We’re either about to hear a great deal of positive spin, a great deal of backpedaling, or a great deal of posturing.
Today was the self-imposed deadline for talks between the Chicago Cubs and the City/neighborhood/politicians/rooftops to yield a deal that would allow the Cubs to feel comfortable starting the renovation of Wrigley Field in earnest come October (or November, if you’re the optimistic sort). That deadline – the close of business today (but, I mean, they can keep talking tonight) – has come and passed, and there isn’t currently a deal, according to various reports.
None of the interested parties has yet spoken out, however, except for the Mayor, who didn’t say much.
“I did not set the deadline,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said earlier today, per the Sun-Times. “[The Cubs] did — and they’re a party to the conversations. And I believe when all the parties have something to say, they’ll say it.
“There’s good progress made to both allow the Cub owners to make the investments … that they need to make in their stadium and … also make sure that the community around Wrigley … sees the type of parking and security that they need for games to also enjoy the community …. There will be a time in which the fog will lift in the negotiations and people will see what’s in front of them as a victory.”
If parking and security are the only matters left to be decided – instead of night games, advertisements, a JumboTron, and rooftop issues – then a deal is going to get done. I imagine, however, that the Mayor was just speaking off the cuff. At least his comments did not indicate that there is any concern that a deal won’t get done. Remember: the Mayor has a whole lot of skin in this game, as a $500 million project, privately-funded, is hanging in the balance.
Dennis Culloton – the oft-cited Ricketts Family spokesperson – told the Sun-Times only that the Cubs are still “talking exclusively” with the City of Chicago, but that what happens when the clock strikes midnight can’t be guaranteed.