We’ve reached Wrigley Field Renovation D-Day, once again. To recap: the Chicago Cubs want an agreement with the the City and Neighborhood allowing certain funding items (increased signage, a JumboTron, more night games, more concerts, and street fairs) in place before they’re willing to commit to start renovating Wrigley Field using the Ricketts Family’s own money. The first deadline for such an agreement, set by the Cubs, was last Monday. That deadline came and went without a deal, but the sides agreed they were making sufficient progress that they would keep talking, and set today as a new deadline. Today’s deadline has arrived, so … what’s up?
It looked like a deal was going to be a cinch today, but the threat of a rooftop lawsuit threw a wrench in the works. Will the Cubs/City/Neighborhood still announced a deal today? We’ll see, but the early returns don’t sound good.
Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts talked to Dave Kaplan this morning, and, from the quotes Kaplan has tweeted so far, it certainly doesn’t seem like Ricketts is planning on any announcements today. Ricketts told Kaplan that he is willing to let the City put a prospective deal through the public process, saying, “We want to be at Wrigley, and hopefully it works out.” Ricketts added that, because the Cubs want to stay at Wrigley and are willing to give the City a chance to get a deal done, they aren’t going to explore any suburban options yet.
Kaplan added from his sources that Ricketts is willing to commit fully to staying at Wrigley Field, and letting the process run its course. But no deal is done, Kaplan’s sources say.
It sounds as though Ricketts wants to leave the deal in the City and Neighborhood’s hands to bless and finalize. Why would he do that? Well, maybe (1) he is confident that the deal will include what the Cubs’ want, and (2) he wants the deal to be City’s and Neighborhood’s baby so that the Cubs can avoid any liability it creates with respect to the rooftops. It doesn’t seem like that would threaten the finalization of a deal (indeed, the “public process” of approvals, votes, etc. might be all that remains to be done), but it also doesn’t sound like the finalization is coming quickly.