important thing to you. But for a lot of people—even rabid Cubs fans—it’s not.

        3) Lakeview and Wrigleyville are not quite the same. Lakeview is a pretty nice neighborhood that offers a mix of inoffensive comforts and somewhat affordable places. And hence it draws young professionals and young families. Other neighborhoods have different appeals and different problems. But it’s not, on the whole, a frat house full of bars—that’s just Wrigleyville, which spills into the broader neighborhood.

        • ETS

          1) I actually hate public financing for stadiums, but the restrictions on Wrigley are, at very least, something to consider.

          2) Sorry, I didn’t mean to make that “personal” glad you didn’t take it offensively.

          3) I’m still going with Lakeville residences knew what they were getting into and it’s just one of the cons of the neighborhood.

          • Patch

            Your point on (1) is true, and it certainly complicates things. I just come from the perspective that sports franchises should be treated more like public utilities and less like private businesses (which more accurately reflects their role and the fact that they are part of an artificial, government-sanctioned monopoly), so this really doesn’t bother me too much. But yes, relative to other sports franchises, the Cubs are in a tougher situation, at least from their perspective.

            • aCubsFan

              Is the United Center a public utility or a private entity? By your definition it would be but it was built with private funds with some very serious tax breaks for Reinsdorf.

              Is the new Bulls workout facility being built on the west side with the help of the city a public utility or a private entity? It should be a public utility since the Mayor has provided tax incentives I believe.

              Is Comiskey/US Cellular Field a public utility or a private entity? Reinsdorf acts as if it is a private entity and gets all the benefits of a private entity but ‘we’ the tax payers of Illinois built it and fund all the renovations it has had?

              Did the city of Chicago or the state of Illinois put any skin in the game to remodel Wrigley Field or help the Ricketts with funding to buy the park? I don’t think so. So, how and why does private property become a ‘public utility’?

    • scotti

      Patch, re. comment #1: the Cubs pay more in taxes than the Bears, Bulls and Sox–possibly combined–and none of what the Cubs pay to the city goes to clean up, policing, traffic, etc. (the Cubs pay into a separate fund for those issues which is exactly what the amusement tax is meant for (and what the Bears, Sox, etc. tax is used for)). Your city is double dipping with the Cubs. THAT is what the Cubs were asking for originally. Fair taxation. Our country was founded on fair taxation.

      Re. Your point #2: only roughly 1/3 of Cub fans at Wrigley are Chicagoans. Another third are from the burbs and yet another third from “out of town.” A move to a more accessible facility will more than make up the difference for any loss in folks that switch to the Sox by bringing in more folks from out of town and especially the burbs. Attendance would increase because of improved accessibility–even some Chicagoans would find a Schamburg or Arlington Heights location easier to get to (I know this because it was true for my small family when we lived just five miles west on Irving Park–getting to Woodfield? Butter. Wrigley? It’s murder getting in there. Take the CTA? Not with little kids on hot, muggy Chicago days).

      Re. #3: all the more reason for the Cubs to move out of Wrigleyville. There is nothing more the Cubs can do to make it better. They are already taxed out the butt and they already sacrifice money (night games, ad revenue, parking revenue, concert revenue, etc.) and winning (poor facilities, running their business on the city’s terms, etc.). If the city can’t, won’t or even shouldn’t, make this happen then it’s time to move on. No need to become a Sox fan if the Cubs moving on is really the right thing for all parties involved.

      • Patch

        This is a very thoughtful reply, so thanks a lot for that.

        Could you send me a link about (1)? I haven’t heard about the “double dip.” This doesn’t change my feelings on paying for renovations by forgoing tax revenue (and I’m not particularly worried about “fair taxation” when it comes to multi-billion dollar, Supreme Court-sanctioned businesses), but I’d genuinely be curious to learn more.

        For (2), that’s very true, and I remember that marketing study. I’m not sure it makes a clear case for the Cubs being okay if they move, though. First, it remains to be seen what happens when televised baseball becomes much more regional, and what happens when the Cubs (likely) leave WGN (not that it’s as relevant now as it was 10 years ago). They’ll always be a national brand, but I wonder if that’ll limit them in the future. And the other related point is about that 1/3 from out of town. I’m sure a decent amount of them will still come to games without Chicago (and don’t underestimate the appeal of visiting Chicago proper while going to Cubs games) and Wrigley, but there’s no way it’ll be as many. How big that hit will be is an open question.

        But anyway, these are calm, logical considerations. Throw in a “Chicago sucks” if you want to stoke the fire again :)

        • scotti

          Love the City, Patch. I don’t love what politics has done to it (and, yes, I know that political machinations have been a huge part of Chicago for a long time–my dad was a precinct captain many years ago–its just that stuff USED to get done so, while you had the stench of sausage making, at least in the end you had sausage. Now out just stinks).

          Re. Double dipping: my son’s laptop isn’t working for him so he’s using mine for finals at DePaul. Unfortunately that means I won’t be able to research and provide links for you (just posting with a smart phone is like pulling teeth and any minute I could lose everything I’m trying to post) but, if you have the time and inclination, research the history/purpose of the amusement tax… It was passed because teams were a drain to the city (police, traffic, clean up, etc.). Teams, however, don’t pay the tax on a per head basis (i.e. attendance) which would make logical sense (a fan doesn’t use more city forces because he pays more for the ticket) but, rather, as a percentage of ticket purchased. So, since the Cubs charge much more per ticket and eclipse the Sox in attendance the Cubs pay multiple times more than the Sox. While the Bears charge more per ticket they have a drastically lower yearly attendance, etc.

          The Cubs also send out a yearly report to local residents re. what they have paid for (the traffic, policing, clean up, other community endeavors, charity, of site parking, etc.) while none of the other teams pay for this stuff–that’s what the tax is for. You can find this online.

          Re. Out of town fans. I have family in Iowa/Western IL, WI and FLA who are all Cub fans. Because Wrigleyville is so hard to get in to (Wrigleyville, not the city) they simply don’t go to games. The family in WI content themselves with seeing the Cubs at Miller–the rest just don’t see the Cubs when they come to town anymore. For all the families involved (Iowa, WI, FLA) and for us when we lived in Texas, a park in the burbs (hotels, O’hare, etc.) and then taking the train to visit the city, if you wanted, would make the most sense. From personal and family experience, you wouldn’t lose attendance from out of towners, you’d gain drastically.

    • Spriggs

      You mean you wouldn’t have rooted for the Gary Bears?!?

  • scotti

    The Rosemont site it’s ideal for traffic but a non-starter because of it’s proximity to the airport (think Shea Stadium). I love the idea of a retractable roof but with those 25 acres you’d need to keep it closed AND soundproofed. However, real options exist in Schaumburg and Arlington Heights (Naperville is too far south and away from the Cubs fan base–northwest burbs).

  • Danny Ballgame

    Love the “Mayor of College” line. Great stuff as always Brett.

  • Morken

    The Cubs aren’t going anywhere. We all know this.

    The entitlement of the rooftop owners, and the spite shown by the mayor, is completely ridiculous.

    Anyone who’s politically savy understands that the Mayor is motivated to be as difficult as possible, because the Ricketts’ father was tied to Super Pacs opposed to President Obama.

    Compromises will be made, and everything will be forgotten. For now, the posturing will continue.

  • chuyz

    Make a petition. Ask citizens what they
    want… if the people of the 44 th ward want the cubs to move then screw them.n the city..

  • MightyBear

    If I was Ricketts I would threaten to be the Las Vegas Cubs, just like the Sarasota Sox. The Sarasota Sox was laughable as we’ve seen how baseball draws in Florida but the City and State caved on that one, didn’t they?

  • Patch

    Does anyone have attendance figures for the Chicago Fire in their three locations (Soldier Field, that college stadium in Naperville they played at during Soldier Field renovations, and Toyota Park)? I know there are a lot of other factors impacting it, but that might be a good reference point for how this would impact the Cubs. (Not that I would in any way approve of them leaving Chicago–just curious.)

    • aCubsFan

      Actually the Chicago Fire are not a good comparison at all.

      First, Soldier Field is/was far to large of a stadium for MLS games, especially due to the lack of support for soccer in the US. Even in other cities where soccer is played in football stadium the capacity of the stadium for soccer is downgraded for soccer versus its capacity for football due to soccer not being as popular as football.

      Second, using soccer as a comparative is off base because there are only 19 teams and they play far few games than baseball. Additionally, there are pockets of areas in the US where soccer has a strong fan base, but that is not in Chicago.

      Thirdly, the Chicago Fire was forced to move out of Soldier Field to Naperville during the stadium renovation.

      Fourthly, the Bridgeview location really isn’t all that convenient to public transportation since the Orange line stops at Midway and you need to take the Pace shuttle to Toyota Park. It’s also not convenient to the major expressways either.

  • Richp

    Don’t it always seem to go,
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    Chicago doesn’t deserve the Cubs. It’s time for Moses Ricketts to liberate us from our oppressors,and lead us to the promise land,where ever that may be. And we shall shout “hallelujah!” And there shall be crying and gnashing of teeth in Wrigleyville. The long suffering faithful shall receive their just reward. A World Series victory. (I know it sounds biblicly dramatic,but it felt good saying it)

  • Kevin

    You are trying to compare the Chicago Fire to the Chicago Cubs????????? LMAO

    • Patch

      Of course they have radically different histories and fan bases. But there’s a difference between making a direct comparison and trying to find some factual reference point to ground wild, emotionally driven speculation.

    • aCubsFan

      Kevin…I am with you. It is a laughable comparison as I pointed out above in reply to Patch’s post.

  • Eric

    I’d love for the proponents of a move to the suburbs to share where they live and how many games they go to a year.

    They weren’t in this thread but I also don’t want to see any comparisons of the situation to the new Yankee or Busch stadium. Perhaps I am incorrect but the new Yankees stadium was built across the street from the old one and Busch is still in downtown St. Louis. Not remotely comparable to moving the Cubs out to Rosemont or Naperville or Arlington Heights.

    Commuting to a stadium in the suburbs would be as much a logistical nightmare as it is for some commuting to Wrigley.

    There was a comment about people out of town preferring a stadium in the suburbs. I highly doubt that. Tourists wouldn’t come to see a cookie-cutter Wrigley in Naperville. People come to see the real Wrigley and the city of Chicago, the neighborhoods, the lakefront, the museums, Millenium Park, Navy Pier, etc. Not to go to a game in Schaumburg and then hit Woodfield Mall.

    I say this as a diehard Cubs fan that lives in Wrigleyville. Clearly the politics of the situation are ridiculous but I have to believe they will get something done. I will still love the Cubs if they move but it absolutely won’t feel or be the same. Saying you think a move to the suburbs would be detrimental in a number of ways does not make you any less of a Cubs fan.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Eric, I go to games 3 or 4 times a year from downstate. You are greatly overestimating the allure of Wrigleyville and the city. It is a pain in the ass to drive around, and find parking. And the hotels are obscenely expensive. I have been to Navy Pier and Millenium Park(we have parks where I live also), once is plenty. The museums are nice, but I would rather stay out by a suburban ballpark, and drive in to see a museum. It’s Chicago, not Barcelona, Paris, Miami or such.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        If this were all true, why didn’t the Cubs move to the suburbs decades ago? Why did Ricketts say the Cubs would stay at Wrigley as one of the first things he said? They’re just stupid?

        • DarthHater

          “They’re just stupid?”

          Actually, that has occasionally been suggested. ;-)

        • scotti

          Brett, if the Ricketts WANTED to move from day one I would expect them to publicly say that they DON’T want to move. In fact, they said they didn’t want to leave Mesa, too, but leaving Mesa, IMHO, was a real possibility. The only thing that prevented a spring move to Naples was that Mesa blinked. Chicago needs to blink if it wants to keep the team.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            If he’d wanted to move, I won’t speculate on what he would have said, but I don’t think he would have spent four years trying to get public funding and buying up expensive properties around Wrigley Field.

            • DarthHater

              Hey, they say they want to win a WS while trying to lose 100+ games, so anything is possible. ;-)

    • Dav

      Eric,

      I live in Aurora and go to about 20 games a year. If the cubs moved to a more accessible location, I would more then double the number of games I would go to.

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Eric, I live about 10 minutes from Wrigley, and haven’t gone to a home game in 5 years. The park is just not comfortable.
      You walk up the stairs to the stands and WOW…what a view..the most perfect green you’ve ever seen, the amazing looking scoreboard…just WOW…then 10 minutes later you realize everything else is subpar..the concourse, the concessions, and the ‘facilities’.

      • Eric

        Interesting responses. I respectfully disagree that I am overestimating the allure of Wrigley Field and the city of Chicago versus a cookie cutter stadium in the suburbs.

        Of course, for every individual that would double the amount of games they would go to with a suburban location you will have a large group with the opposite reaction.

        Also, the response regarding the concessions and the facilities makes very little sense to me. Of course they are not great but one response makes it sound like you spend most of your time hanging out in the bathroom and buying food. I understand not going to games because you find the prices high or the product substandard or if there are health reasons but blaming bathrooms and concessions is a bit ridiculous to me.

        • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

          Yes, I do have health considerations, but the argument I’m making is for the total experience. And yes, concessions and the concourse are part of that experience. Isn’t being comfortable in your enviroment part of the experience? There are no features that make Wrigley charming that can’t be replicated in a new stadium.

          • Eric

            Being comfortable is certainly important and I obviously can’t speak for your situation. Of course wouldn’t an hour plus commute each way to a park in the suburbs (whether via public transportation or driving) have an adverse impact on your comfort level?

            If it came down to it , I would be ok with a new ballpark in the city or on the lake but I just don’t see the suburbs as a good option. I would still be a fan but leaving the city, the neighborhood, the ball park, the atmosphere – it wouldn’t be nearly the same. Luckily I think the chances of it happening are minimal.

            • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

              Well, not all suburbs are an hour-plus commute, but I will agree with you, a new stadium along the lake front would be my preference (the only thing from the current Wrigley that can’t be replicated in a western burb would be the wind effect, and I LOVE the wind effect).
              I just wonder when the charm of Wrigley will be outweighed by it’s upkeep. It’s 100 years old, it can become a money pit real soon…

              • aCubsFan

                What do you mean no wind effect? Are you saying the wind doesn’t blow in the suburbs?

                • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

                  Not like the lakefront.

        • Leo L

          i definately think wrigley is part of the allure but a new park if done right can have some of its own allure. the question is how much would they lose by moving (current fans) and how much would they gain (different fans and more advertising, night games, etc) and the cost difference of renovation and building new. this is simplified because ther are other factors that should be considered like will future players prefer to sign with the current wrigley vs the new wrigley. at this point the balance shifts. the question is where that balance is. im sure both sides have a good idea where that is but if ricketts dont start to bluff a little then the balance will be closer to what the city thinks it can get away with.

          • aCubsFan

            Well it is always far less expensive to build new, in most cases, than it is to renovate a 100 year old structure. But, some people would prefer to renovate and live with the dust than to build a new house.

        • Dale’s Ear

          If you buy food from any of the concession stands at Wrigley I feel that you will inevitably spend the majority of the game in the “facilities” lol.

  • Curt

    this whole thing boggles the mind , you can’t respect anyone’s ass you have to kiss 1st, Tunney and Rahm , good god enough of this bullshit already, the rooftop owners deserve nothing, and the neighborhood should be happy the cubs are trying to accommodate them , but the cubs shouldn’t have to fix things in the neighborhood that Tunney and Emmanuel don’t deem important bc theirs no political gain to help the neighborhood so lets hold up the cubs make them fix their own ballpark even though the city helped others ,not only that make them fix other things the city dosent want to fix, enough already get this done or leave no threats just leave , wait n see how fast the city’s tune changes then.

    • OCCubFan

      “you can’t respect anyone’s ass you have to kiss”
      Agree.

      • Dale’s Ear

        A wise man actually once said the opposite “You can’t respect someone who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.” And who said this? The one and only Ferris Bueller lol

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://weknowmemes.com/generator/uploads/generated/g1363725524326743225.jpg[/img]

  • Charles

    Rickett’s should pull a few pages from the White Sox playbook on getting a new stadium. At the time the city and state would not give the Sox anything and even laughed when they said they would move to Florida. Once they rolled out architectural drawings and started going before zoning boards in Sarasota, FL (i think) did the city and state wake up that they might be serious and leave. In the end the Sox ended up with more than they originally asked for. True, Sarasota, FL (again memory may be wrong as to which city) was played but Chicago and the neighborhood are doing the same thing to the Cubs now. Unless the city and neighborhoods actually think the Cubs may really leave, ownership will never get what they feel they need to be competitive today and tomorrow. In the grand scheme of things, the expense of threatening to leave is nothing compared to the revenue streams they are asking for and lets face it, any good tax lawyer or CPA will find a way to right it off so in the end, its money well spent.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+