respect wrigleyLast night’s Lakeview/Wrigleyville community meeting, which included representatives from the Chicago Cubs as well as Alderman Tom Tunney, was largely uneventful. Per reports, folks were asked largely “meh” questions about normal neighborhood issues (well, “normal” for a neighborhood that is home to a major sports team), which is fine. It’s their neighborhood.

But Alderman Tunney addressed the time line for getting a deal approved, and essentially said having a deal in place by April 1 – the date by which the Ricketts Family has said it needs a deal in order to get construction going after the 2013 season – is not going to happen.

From the always-reliable Serena Dai at

An annual neighborhood review of Wrigley Field Tuesday shed little light on potential changes to the ballpark, and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) says he won’t let a deal go through without the community seeing details — meaning a final deal is unlikely to happen by Monday as the Cubs had wished.

“I’m not sure we can all absorb this, certainly not without a very developed community process on the development plans,” Tunney said.

New ideas about hotel development, parking plans and signs won’t roll out until Wednesday’s Community Directed Development Council, a closed-door meeting Tunney holds with the local chambers of commerce, neighborhood representatives and development partners.

And while the Cubs wanted a deal by Monday — when the team opens its season in Pittsburgh — the final agreement will not be made at the Development Council meeting, Tunney said.

The alderman said any plans the team debuts behind closed doors must be presented to Lakeview’s neighborhood groups before Tunney introduced any ordinance changes the Cubs are seeking.

“We want to make sure that our community groups have a voice — not just the Ricketts family and the Cubs and their field,” he said.

My read on that is that the deal couldn’t really be approved until Wednesday at the earliest, anyway, so maybe the Monday deadline was always a bit soft. That said, I have no doubt that the Ricketts Family was quite serious about setting April 1 as the date by which they want to know that a deal is absolutely – pending mere formalities – going to get done.

Oddly, at the meeting, all sides acted as though everything was fine, and negotiations were simply proceeding as planned. That is very difficult to reconcile with the aggressive press release issued by the rooftops just hours before the meeting began. That release suggested that the rooftops were either being cut out of discussions or were simply standing pat on their offer to put advertising on the rooftop buildings. If either of those things is true, it’s hard to understand everyone at this meeting being so blasé. According to Dai, rooftop owner Beth Murphy expressed confidence that a deal would get done, and Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green would say only that the sides are “working around the clock” to get a deal done.

So, what happens now? I think we’re going to find out when Monday comes and goes without a deal in place. All sides will be hounded by the media for statements, and we’re going to hear either that every side is still working on a deal and is confident a deal can get done (which is your signal that a deal is probably essentially done, but for some formalities), or that the Cubs are frustrated and are exploring their options.

If we hear that latter bit, then the conversation about the “threat to move” does change a fair bit. I still suspect actually moving out of Wrigley Field is not financially viable, but after being eminently reasonable for so long through years in this process, the Cubs are going to have to seriously consider alternative strategies.

Maybe the first threat is not moving permanently, but is moving home games to a non-Chicago location like Milwaukee for a couple years while the renovations are done (and the neighborhood suffers). We know the Cubs have seriously explored that option before, and we know that MLB would gladly support anything that gets the renovation done. Part of the reason the Cubs scrapped any plans to play games outside of Wrigley was because they felt it would be unsavory to receive public money and then provide revenue for another city while the renovations are done. Now that public money is off the table, it seems reasonable that the Cubs could bring the “play games elsewhere” back in play.

Are the rooftops, the city, and the neighborhood willing to go Cub-less for a couple seasons? Maybe that’s the best, first, credible threat.

Hopefully we don’t even get that far.

  • Jackson Scofield

    Moving games for a while is a strategy I’m all for. That will show the Alderman and the rooftop owners. Milwaukee or wherever, maybe even testing new markets for the league?

    • hansman1982

      I don’t think they’d go too far away and Milwaukee is about the limits of how far they’d do it. Plus, you’d want an MLB stadium to play games in, which makes “new market testing” nearly impossible.

      Although, I wouldn’t complain if they played a series here in Des Moines (even though tickets would be outrageous).

    • Rich H

      I actually could see them moving to a new market for a couple seasons as the work is getting done. That would probably mean Indy or Memphis as both have been said to be interested in a Major League team. I do not really think that Milwakee is a credible alternative because for one thing the scheduling would be a nightmare and another the Brewers would not want to erode their fan base.

      The question I have is if they are relocation for a season or two would Soldier Field even be in the conversation? Just a thought.

      • Luke

        I can’t see the Cubs moving to Memphis, even temporarily.

        That’s the long time home of the Cardinals AAA team. It would be the most hostile home field environment (for the home time) imaginable.

        • hansman1982

          MLB will NOT allow the Cubs to play in anything that isn’t capable of supporting 35,000+.

          The Cubs won’t want to move too far away from Chicago during the renovation.

          Milwaukee is the most likely landing spot. The scheduling nightmare won’t be that atrocious (you even have 19 games a year that would be easy to schedule).

  • clark addison

    Any talk about the Cubs moving games to the south side?

    • Brett

      The previously kicked-around idea would have had the Cubs playing in Milwaukee.

      • Smitty

        I get the feeling that the Cubs don’t want to do the Southside any favors, like giving them any of the revenue from spending a couple of seasons in their park. Not only would they be helping line the pockets of Reinesdorf, but also helping a team who got tons of financial support from the state/city, while those same entities won’t help them at all.

        I agree that threat # 1 has to be spending a couple of years away from
        Wrigley. That would seriously hurt the rooftops, but the collateral damage would be those other bars that count on the Cubs.

        • Kevin

          The Cell is not owned by the White Sox, they pay rent to the Illinois Sports Authority.

          • BPaoni

            A whopping $1 mil per year, while they city built them that stadium and a sports bar.

  • Colocubfan

    I think it’s high time to work out a possible non-Wrigley Field deal somewhere else, present it to everyone concerned, and tell them it’s either choice A or B. I’m sick of hearing how about a dozen people are stopping the Cubs from playing on equal financial footing with other clubs.

  • http://deleted bubbleshargrave

    with all due respect, i think you’re in the minority on this one brett. from what ive read, most of your faithful commentors would embrace a move from wrigley. i personally feel like expecting a championship to ever happen at wrigley is insane. if you lived in a house where decades of bad things happened, wouldnt you want to leave. the bad things in this case being a serious history of losing in miraculous ways.

    • Brett

      I think you mistake the readership here for the “average Cubs fan.” Folks here are “hardcore Cubs fans,” and they think very differently about the Cubs, about Wrigley, and about embracing a move.

      I would follow the Cubs wherever they go. So would the hardcore fans who comment here.

      But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether the legions of casual fans, corporate fans, and party-going-types would go to Cubs games in a suburb – when the team is terrible – in the same numbers they do so at Wrigley Field. The answer is a pretty clear and obvious “they won’t,” and I’m content to keep arguing that position, whether I’m in the minority or not.

      • NCMoss

        Whooooo! I’m hardcore!!!!

      • David

        No, but the Cubs might still make more money if they’re able to put up all the signs they want, be taxed less, play night games, and have parking to sell even if they draw less in losing years…and in winning years it wouldn’t be close.

        This is, of course, assuming the city/neighborhood stands in the way of them getting those signs and other things they want, which is the only way we’d get to the point of playing in the suburbs anyway.

      • hansman1982

        Eh, I think you are overstating the “Wrigley Factor”.

        From 1946 to today, attendance has tracked contention. I think they may get more of a cushion in down years but if we saw 10 years of 90 loss teams, Wrigley would be a ghost town.

        3-4 years, ya, Wrigley may be able to attract a few more fans.

        • Luke

          This is how I read the numbers as well.

        • Noah

          I think this is a case where you’re looking at too large a sample (rare in baseball). From about 1970 to the mid-1990s, it was considered unsafe by most to live on the North Side of the City west of Sheffield or north of Irving Park. So you just didn’t have the young casual fan living in the area going to Wrigley for a few (or a few dozen) beers. On top of that, prior to 1988 the Cubs played no night games.

          I think your best argument is the 1999-2002 playoff gap, but from 2003 on the Cubs have been among the top draws in baseball. They’ve made the playoffs three of those seasons (’03, ’07, ’08), been decent two other of those seasons (’04, ’09), and been bad the other 5 (,’05, ’06, ’10-’12).

          While I agree if the Cubs continue to be awful you’ll see implications, what is their bottoming out point at Wrigley? If their bottoming out point with an awful team is, say, averaging 30,000 in paid attendance, that’s better than a lot of teams can do when they’re good.

          • hansman1982

            From 1946-1968 attendance was horribly below average. From 1969-1972 it was above average but then declined again. In 1983 it “peaked” at a running total of 8M below average. Only once the Cubs started contending on a semi-regular basis has it come back up.

            I am not saying that Wrigley is NOT a draw, I just think it’s draw is overstated.

      • Noah

        Brett, I’m honestly not even positive how well the Cubs could do long term without Wrigley even if they are good. The proportion of hardcore Cubs to White Sox fans in the area isn’t that different. But if you’re young and live in the city and only mildly care about baseball, odds are you’d want to go to Wrigley instead of the Cell. If you’re hosting an out of town client who is a baseball fan, odds are you’re bringing them to Wrigley instead of the Cell. If you’re a tourist in the summer, you might make special plans to go to a game at Wrigley. Not many people do that for the Cell.

        If the Cubs move to the burbs they open themselves to all of those problems. I feel like I’m saying this every few days now, but last season the White Sox spent the vast majority of the season in first place in their division. They had 10,000 less attendees per game than the Cubs, who were the second worst team in baseball.

        You can say “screw the casual fans”, but they bring a lot of money in.

      • Kerry

        So basically I’m stuck loving a team that will never win because we have to cater to the entertainment value of things other than baseball?!?! Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those other things…. But I prefer winning.

        • Brett

          Ditto. Totally ditto … but the revenue is necessary to help the winning.

      • Jono

        Hard core!!

      • Richdanna


        I like that you make that distinction about “average” fans and “hardcore” fans. That’s something I remark about constantly on other boards (yes,
        I’m sorry. I feel like I’m cheating on BN when I say that…lol).

        Both sets of fans have very different viewpoints on the subject.

      • aCubsFan

        In the debate over moving or staying one thing has been lost — the players. As Soriano stated it should be 51 night games and 30 day games, but that will never happen staying at Wrigley. The community and the alderman will never allow 51 night games plus even more night events like concerts, etc.

        This is a fight that has been going on for decades. First, it was a battle to get lights. (Remember Wrigley had all the light standards but donated the steel for World War II and then didn’t try to install lights for a variety of reasons.) Dallas Green said “if there are no lights in Wrigley Field, there will be no Wrigley Field.”

        Then is was the expansion of night games and the renovation of the bleachers.

        The Cubs actually threatened to move to Comiskey and the suburbs to have lights and play night games under Dallas Green. Many of the reasons for threatening to move now were used back then. See for a great read on the battles between the neighborhood, City and the Cubs.

      • Craig

        I’ve spoke with several casual Cub fans who think the city is crazy with how they are handling this and all agree the Cubs should build a new park in the suburbs

      • Al Spangler

        Listening to WGN, WMVP, ESPN radio and at the water cooler it seems that there must be a lot of “hardcore” fans around. The vast majority say move. Although I agree that the Cubs should be pursuing other options, it is quite suprising how many people have such strong feelings. Move!

        • Brett

          That’s selection bias, though: the types that would be calling in to express views right now are the types that are angry. They’re the ones most likely to be shouting “move.”

  • Poopy McPoopypants

    How about the rooftops just “raise the roof” and make the rooftops higher. It couldn’t be that difficult. Maybe only 15 meet or so? That way their line of sight won’t be disturbed by any new signs.

  • Coldneck

    Ace, I think you’re giving to much credence to the April 1 date. Sure, Ricketts’ said this the deadline, but if talks are progressing I’m sure that we won’t hear a peep on April 1. would imagine the neighborhood is progressing as if the April 1 deadline doesn’t even exist.

    • Coldneck

      Can someone hire a proofreader for Coldneck. Sheesh.

    • Brett

      We’ll hear something, because all of the media will ask. Including me.

      And if their response is dismissive, I addressed that in the post.

  • Willo

    I am a Cub fan, not a Wrigley Field fan. I believe the Cubs can put fans in the stands anywhere. Seems to always be a large number of Cub fans at ball parks on the road. I think it would be great to see the team move to a new stadium. Start a new tradition.

  • aCubsFan

    I would like the see the Cubs on Monday announce that they are looking at a variety of alternative locations (permanent) for the team in the Chicago area. As a secondary option they stay at Wrigley but will move at least one season to Milwaukee for construction.

  • HRSoler

    I say move. I can’t stand the Neighborhood association, the rooftops anymore. If it means moving to win a world series…do it. Don’t get me wrong I love Wrigley and the convenience of living in the city and walking to games, but it is just a building. I would love to see that area flourish without the Cubs. I went to the meeting last night and it was blah, nothing really relevant except neighborhood issues, which is what it is really for, but I did here one lady say we aren’t going to become a Cubs community we are going to stay a neighborhood with a professional baseball team in it. These people bought property in a place where they knew a baseball team was relevant. It isn’t like the stadium was built there 3 years ago. If these people care about quality of living and all that then move the Cubs to Rosemont and see what that area turns into.

    And don’t get me started on all the rooftops and bars in the area making money because of the cubs. Maybe I am wrong but so far I feel like the Cubs are the only ones making compromises and both sides need too for this to work.

    • Jono

      Hear hear! (here here?)

  • PiattCountyGuy

    I continue to be amazed that the rooftop owners and others, like Ald. Tunney, act as if it is THEY that have the leverage here. The Cubs would have no problem in finding a suitable location in the suburbs to relocate to. In fact, if they did it right, their potential revenue could explode. Imagine if you will, Wrigley-World, a full blown amusement-park type area, much like Disney, in which all of the parking is located on the outskirts of the “park” and fans ride a mini version of the “L” into the actual ballpark area, where there is no traffic and ALL of the restaurants and shops around the ball field are owned and ran by the Cubs….talk about revenue potential!

    • Kevin

      Where could this be done? I like the idea!

      • PiattCountyGuy

        Not sure…but, I’m guessing that multiple suburbs would line up to offer it. You would only need 1 or 2 square miles.

  • Luke

    Too bad they won’t move Cub homes games to Soldier.

    That could be entertaining in a number of ways.

    • Brett

      I would definitely go to see that.

      • hansman1982

        Just so long as they do this:


        • DarthHater

          Hmmm. I wonder what the paid attendance was at that game?

          • hansman1982

            From Wikipedia:

            “Each of the three games of the 1959 Series played there drew over 92,706 fans,”

        • Richdanna

          If they use Soldier Field like that, they’d better fire Epstein, re-hire Hendry, and go get that right-handed lineup back…

    • TWC

      Ha: Soldier Field, a stadium with even worse turf than Wrigley after a concert.

  • DONNIE621

    Why would moving be not financially viable? They are talking a half a BILLION dollars to fix up Wrigley… a half a Billion… Yo! And this does not take into account the future cost of dealing with the “Greedy”

    I think it’s not financially viable to stay!

  • DONNIE621

    March 27, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink | Reply
    I continue to be amazed that the rooftop owners and others, like Ald. Tunney, act as if it is THEY that have the leverage here. The Cubs would have no problem in finding a suitable location in the suburbs to relocate to. In fact, if they did it right, their potential revenue could explode. Imagine if you will, Wrigley-World, a full blown amusement-park type area, much like Disney, in which all of the parking is located on the outskirts of the “park” and fans ride a mini version of the “L” into the actual ballpark area, where there is no traffic and ALL of the restaurants and shops around the ball field are owned and ran by the Cubs….talk about revenue potential!

    I like it! This is exactly what they should do… out with the old ( the old park, old thinking, old ways of doing business with the city) and in with the new!

  • DarthHater

    All this crap about “a very developed community process” and making sure that “our community groups have a voice” is just Tunney blowing political smoke out his ass. The real issue is Tunney protecting the rooftops. If you take that issue out of the equation, then providing an appropriate opportunity for community review and community input of development plans would not be a serious obstacle to quick completion of a deal.

    • hansman1982

      You would think, if the community at large, were so against the plans, there may have been some uproar about it at the meeting last night?

      That’s just me thinking, though…

      • DarthHater

        I don’t think it likely that the issue has much to do with a lot of real opposition. Community groups always want notice and an opportunity to be heard before decisions are made on big projects in their neighborhood, without regard to whether there is major opposition. I’m sure the Ricketts are savvy enough to understand that and would not insist on any timelines that are inconsistent with the kind of process that communities (and their local political representatives) always demand. The April 1 “deadline” is not about trying to short-circuit that kind of process. It’s about getting the rooftop/signage issue resolved to a point where the Cubs are comfortable going forward with the rest of the project.

        • hansman1982

          There isn’t always 2 sides to every story/argument. I think it fits here.

  • ChicagoCubsTalk

    You would think the community and the city would both want to lock up this deal as soon as possible. Without the Cubs the communities revenue is gone. I would really like to see some type of movement between these talks soon. If not get them out of there.

  • another JP

    Just read a Trib article on the meeting the association had last night and it’s quite revealing on the contempt the neighbors have for the Cubs. This Peters woman lists her grievances and then says that talking about moving to Rosemont doesn’t help the situation any. Who the hell does she think she is dictating how Ricketts should negotiate? Plus, there’s been no statement confirming ownership’s interest in the land offer in Rosemont. All the complaints about congestion in the neighborhood are laughable given that the stadium has been there for 99 years… it’s not like traffic just arrived when Ricketts bought the team. The Cubs should solve the problem by moving out of Wrigleyville and then the association won’t have to deal with the traffic.

  • cys_av8r

    I never thought I would say this, but I am fine with moving the team out of Wrigleyville and even to the suburbs. Start a new tradition, a winning tradition in an amazing facility that is free from the cesspool that is Chicago politics.

  • Kev

    Call me crazy, but maybe we should try to mobilize some sort of effort to contact the alderman and tell him that he’s a jackass (or do even something more productive)?

    I feel like there are a number of different persuasive strategies that could be used. Ad hominem attacks come to mind, but if we want to sound more legit, maybe we could all just lie and say we’re from Lakeview and that he’s really, really doing a terrible job with the Cubs situation.

    • Edwin

      Way to take the high road.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Meh, it isn’t raining.

  • Troy. michels

    I say build a new stadium outside Chucago city limits because their record stinks at Wrigley . Top players would rather play at a top notch stadium.

  • JT

    Wrigleyville is made up bars, college students and alternative lifestyle people. It was a blast when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s but only for sake of getting drunk and chsing tail. But now I have a profession, family and I’m in my early 40’s so other than the actual stadium the area has nothing to offer for my family and myself besides souvenir shops and McDonalds.
    Wrigley is a decaying dump, jynxed and a logistical nightmare.
    I’ve been to about 80% of the ball parks around the country and can tell you without a doubt the Cubs would not have any problem selling out with a retractable roof stadium like: Miller Park, Chase Field or Minute Maid Park.
    Rosemont already has public transportation(metra & blue-line), highway access, hotels, parking, restaurants and not mention an airport already in place(Google Earth the exact location). Build a few bars around the stadium and all the Cubs fans will come. They do on the road.
    Sell Wrigley to 44th district and rooftop owners.
    They won’t have to worry about signage, traffic, police or parking.

    • Misuser use of Hyperbelanalogy (BluBlud)

      I couldn’t agree more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Coal

    I’m going to study up a bit on your arguments against moving from a financial standpoint. I’m not yet sold. One of the big unknowns is what the pie charts of the revenues and expenses to the club look like (vs. a typical stadium). I suspect that corporate luxury boxes, advertising, and TV deals make up a lot larger share of the revenue than people think (i.e., vs. tickets, concessions, etc.) and that the Cubs stand to make up an awful lot of potential lost ticket sales from that type of stuff in a different location.

    Until I’ve sharpened my pencil, I won’t try to convince you or anyone else. But I actually think that Ricketts is leaving money on the table if he keeps the team in Wrigley (even if his plan is approved) – and that he’s willing to do it (to a point) for nostalgic reasons (and because he’s super rich).

    • Brett

      I’m open to being convinced.

    • Misuser use of Hyperbelanalogy (BluBlud)

      If Ricketts gets what he wants, then there is more money to be made by staying in Wrigley. The problem is, I don’t think the leaches will ever give him what he wants. If he could play all the night games he wanted, put up all the signs he wanted, hold as many street carnivals or whatever you call them as he wanted, and run his business in the manner that he wants, there is no doubt he would benefit by staying in Wrigley. I would say there is about a .00000001-.00000002% chance of him ever getting that, and thats probably on the high side.

    • Jono

      And selling naming rights to the stadium

      • Brett

        Strictly speaking, there are ways to do that at Wrigley.

        • Jono

          If they sold the naming rights to Wrigley, I hope it’s to Hershey’s.

  • Chuck

    I’m from Iowa. I have always been a Cubs fan and I love Wrigley field. At first I was against moving from Wrigley Field. But after more thought, I would love for them to move to a suburb. It would be more conveniant for me to get to a Cubs game and I am sure most people who don’t live in Illinois or Chicago would agree. Therefore I think attendance would be fine. I want to see the Cubs win. Bottom line. It can’t be done with these neighborhood restrictions. I don’t think that the Cubs should cater to them. Looking forward to Kane County playing Cedar Rapids. GO CUBS!!!

  • RichP

    I think there has to be a distinction made between hardcore Cubs fans,and hardcore Wrigley fans. Earlier BN post were kind enough to share statistics of historical Wrigley attendance,so I won’t belabor that point. I would like to add that the deal that the Dodgers signed netting 7 billion in revenue was not 7 billion for attendance,but for broadcast rights. I remember when I was a young man(you know before dirt?)WGN became 1 of the 1st super stations with satellite broadcasts and everything. We all heard Jack Brickhouse talking about receiving notes from fans who watched the game in Belize. In fact the Cubs had a huge fan base all over the Caribbean,Mexico,and other Central American countries. Too much weight is put on the casual Chicago fan. I live in the far Northwest suburbs and I can guarantee that if the Cubs moved anywhere North or West,my attendance to games would increase from 1-2 per year to however many suits my fancy. It takes an 1 to 1 1/2 hour for me to drive to Wrigley. I can usually drive to O’hare from Woodstock in 45 minutes. I work in the north and west burbs a lot. So it would be easy for me to go to a game after work. I never work in Chicago,and have never stop in for a game after work. IFor those of you who are being dragged kicking and screaming from the notion of the Cubs leaving Wrigley. I will tell you the same thing I tell my kids. Change is hard. Sometimes you need a fresh start though,and although at times we fear change,that doesn’t mean change is bad. It’s time for change kids.

    • Tom A.

      Oh gee, I sure hope that you up your games attended by 1 or 2 per year.

      Move from the city and I likely will drop like 80 games a year !

      Before they move, they better survey the actual season ticket buying fans, as we will not move with them.

      • Smacks

        He said his attendance would go from one to two times per year to however many he wanted… not that he’d only go one or two more times.

        But yeah I agree… RichP that may be closer for you, but it’s certainly not closer for me and my attendance would go from 20+ games to no more than 5.

  • Kevin

    It’s certain that the Cubs don’t want politics or neighbors restricting their business.

  • Smacks

    Move out of the old Wrigley and into a new, exact but modernized replica. I am only a 20 minute bus ride from Wrigley, so if they moved to Rosement it would severely decrease the amount of games I would go to, but they need to do what they need to do.

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