Another deadline in the Wrigley Renovation has come and gone without a formal agreement between the Chicago Cubs, the City of Chicago, and the Neighborhood in which Wrigley Field sits. Yesterday seemed like the perfect day to announce a deal: it was the home opener at Wrigley, and progress toward a resolution had clearly entered the home stretch.
But, after a round of media appearances that yielding nothing of any particular substance, Tom Ricketts had essentially confirmed that no deal would be coming. After that, he headed to the game, where he sat behind the two men with whom he’s been working so closely to get a deal done, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney. Those two had front row seats, naturally.
So … what now? No one seems to be saying anything certain, and there obviously isn’t the same level of public discord and leverage-grabbing anymore. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?
At bottom, based on the perceived closeness of a deal over the past week – so close, in fact, that multiple reports had the sides reaching a done deal by Monday, which did not occur – and the tenor of Ricketts’ prepared comments yesterday (all positive, no threats, and no time lines), I really do believe that the parameters of an agreement are in place. There are official, “public processes” to go through, and small issues to still hammer out. There may yet be a fight with the rooftops to be had, but it doesn’t seem like that is actually what is now holding up the finalized agreement.
The simplest explanation for yesterday’s failure to announce an agreement: massive deals are super complex, and involve dozens of lawyers poring over hundreds of provisions, all with competing ideas on just how to phrase something to perfectly protect his/her client. That yesterday would have been a nice day to make an announcement is secondary to actually getting the particulars of the deal done. I think the Cubs were hopeful a deal could be announced yesterday because they knew it was, for all intents and purposes, in place. But the realities of actually memorializing something so expansive and far-reaching as this deal live on their own time line. Nobody wants to make a mistake that will rear its head 10 years from now simply because the deal just had to be announced on “Opening Day.”
Now we await the various public processes, it seems.