Theo Epstein Offers Thoughts on the Wrigley Renovation and the Cubs’ Financial Future, Applies Some Pressure

cubs theo epstein uh ohAs the Chicago Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations, in an organization that already has a President of Business Operations, Theo Epstein tends not to say a whole lot about the financial side of the organization or the Wrigley Field renovation. When he does speak on those topics, he usually limits his comments to platitudes like, “it’s my job to use the resources I’m given as best as possible,” and “we all want to see a renovated Wrigley Field, which will help the players and possibly provide more resources.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

So, when Epstein opens up on those subjects, as he did with CSN’s Patrick Mooney, it’s worth highlighting. For everyone.

Epstein described Wrigley Field, the subject of an ongoing fight about renovations and funding, as the “epicenter” of fans’ connection to the Chicago Cubs. He still seems optimistic that a deal will be done, and he underscored just how important it is for things to get moving promptly, while reminding interested parties that the Cubs may ultimately have to consider their options.

“We’re on a relatively short timeline to get things ordered and start that work so we can move into a new clubhouse in 2014,” Epstein said of the renovation. “Our expectation is that’s going to get done. But there are certain things that need to happen, that should happen, so I expect them to happen. But if for some reason they don’t, then we’re going to have to look at every alternative.

“I do think that this is just part of the process. It’s politics and there’s money and influence involved, so there’s going to be a rollercoaster. I think when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a true win-win for all parties and we’ll look back at this as just sort of a crazy way to get to a very good place.”

In case it was was so subtle that you missed it – Theo is the master of artful statements – Epstein just entered the Wrigley renovation leverage war. He would not have addressed this topic off the cuff (that it came in a CSN interview was probably not a coincidence) or without consulting with the business operations folks, and he would not have said any more or less than precisely what he intended to say. In this instance, what he intended to say was, “we need these renovations to start right now so we can improve the team. If they don’t start right now, I’m completely on board with the business guys exploring other options. Get a deal done.”

Theo Epstein – maybe even more as a concept than as a person – carries a great deal of clout. As I said, he speaks infrequently on these topics, so, when he does, important people listen. It makes me a little nervous the Epstein has even had to enter the fray because it suggests that a deal isn’t particularly close, even as the April 1 deadline approaches.

Epstein wasn’t ready to crap on Chicago, though, and continues to be a fan of Wrigley Field.

“It’s a very special place,” Epstein said of Chicago. “The best things about this franchise are the things that no one can ever take away, like the bond between the fans and the team and the multi-generational aspects of that, the connection to Wrigley Field.”

Of course, calling Chicago a special place in the same breath as discussing Wrigley Field has become the natural precursor to cynicism and frustration about the city and neighborhood’s intransigence in helping the Cubs get a renovation deal done.

To that end, Epstein suggested surprise at how relatively unsupported the Cubs are by their community and their city.

“There are going to be some challenges that I didn’t fully anticipate,” he said. “Like our ability to leverage our market size into financial advantages is more difficult that I expected. I thought that would have been something that was easier for us to do – and do now. Instead, it’s something that is out of necessity probably several years away. But given the timeline we’re on, that’s not the worst thing in the world as long as we get there.”

In other words, Epstein was expecting that, because of the Cubs’ large fan base and large market, the organization was going to have a clear financial advantage over its NL Central competitors. He still believes that’s coming, but it won’t be for a few more years (i.e. – post-renovation, and post-new TV deal). And it won’t be without community support on the renovation.

Together with his renovation comments, this is probably as far as Epstein could go without muddying himself. Hopefully the city and the neighborhood are listening now.

Theo Epstein says you’re making it hard for the Cubs to be good. Stop it. *Drops mic.*

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

205 responses to “Theo Epstein Offers Thoughts on the Wrigley Renovation and the Cubs’ Financial Future, Applies Some Pressure”

  1. Kyle

    “For the timeline we’re on.”

    I don’t know if he can telegraph ‘We’re not trying that hard in 2014 either’ any harder than he is at this point.

    Laying the groundwork for the mean rooftop owners to take the blame for his failures, much like the mean owners in Boston forced him to make all those bad decisions in the second half of his tenure.

    1. Patrick W.

      So if I’m reading you correctly, it’s your belief that Theo Epstein is not trying very hard to be good right now, and that’s a very bad thing.

      1. Kyle

        I think he’s trying very hard to be very good at the thing he cares about, and that’s not the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs major-league team.

        1. aCubsFan

          There’s always going to be haters and naysayers — like you.

          1. Kyle

            That’s because it’s often the side that’s correct.

            1. Greenroom

              So, your theory is that Theo hates the Cubs, hence he is trying to sabotage them and their future. And Epstein does not like taking responsibility, hence blaming the owners of Boston for his problems. Last, the Cubs are “crying poor” as the offer to pay for everything, unlike the owner of the Marlins and other sports teams? All of these hypotheses cannot be tested until we have time. But, you of course, already know the outcome. What are the winning numbers for the powerball lotto? I am guessing that is under your expertise as well?

              1. Kyle

                You got a little bit of it right.

                My assertions are as follows:

                1) Epstein was burnt out in Boston from having to push to win every year (this part is his own words), and has always enjoyed building the farm system more than anything else (also his own words). He wanted a job that would let him focus on that side of things, and that’s more important to him than the Cubs themselves.

                2) Nobody likes to take responsibility. We all have little ways we write the stories of our lives in our own heads that exonerate us for failures and heap the praise on ourselves for success. Epstein is no different. There have been an astonishing number of articles leaking out in which reporters who have used Epstein as a source argue that it was pressure from owners that forced Epstein to make a lot of bad decisions in his time winding down with Boston.

                3) The Cubs have tried to use the word “unsustainable” referring to ordinary big-market payrolls (even on the low end, really). It’s just PR spin. I call that “crying poor.” It’s just something sports teams do.

                1. Greenroom

                  Ok, lets pretend you are correct in your statements.

                  1. Theo is only here to win a AAA, AA and various other minor league championships.

                  2.”Astonishing number of articles”…so you must actually have a tally of these number of articles someplace?

                  3. So lets pay a lot of money for players, just b/c we can with the same results.

                  First, it is amazing that you can applaud other teams for building a minor league system that leads to success, but for Theo, it is his only goal.

                  Second, “astonishing number”…if we could actually quantify this, it may have some merit. I have seen an “astonishing” number of articles where Theo has said plain and simple, they were moves that just didn’t work out, or simply, bad decisions. As you suggest, if everyone to some extent, makes mistakes, then why do you hold Theo to a standard you do not hold anyone else to, even yourself?

                  Third, paying for players to win now has been the Cubs way for too long. It has been tested, where is your evidence that it worked? Where is the Cubs world series ring? Where are the multiple National League and division titles.

                  Last, why are you on Bleacher Nation. You and several others, who shall remain nameless, seem to despise the Cubs management and their owners. Yet, you say you love the Cubs. Well the Cubs are Theo and Jed, they are the Ricketts, they are not 2 or 3 separate entities. Additionally, if you have issues with some of their moves, etc, that is understandable. But I have never once in my year or so, coming to Bleacher Nation, post one comment that was supportive. Not of the Cubs, the management, or Brett. I will not speak for Brett or for the others, but if you seem to dislike him and the others who seem to share his enthusiasm, and God forbid, hope, why do you continue to come here? Start your own blog, get tons of followers, then you can have all the power and say on things. If you are so “right” about things, people will follow you and agree whole heartedly with you. Do it, I dare you. By your own admission, since you are always right, who could help themselves but follow you. “resistance would be futile”.

                  I am all for being critical, but at least, once in a blue moon, say one thing that suggests you are a Cubs fan. Or at least get a few hugs so you are not so damn cynical and pessimistic all the time. Its depressing just reading your posts. peace and good luck~

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    Well he did have a blog something like FireTheo.com (I’m serious he really did/does have this blog).

                  2. Mr. Know It All (Kyle)

                    re:

                    1) Good teams build minor league systems while simultaneously winning at the major league level. Good teams don’t pick one or the other, they do both.

                    2) Precisely 42. The only standard I hold Epstein to, ultimately, is the one where his team went 61-101 last year.

                    3) Promising to build from the farm system has been tried this way. Everything Epstein is talking about now was tried by Andy MacPhail before him. Honestly, there must have been a huuuuge influx of Cubs fans around 2006, because so many seem to think that the Cubs have been big-spending rogues for their entire fandom. That was a brief and recent phenomenon.

                    4) I can understand why you might not have seen the supportive posts because they tend to get ignored/buried. If I post “Edwin Jackson was exactly what this organization needed during this offseason,” it doesn’t generate 50 posts of debate like “There’s no reason we should be bringing back Ian Stewart” does.

            2. another JP

              Seems like Mr. Know-It-All has been exposed for the hater he is. Funny how Epstein and the other FO staff have been universally commended by baseball analysts, coaches, etc. for their approach in building the Cubs into a perennial contender while this GM-wanna-be acts like he has the answers. Most of the db’s analysis is based on cherry-picked stats that bolster his lame-ass takes that Cub mgmt. doesn’t know what they’re doing.

              1. Mr. Know It All (Kyle)

                And we have a new posting name.

                1. YourResidentJag

                  I’ve decided to change my name as well. Thank you for the inspiration, Kyle. And you forgot Kyle that:

                  1. Theo doesn’t need to spend money because Cubs fans are completely jaded by so many losing seasons.

                  2. Cubs fans like to say that Theo can do the “same” thing he did it Boston. While the romanticized fiction may seem great on the surface, in actuality it’s incorrect. Theo did what he did in Boston because of the ownership’s commitment to spending money. They really had to though because the only team they needed to “leapfrog” over was the Yankees. The rest of the AL East, outside of a couple of good seasons from the Blue Jays from 2002-2007, was abysmal. The NL Central is not at all constructed like this as of present day. A good majority of the teams (namely 3 out of 4) are doing EXACTLY what Theo is doing.

                  While you may say “YES, GREAT”, remember what this means, a highly competitive division with no-clear cut path to the division title for the Cubs. While this seems exciting, if the Cubs fell short–not so much, especially when it comes after 3 awful seasons. Like Kyle says, Hoyer/Theo are completely underestimating the importance of losses.

                2. another JP

                  Awesome, man. Like Freud said (paraphrasing), “the key to the cure is recognizing the problem”. Now I’m talking about your newly minted moniker, but I imagine you’d try to apply that philosophy to Theo & Jed. Carry on Mr. KIA…

        2. Lou

          AND HE’S RIGHT. Says, the ass according to TWC, Hansman, and well you guess Brett Taylor himself.

          1. TWC

            What the shit are you talking about?

            1. YourResidentJag

              Ok, c’mon really????

          2. Hansman1982

            OMG YOU SAID MY NAME!!!!!!

            MY EXISTENCE IS VALIDATED FOR ANOTHER WEEK!!!!!!

            1. YourResidentJag

              You could stay away from the website for another week. It’s you life’s calling.

              1. Hansman1982

                Is that last sentence supposed to be

                It’s you [that] life is calling.
                It’s [for] you, life is calling.
                It’s you[r] life’s calling.

                1. YourResidentJag

                  Thank you, gatekeeper of Brett’s domain.

          3. MichiganGoat

            Hey how did I get left out of this list???

            1. college_of_coaches

              There was some reference to “principals of fairness.” You’re obviously not one of those guys. -)

              1. MichiganGoat

                Oh well win some lose more

    2. Dale's Ear

      He didn’t telegraph that at all you’re just looking for it in your interpretation. Just like I’m looking for the opposite and interpreted it as “We need the revenue to fully take advantage of our market in our weak division, but as long as we get these things rolling the revenue isn’t that important right now because we wont have to pay our (hopefully) stud prospects big money for another 3-6 years.” See how easy that is?

      1. Kyle

        I don’t see how your interpretation contradicts mine.

        1. Dale's Ear

          Because mine doesn’t say that they wont be competitive in 2014

          1. Kyle

            It doesn’t say they will, either. Both of our interpretations can be simultaneously true.

            1. hansman1982

              “There are going to be some challenges that I didn’t fully anticipate,” he said. “Like our ability to leverage our market size into financial advantages is more difficult that I expected. I thought that would have been something that was easier for us to do – and do now.”

              And I read into this that Forbes estimations of the Cubs revenue situation is wrong.

              What was it that you said about finding whatever you wanted to say whatever you wanted?

              1. Kyle

                That’s a reasonable interpretation. Personally, I don’t trust sports management and ownership when they cry poor. But you are free to believe them.

                1. hansman1982

                  I have never said that the Cubs are a poor/small market team. I do think that Forbes is off by $30-40M, otherwise, the “spending binge” of 2007-2011 was doubly pathetic.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    The Cubs revenue is at least $270M for sure.

                  2. aCubsFan

                    The ‘spending binge’ as you describe it was pathetic. The Tribune Company was doing everything they could to drive up the sale price of the Cubs.

                    I believe most of the educated sports writers in town stated that the ‘binge’ would come back to haunt the new owner, and clearly it is.

                    1. Kyle

                      Ha. “educated sports writers.” That’s cute.

          2. brickhouse

            The prospects won’t be ready in 2014 and if you are not spending money then you will not be competitive in 2014

  2. Indy57

    Glad Theo’s in on it now. Wrigley is a “special” place. But it needs to be “specialler.” It needs to be renovated and it needs a World Championship team to inhabit it soon. If the neighborhood, Ward and City don’t get that and support it, then find a new “specialler” place to dwell in another town where the community gets the “specialness“ of the Cubs.

    1. aCubsFan

      There’s never been ward or city support for the Cubs, but like the mafia they want their juice money.

  3. BPaoni

    Kyle = ignorant troll

    1. DarthHater

      Not true at all. Kyle is a very knowledgeable troll. ;-)

      1. Patrick W.

        I think even troll is harsh.

        1. DarthHater

          Oh, I know. But Kyle has a good sense of humor, so…

          1. Kyle

            I’m a knowledgable, handsome not-troll with a great sense of humor.

            Ladies, sorry, I am married.

            1. DarthHater

              You left out modest.

              1. Cyranojoe

                And troll.

                ;) ?

  4. Rich -

    Do the Cubs need permission or all the materials to improve the clubhouse and give the players a better facility?

    I would think that is a quick trip to Lowes..

    or were they digging deep for the Cubs new locker room and training ?

    thanks

    1. DarthHater

      The clubhouse improvements involve structural changes that appear to be tied to structural changes to the grandstand and those changes undoubtedly require city approval. As I understand it, the city is only willing to approve everything at once or nothing – i.e. they are holding the Cubs’ entire project hostage to try to force an agreement with the rooftops.

      1. aCubsFan

        Not only structural, but plumbing and electrical as well. This requires building permits and inspections during construction. Furthermore, you just can’t go to Lowes or Home Depot or even the metal distributor to buy the structural steel required to rebuild the clubhouse, batting cages and stands. Steel I-beams and other structural steel, doors, lighting fixtures, seats, lockers, carpeting, etc. all take at least 4-12 weeks to produce and ship once the purchase order is submitted.

        Contractors have to be hired, and the project has to be scheduled. Unless the Cubs have all that lined up already, that also takes time to procure.

        1. DarthHater

          Hell, slap a little aluminum siding on that stadium and throw some paint on the interior walls, and yer good to go!

          1. aCubsFan

            Didn’t you know you have to have a permit for that too?

            1. DarthHater

              Dadburn nanny state…

  5. Rich -

    thanks … I was not sure…

    I was thinking that the earlier reno pics were more dramatic then an episode of the property brothers..

    I was hoping that players facilities could be started regardless..as long it was not a structural issue…

    I toured Wrigley, Brewers, Nats and Cards last year..
    and wow do the Cubs need a players facility upgrade…

  6. itzscott

    One thing does not follow the other…..

    The Cubs had been very good and very profitable before management began all these innuendos about their Wrigley plans being fulfilled first.

    Is Theo implying that the Cubs cannot (or will not) field a competitive team until Ricketts gets what he wants???

  7. @murdiddlyurdler

    if cubs fans want to make a point, just boycott the rooftops, boycott the local bars. don’t give anyone money unless you are physically inside wrigley field. then we shall see how quickly the neighborhood is to concede and actually let the cubs operate like, you know, a business.

  8. Jono

    At this point, I’m hoping they move. There are plenty of towns and neighborhoods that would love to hold the Cubs stadium. I’d happily go to Rosemont to catch a cubs game

    1. Jono

      a professional team deserves a professional stadium. If lakeview won’t let them have one, someplace else will.

  9. Mark

    It is ridiculous what the city is trying to do to the Cubs. Right now they are trying their best to squeeze as much juice out of the Cubs as possible when it should be the other way around. A partnership between the city and the Cubs would make the whole thing even better. For example, why not build a parking garage below the field which could be used by the Cubs on games days and concert days but could be used by the neighborhood bars etc the rest of the year with the city getting the lion share of the revenue for non-games activities. This would solve parking for staff, players, season ticket holders etc. It would be a win win for the Cubs and the city. It could be used by the hotel and the roof top owners. It would make the people in the neighborhood happy with less cars on the local streets. They need to think outside the box and work together and stop trying to rip the other side off.

    1. aCubsFan

      A below stadium parking garage is no feasible and will do nothing to reduce the congestion in the neighborhood. And would be an engineering nightmare. You think the neighbors are complaining now? Just wait until the buildings they are in are shaking and crumbling from all the underground tunneling that would have to be done.

  10. Voice of Unreason

    If a deal is not in place by April 1st I can already hear the bleacher chants. Instead of “LEFT FIELD SUCKS!” or “RIGHT FIELD SUCKS!”, it will be ” F&@# THE ROOFTOPS!”. They could really do some damage to their brand if enough Cubs fans carry angst about the rooftops into the regular season. While I don’t condone it, if Cubs fans united and boycotted the Rooftops for June, July and August those owners would be in a lot of trouble.

    1. Andy Robillard

      Interesting take. I wonder what the April 1st “deadline” really represents. It’s arbitrary and it smacks of the little kid threatening his mommy by holding his breath. I hope it works but feel it’ll come and go without any significance.

  11. Kevin

    Will everyone be happy if they decide to stay at Wrigley Field?

  12. DONNIE621

    Working with the politicians and the RTO’s on the surface of things seemed doable… but it is becoming apparent to Cub management that what seemed achievable might not be. As a business the Cubs are at a disadvantage… Rosemont could be a great move. They will be able to construct a top of the line multi-purpose facility have a competitive number of night games and not be shackled by shake down artists and poaching neighbors. If they are not not bound by the 2024 agreement and can move forward, they can have the new facility up and running in a few years. It seems to me that the buzz around the Cub’s management water cooler is getting interesting. I think Cub management is considering next steps. It would be an error for TT, the RTO’s and RE to think this is merely posturing by the Cubs.

  13. BluBlud

    For anyone who thinks moving is not a legitimate threat, you are sadly mistaken. At this point, if I’m Ricketts, the City, the Alderman and the neighborhood would have to convince me not to move. Even if tourist come to see Wrigley, which is probably 5% of the number that people actually think, he’d make that money back and then some just by having the freedom to operate his own ballpark without the leaches, bloodsuckers, and vampires. The Major and the rest of the organized crime family and idiots that run Chicago can laugh it off, but the moment the calender strikes 04/01/2013, the threat is legitimate.

    1. Kyle

      Since you aren’t Ricketts, I’ll continue to believe it’s an idle threat.

      1. BluBlud

        To Ricketts, I don’t think its a threat, I think its actually preferred. I don’t thinks Ricketts wants the dump. I think he would rather move. If he can get all the restrictions lifted, sure he’ll stay, because he can make a ton of money without making a huge change. But if not, I willing to bet that the Cubs will be moving off of the Clark and Addison.

        1. Andy Robillard

          What has Ricketts ever said or done to give you that impression? This is the guy that met and proposed to his wife at Wrigley. He’s the guy that as soon as he bought the team said that Wrigley was special and that his family wanted to enhance that aura.

    2. ChicagoCubsTalk

      I would have to agree with you here. Moving the stadium could bring in more revenue with concerts, events, etc..Just bring the scoreboard and outfield to the new ballpark. On top of that they do not get to play enough night games which has an affect on the players when coming off of road trips.. Its time for change anyway, they cant play at Wrigley forever.

      1. BluBlud

        To two worse things you could bring to the new park would be that God awful scoreboard, and that Ivy covered brickwall. Why would you put a wall up that you players are scared of.

        1. ChicagoCubsTalk

          Only because its tradition..The Ivy wall is the Cubs trademark and it would be hard to let go of for some fans. If they didn’t take it at least put it somewhere in the ball park maybe bullpen wall or outside the stadium.

          1. BluBlud

            I think the Ivy wall is an eye sore, but I’m not really against the Ivy, its the brick wall. I wouldn’t wanna play on a field surrounded by bricks. As for the scoreboard, I say strap a bunch of dynamite to it and blow it up. If people wanna remember tradition, let the fans collect the pieces when they come down to the ground.

            1. ChicagoCubsTalk

              Very true, running into a brick wall doesn’t sound to fun..And about the scoreboard, that is probably the funnest thing someones said about lol..but I like the idea

    3. Edwin

      I know I would take any threat made on 4/1 very seriously.

      1. Andy Robillard

        I’m not arguing with you but why do you feel that way? I think it’s like the Mayan calendar. It’ll come and go and there won’t be a big deal.

  14. MightyBear

    The Indians just released Matt Capps. I think the Cubs should pick him up.

    1. brickhouse

      Wouldn’t you want to know why he was dropped before picking him up ? Maybe he has an injury or just can’t throw strikes or his velocity is way down, etc

  15. Patrick W.

    I think the threat to leave Wrigley gives virtually no leverage to the Cubs. I just don’t think anybody takes it seriously. I also don’t think they should for a variety of reasons.

    I think a better threat would be to say “If we don’t have a deal by April 1, it will set us back so much that we’re going to have to play a season or more in Milwaukee so we can make the structural changes we need to make and that are not inhibited by the landmark status of the stadium.”

    I think the loss of a year or two years or a year plus is a legitimate, leverage inducing threat.

    1. noisesquared

      I like that concept. How many rooftops will survive 2 years without Cubs games?

      I also tend to think the Rosemont offer is the tip of the iceberg. If April 1 hits with no deal with the city, I think offers from the suburbs will start pouring in and turn it into a bidding war. What happens if Arlington Heights or Naperville comes up with a plan that involves not only supplying the land, but paying for a state of the art retractable roof stadium? I still doubt the Cubs go anywhere, but that kind of offer would have to be acknowledged as more than an idle threat.

      1. aCubsFan

        Well I don’t necessarily agreement or disagree with what Patrick W. said. Ricketts is on recording of not wanting to play in Milwaukee but these negotiations have opened up the possibility to it.

        Furthermore, if anyone doesn’t think the Cubs have been approached or received other offers, you’d be silly. Just by the way the Ricketts’ spokesperson answered questions about the Rosemont offer says that they have already started receiving offers. Besides if counties and villages waited until the April 1st deadline to present the Cubs offers it would be too late for them.

    2. BluBlud

      Dude, are you crazy? The Cubs are at a point where moving is almost a necessity. When I think of idle threats being ignored, I remember it ended with 9/11. Completely different subject, but you get the point. Wrigley will not have baseball forever.

      1. Patrick W.

        What point, exactly, am I getting? I don’t seem to get the point about 9/11. I don’t see the relevancy. I’m struggling to see the humanity.

        1. BluBlud

          In other words, you ignore reality and label it as an idle threat, but at some point, it blow up in your face.

          1. Patrick W.

            I think you will look back at this moment sometime in the future and regret the comparison. I hope you will, anyway.

            1. BluBlud

              Why. Cause its 9/11. Hell, it happened and no one can change it. Its a freaking analogy. People are to sensitive. Its like the time Kevin Garnett was called out for making an anology to a playoff game, saying he was ready to go war. He got called out because we were fighting a war. Get over it. If country hadn’t ignored “idle threats” it would have nevr happened.

              1. DarthHater

                I’m not offended by the analogy. It’s just a freakingly moronically lame analogy.

                1. BluBlud

                  I disagree. I think its the perfect analogy.

                  1. college_of_coaches

                    It’s a perfectly cromulent analogy.

                    1. TWC

                      DarthHater needs some embiggening of his list of acceptable analogies.

                  2. DarthHater

                    That’s because you think like a terrorist. ;-)

      2. Kyle

        Awesome.

      3. DarthHater

        “When I think of idle threats being ignored, I remember it ended with 9/11. ”

        g1364247552508759697.jpg

        1. BluBlud

          What’s moronic. Thats a perfect analogy. The USA were told about 9/11 years before it happen and they chose to ignore it because they thought there was no way it would ever happen. Keep ignoring the moving threats, and soon there will be a bunch of empty bars and tall building that aren’t worth crap in Wrigleyville.

          1. DarthHater

            So, because one threat in a totally, completely, and absurdly unrelated area was a serious threat that should not have been ignored, therefore any threat that anybody makes in a totally, completely, and absurdly unrelated area should be taken seriously. Yea, that’s some “perfect” logic you got there.

            1. Chet Masterson

              Bro, I have been saying for a long time now that the world is going to end when the Mayan calendar ends. Choose to ignore me at your own peril.

              1. DarthHater

                Yep. Could be even worse than 9/11. You have all been warned.

            2. BluBlud

              That is not the point. The point is the city, alderman and RTO can laugh off the threat to move and not feel force to make a deal. That’s fine. But when the unexpected happens, they can’t go crying like they blindsided. That’s the point of the analogy. The threat is there, it up to them to take it serious or not.

          2. Patrick W.

            I think (and I’m looking at this as a learning moment) that this is not a question of whether the analogy holds water. I can see that A) Some people made threats and they were ignored and bad things happened = B) Some people are making threats so bad things might be happened if they are ignored. I can see it. But, and here’s the key thing, a perfect analogy would not compare the immediate loss of thousands of lives (and thousands more in the ensuing reaction to a tragic event) to the possibility of a sports team changing the location at which they stage their entertainment events.

            Can you see that it could perhaps appear to the reader that you are minimizing the former or elevating the latter, or both? Perhaps you could have thought of another analogy, like “Nobody thought the Dodgers would leave Brooklyn” or “Nobody thought the Colts would leave Baltimore” or “Nobody thought the Browns would leave Cleveland.”

            1. BluBlud

              Nah. You see, my analogy made people think, and that was point. I guess I look at life different. I see the 9/11 event as just that, an event. No different the any other world event. In life, things happen. No need to tippy toe around them. Not the goods ones or the bad ones.

              1. Hansman1982

                Well then an even better analogy would be that there were warning signs the holocaust would happen. They were ignored. So clearly Ricketts will move from Wrigley.

                It’s not that people are overly sensitive, it’s making a point using about the most dramatic thing you can.

                People aren’t thinking about Ricketts moving from Wrigley, they are thinking about the countless masses who are dead.

                1. BluBlud

                  That was the point. I didn’t say 9/11 happen so Ricketts will move. I use the analogy about ignoring threats that you think aren’t credible. That was point. 9/11 was the aftermath of ignoring the threat, yes. But that wasn’t the point. I apologize to anyone who was offended that they are so sensative.

                2. Drew7

                  The sooner you guys realize Blue Blood is actually Steven A. Smith, the sooner his emphatic and hyperbolic statements will make sense :)

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    WINNER

                  2. BluBlud

                    No I’m not Steven A. Smith. I was actually a Mass Communications major when I started college, but decided to change because I felt like I wouldn’t be allow to be me. Sometimes I may make analogies, or say things that may go a little to far, but thats just who I am. I will tell you, I don’t know how to bite my tongue, and I don’t think anyone should ever bite their tongue.

                    Hyperbole, yes. But the point was not to compare 9/11 to the stadium issues, it was to show how not taking something serious can lead to something catastrophic. While the stadium issues would not be as catastrophic as 9/11, the Cubs leaving Wrigley would still be considered catastrophic. It would change an entire way of life for a lot of people. That was the point. Thats why we use Hyperbole.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Just drop it buddy enjoy the joke and quit trying to explain your hyperbonalogy the horse is already done.

              2. northsiders6

                The analogy that BluBlud has give is not an analogy at all. It is a hyperbole. An exaggeration to prove a point. Now that we know what it is, it actually does a very good job of getting BluBlud’s point across.

                People take things was too literally and pick apart every letter of every word of every sentence. Can’t see the forest for the trees…

          3. Tommy

            perfect analogy. notsamuch.

            Terribad would be a more appropriate descriptor.

        2. Kev

          +1

      4. Chet Masterson

        That’s awesome. I applaud your 9/11 reference. I would also like to say that people who don’t agree with you are Nazis and that those same people are acting just like slave owners.

        1. DarthHater

          Indeed.

        2. Tommy

          “I would also like to say that people who don’t agree with you are Nazis and that those same people are acting just like slave owners.”

          QOTD

          That was awesome. I am a fan of Chet Masterson.

  16. cubchymyst

    On a different note, if everyone in the rotation was Healthy fangraphs think the Cubs put together a rotation that could be top 10 in the league (if they stayed together the whole year). Unfortunately everyone is not healthy but being able to get a top 10 rotation with what the front office spent on pitching this off season is a good sign of things to come.

    1. Edwin

      It’s surprising. I would have thought they would be lower.

      In case anyone is interested, the average WAR for a starting pitching staff was 13.02. The standard deviation was 3.079. The Cubs came in at 14.5, which is .479 SD’s above average. Although it was quick math, so I might be off on that.

    2. gutshot5820

      To think that, it is a good sign of things to come, is exactly the opposite of what I was thinking. Of course, you were able to get a couple decent pitchers at a discount because they were injured. And guess what? They are injured or will probably not perform to their full potential until it doesn’t matter anymore. If we signed Prior, we would probably have been in the top 3, if they were all healthy.

      1. cubchymyst

        Not sure what your getting at, the pitchers we picked up were Baker, Jackson, Feldman and Villanueva. Only Baker was coming off of Tommy Johns of that group. Garza has nothing to due with the added pieces this offseason. The fact the front office thought ahead and grabbed Villanueva and Feldman who could both be swing men along with Wood is a good sign that they are looking at flexible pieces. The team could hopefully adopt better to injuries. I check a second time and it accounts for injuries it only as Baker pitching 87 innings. The bigger problem is the Garza injury but the list only has him pitching 151 innings.

  17. Rich H

    The average National League attendance is 2.6 million. The Cubs last year drew 2.8 million on a 100 loss team. If we have a new stadium built by say 2016 right in the middle of our window everyone is talking about then the with the exact number of seats that Wrigley has in a new complex the Cubs would make the exact same on ticket’s per event than they make now even if the attendance drops more because they are not in Wrigley. That is just bases on taxes without adding the extra revenue streams a new stadium would generate (Luxury Suites and Advertising). So with that in mind you had better think real hard about the Cubs leaving the big city for Rosemont or DePage county because I am sure Ricketts is looking at those same estimates going wow and we were going to drop 500 million on those leaches.

    1. Patrick W.

      A new stadium does not guarantee sufficient attendance over Wrigley. Many new stadiums have gone years with really bad attendance. At Wrigley, you can draw 2.8 million in a 100 loss season specifically because it’s Wrigley Field. You could not draw 2.8 million out to Rosemont during a 100 loss season. You just can’t make up the difference in saved taxes. It’s cheaper to rebuild Wrigley for 50 more years than it is to build a new stadium.

      1. 8800

        Does that not force the Cubs to put a good product on the field in order to ensure attendance does not drop?

        1. Patrick W.

          Yes, exactly it would. Which is why if you were a team owner you would probably prefer option A: I can spend 300-500Million renovating a place that draws a ton of fans regardless of how well I do on the field (but that investment will allow me to also be very competitive) vs. option B: I can spend 800Million building or paying back the build on a new stadium that will force me to spend even MORE money every year in the future in order to attract fans.

      2. aCubsFan

        But Target Field in Minneapolis had over 3 million in the first 2 years it was open.

        1. Timothy Scarbrough

          But what happens now that it isn’t shiny, and their team might actually be worse than the Cubs?

        2. Patrick W.
      3. Rich H

        If you think that the Cubs will draw less than the 2.6 million NL average you are kidding yourself, A new stadium project now would be right at the peak time that the Cubs want their window to be so you are not talking about a 100 loss team anymore.

        Ricketts has already allocated 500 million plus on this renovation and I bet you any plan to move will be with the location picking up a majority of the cost just like Mesa did. So you can’t really bring up 800 million for a new stadium at this point in any argument because we do not know what the deal would be.

        If the Cubs are such a horrible draw on their own how come they are one of the top drawing teams on the road?

  18. 8800

    I am not sure I understand the notion that the Cubs do not have leverage. The threat to move, weather that be an idle threat or not, is still leverage correct? The agreement in place between the rooftops and the Cubs will expire 2024. There is definitely incentive for Tunney and the rooftops to come to a Cub favorable agreement, if for no other reason that the Cubs do not completely block them when the contract does expire. I know this is not the time frame the Cubs are lookig for, but still leverage.

    1. Patrick W.

      The Cubs have leverage, as you describe it secondarily, I just don’t think the threat to move would be taken seriously by anybody.

      1. BluBlud

        I convinced you work for the rooftops. Probably a lawyer or something.

        1. Patrick W.

          I do not work for the rooftops. I work for amazon.com. I am not a lawyer, I’m a college drop-out. I could not care less about the rooftops. I think the Cubs should be allowed to do whatever they see fit to Wrigley Field. I just don’t think anybody on either side of the negotiations takes the idea of leaving Wrigley Field as realistic.

          (The views expressed here are not the views of amazon.com or any of their subsidiaries, and are expressly my own personal opinions)

          1. Hansman1982

            You must work for the rooftop division. The part of amazon that charges people to buy books on Barnesandnoble.com.

        2. Boogens

          “I convinced you work for the rooftops.”

          More hyperbole? At least Patrick has made several valid comments without resorting to sensationalism.

          1. BluBlud

            Who are you again. Do you work for the rooftops also? :) Maybe ya’ll work for the same law firm.

            1. Boogens

              We all can’t be mass communication majors.

              1. BluBlud

                Yeah, its a shame isn’t it. Loosen up dude. It was a joke.

                1. Boogens

                  Whatever. I’m good. You should take your own advice about loosening up. You’re the guy comparing the situation to 9/11 and suggesting that anyone with an opinion that’s not aligned with yours is a lawyer or working for the rooftop owners.

    2. Edwin

      How much leverage the Cubs have is dependent on how credible they are about possibly moving the team. If the chances of the Cubs actually moving are low, then the threat to move doesn’t carry much, if any, leverage. On a basic level, think of Calvin & Hobbs where Calvin runs away from home.

      The Cubs won’t move just for spite; they need an acceptable alternative. That means they need to weigh the Pro’s (better regulations, more ad revenue, more help from city) against the Con’s (risk of lower attendance, risk of damage to brand, lack of good options, having to fund/partially fund a new stadium).

  19. cubfanincardinalland

    Holy crap, and there we have it. An actual representative of the Cubs hierarchy makes a statement, that we either get what we need to rebuild this stadium, or “other alternatives” will be addressed. And who do they roll out to deliver the news, none other than the golden boy himself.
    Mark the date. And please stop with the “how idiotic it is to think the Cubs could move out of Wrigley” mantra. That goes for you mayor, who we can expect to release some snarky response at any moment. And I am sure Tunney will come up with some moronic statement to top himself pronto.
    This is real fellows, and I am really starting to believe that conspiracy theory I heard months ago, that the Ricketts are on a course to dump this park, and build a super stadium on down the road. It is just starting to look like a road map.

  20. Die hard

    Why would Ricketts spend 1/2 billion good money chasing bad money in the form of ancient foundation, 150 yr old rat infested leaky water and sewer pipes, etc??? New Rosemont construction wouldn’t have this problem

  21. Cubswin2015

    Chicago is shake down city. Everyone has to get paid off before anything moves forward. Our city has three times as many alderman as New York City all making well over 100 thousand for a part time job. Then collecting pensions on top of it. I like how the Tunney talks about looking out for his constituents. Never mind the good new job creation and added tourism would do to his neighborhood. The Ricketts said ok here is a plan that benefits everyone us as well as the city. What they should have been doing is passing out little envelopes. Could you imagine if we had gotten the Olympics the whole event would have to be held ohare airport because no one would be able to agree on anything.

  22. medler

    I am still unbelievably shocked if this deal doesn’t get done by April 1st. The Cubs do have “leverage”, but I don’t know if their “leverage” will amount to a hill of beans.

    The fact of the matter is that if that little plot in Rosemont is a dump. Next to the Tri State with the possibility of the planes flying overhead to O’Hare? Yikes. Every time I think about the Cubs’ leverage, I think about that environment and immediately laugh.

    The Cubs are not leaving Wrigley and this deal will be done sometime soon…it’s just too stupid to think otherwise.

    As much as it is great theater to announce that it doesn’t matter where the Cubs play their home baseball games, I am on record for doing away with season tickets if the Cubs leave Wrigley…and I am die hard Cub fan. In fact, I think I’m actually in the majority in respects of dumping my annual subscription to the 100+ rebuild.

    Because I think about that news conference to announce the Cubs moving to Rosemont or…horrors of horrors…DuPage County and I think about the anger that will be presented to everyone involved. Naturally, the roof tops, Tunney, the City Council, the mayor, etc will be implicated. But, when the dust settles on this story and the city allows itself full disclosure of what I assume is the hard line dealings from the Cubs…this will be an angry, ugly breakup and everyone will be on the hook for causing the Cubs to leave Wrigley and Chicago.

    I have skin in this game as STH and I’ve made my feelings known to Tunney, Rahm, City Hall, and the Cubs. I do not want the Cubs to leave Wrigley and my annual membership into Cubdom will cease as I find other ways to spend my money.

    Beyond this…this organization is still a long way from selling out their 2013 home opener. What is the reaction when the owner of a 90-100 game loser decides to pick up and move to the suburbs? Yikes. Right now the fan base is showing unbelievable patience…how much will remain if the Cubs decide to cut ties with their old home and move to the corner of Expressway to International Airport? It won’t be pretty.

  23. NCMoss

    Just out of curiosity, what benefits do the cubs get from the rooftops? I haven’t paid attention to it at all. Which I probably should if I ever do want to comment about the renovation.

    1. Mr. Know It All (Kyle)

      The rooftops pay the Cubs 17% of the revenue they generate.

    2. NCMoss

      The rooftops. Not the renovation. I do pay attention to the renovation. I just don’t care about the rooftops very much.

  24. ETS

    Saw this post a little later and already 150+ comments and obscure and possibly offensive nine eleven analogies…. yup, really nothing more I can add… maybe a hilter/nazi metaphor?

  25. mudge

    Sure has been a long off-season.

  26. MichiganGoat

    Alright to summarize: Kyle questions Theo’s “plan,” Lou is mad, BluBud 9/11 something, to move or not move… ah another day on BN.

    1. YourResidentJag

      I’m mad. Mad I tell. Mad at what…I don’t know? Maybe there’s a method to my madness.

      1. YourResidentJag

        *you*

      2. MichiganGoat

        Well you enjoy that, keep screaming at nothing I know you can go far

        ***that comment was neither supported or encouraged by any blogger***

        1. YourResidentJag

          Really? How do you know?

          1. YourResidentJag

            Granted I need an edit button to revise what I say….Gosh, another thing I don’t get about this blog…no edit button.

          2. MichiganGoat

            Good night Lou enjoy trolling you will now be ignored.

            1. YourResidentJag

              If I had dollar for every time you’ve said that, I’d be a very rich (emphasis on very) man!

              1. Whiteflag

                Meow

                1. YourResidentJag

                  ROOF!

  27. robert w pfauth cedar spring / grand rapids michigan

    stope dealing with the roof top owners lit them have a cubs team play thier its called the peora cubs AAA farm team then move the cubs to rosemont and bild a state of the art stadium like left bos green monster cent yankey stadium , right wriegly the 3 wonders of mbl staidiums and then for all mich cub fans that meens we can see all of the games with out it being blocked out on dish net its over 100 miles win win for th cubs

    1. MichiganGoat

      This poorly written (and likely by a troll) piece really give my town a bad name.

    2. another JP

      stope it robert yur kiling meh.

  28. praying the cubs get ready to win

    I know many of you are friends, but I like coming to this site to hear how we are going to improve the Cubs. Bashing each other is not what this site is about. Lets be positive. That doesn’t mean we have to always agree but we can always agree to disagree, but name calling just wastes many of our times as we join and want to read what’s been written. Please lets not waste time calling people names, it’s not productive.

  29. Kev

    Vibrant comments thread, I must say! It’s like I just got sucked into some sort of temporal vortex reading everything.

  30. Crazyhorse

    I remember a time when the excitment of new a baseball season was the best news, Honestly folks, this is not whats happening in current events. and the blame is on the owner.
    I actually feel sorry for little Theo, he has a good baseball mind when it comes to selecting and developing baseball prospects yet his 25 man roster selections have given the Cubs no hope in the present.
    The Cubs are own by Joe Ricketts and his family may run the Cubs, but Joe Owns the Team. Anybody that argues otherwise is fruitloops
    The Cubs dont pay taxes- one of the few Teams that enjoy those tax breaks on capital gains, Please dont mistake that for money generated and the taxes the fans pay to watch a game. in cook county.

    On the rebuild – When A team signs no quality Free agents over a span of a couple of years that team has no other reason but to rebuild. And little Theo is the best man for that Job, and maybe the only person that is capable of doing so _as sad as it is, And that is the reason for fans discord.

    I personally feel that Theo Epstein is over-hyped but he is not the reason for the Cubs failures. Cubs ownership is the real culprit.

    1. hansman1982

      loops