Tom Tunney’s “tear down the scoreboard” plan (since explained as “move the scoreboard”), and the Mayor’s Office’s “laugh at the threat to move” plan each got top billing in the last two days, but there’s a whole lot more to discuss on the Wrigley renovation front. The story is finally gaining enormous traction after months of being largely ignored, despite its obvious importance …
- I don’t agree with everything Jon Greenberg writes, but I’ve always thought he was an excellent writer amid a morass of not-so-much. So, when he writes something with which I do agree (albeit in Greenberg’s typically flair-ful language, and I wouldn’t be so hard on Dave Kaplan), I’ve got to quote from it liberally. To wit, Greenberg offered his take on the Wrigley renovation saga as viewed through the lens of the Rosemont offer to take the Cubs, and neatly packaged and articulated many of my own thoughts on the subject:
If the Cubs went to Rosemont, or any suburb, they’d only lose the 20-somethings who are there to get drunk, the downtown businessmen and lawyers who buy season tickets, tourists and casual fans. You know, everyone. Would locals replace some of that revenue? Maybe, but there won’t be a five-digit waiting list anymore ….
No, the Cubs aren’t going to move because one obstructionist alderman is a fearless negotiator when it comes to his fiefdom. No one would abandon a gold mine because the light bulbs are broken ….
But while everyone is sick of the public negotiating, there is a middle ground here, one Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his people have tried to find. Tunney needs to get realistic about his demands (though asking for more parking is a good one), and find a compromise with the rooftop owners and the Cubs.
Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. Wrigleyville is perfect. Why waste a good thing?
- The whole thing is worth a read. Very worth a read. I love the Cubs, I want the Wrigley renovation to happen largely as the Ricketts Family has presented. To that end, I wish the possibility of moving was more plausible than it is. Because, ironically, that’s what would help get a deal done with Chicago.
- David Axelrod, a political consultant based in Chicago who has worked with Mayor Rahm Emanuel from time to time over the years (the two are close, by most accounts), entered the Wrigley renovation fray with a couple tweets on Monday and Tuesday about the Rosemont offer and the troubled reno talks:
If I were @Cubs, I'd consider Rosemont's offer. Let's see how much those rooftops are worth when they're looking down on an empty field!
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 19, 2013
I love Wrigley, and hope @Cubs stay. But no team should be held hostage the way the Cubs have to rooftop owners and the ward pols they own.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 19, 2013
- What makes Axelrod’s tweets particularly interesting, aside from his connection to Emanuel, is that the “ward pols” to which he refers is Alderman Tunney, a noted Democrat. It’s believed that one of the reasons Tunney holds so much sway in the renovation talks is because of his political importance Chicago-wide – which is to say, some question whether Emanuel has any interest in crossing Tunney, even at the expense of his Ricketts-paid-for golden goose at Clark and Addison. If Axelrod is openly blasting Tunney, could some of that local political support be crumbling?
- The Chicago Tribune (whose parent company still owns 5% of the Cubs) published an editorial doing its damnedest to make the “threat to move” sound credible. The details of, and support for, its argument are a bit thin, but I applaud the effort. There also is a pretty good line at the close: “It’s foolish to assume the Cubs couldn’t survive outside Wrigleyville. Could Wrigleyville survive without the Cubs?”
- If there’s a rush to solicit offers from suburban locations for a Cubs move, DuPage County wants to make sure it gets a seat at the table. Greg Hinz reports that DuPage County Board President Dan Cronin reached out to the Cubs earlier this week to see if they would seriously consider a move. For now, Ricketts Family spokesman Dennis Culloton had this response for Cronin, per Hinz: “If we don’t have a deal [with Chicago] by April 1, I don’t know what the situation will be. The team’s focus is on reaching an agreement to rebuild Wrigley Field. But I don’t know what will happen after April.” Once again, we see the suggestion that this entire conversation changes if a deal isn’t in place by Opening Day. Tom Ricketts has said it for weeks now, and they’re standing by it. Maybe it’s an artificial deadline, but maybe that doesn’t matter.
- Hinz’s report adds that Ricketts actually met with a DuPage County representative last year about the possibility of a Cubs move, though it was more in the vein of Ricketts being willing to listen to a pitch, rather than any kind of open solicitation.
- Al at BCB takes a look at all of the MLB ballparks built in the latest wave (the last 20ish years), and comes to one pretty clear conclusion: teams are moving toward downtown areas, not away from them. And places like Wrigley Field serve as examples for those teams.
- Dave Wischnowsky also questions the long-term financial wisdom of moving to suburbia, using DePaul basketball’s move to Rosemont in the 1980s as a cautionary tale.
- CSN Chicago has a piece on what gameday would look like if the Cubs moved to Rosemont. It’s both fair and informative, and a pretty useful read for those supporting a move plan.
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