respect wrigleyAs has long been the case with the Wrigley Renovation story, the cause of the holdup that has delayed any kind of formal announcement of a deal depends on whom you ask.

If you ask me, it’s a hugely complicated financial and political transaction, one whose paramaters cannot be dictated by artificial deadlines.

If you ask Danny Ecker at Crain’s, the holdup right now are the conflicting neighborhood interests Alderman Tom Tunney is trying to accommodate. According to Ecker’s sources, there is a constant push and pull on Tunney, from groups that want more parking, to groups that want less parking. From groups that want no outfield signage, to groups that don’t care about signage inside or outside the park. Because all of the pieces of the final agreement with the Cubs must work together, Tunney can’t risk having a critical component of the deal shot down by one sect of his constituency.

If you ask ABC 7’s John Garcia, the only holdup at this point is the rooftop situation. Tunney has already withdrawn his request for a parking garage, according to Garcia, and the dispute about how much outfield signage is too much outfield signage is really the only sticking point. Garcia even notes that the Cubs have already missed deadlines for ordering materials, which could threaten the start date for the project.

Who’s right with respect to the source of the delay? Well, probably all of us.

That’s always been the thing with the efforts to put together a comprehensive agreement that (1) provided the renovations that Wrigley needs, (2) provided the Ricketts Family the revenue opportunities to pay for those renovations, (3) ensured that those revenue opportunities would be available long-term to the Cubs, (4) protected the rooftop views into Wrigley Field to the extent required by a complicated contract with the team, (5) ensured the neighborhood wouldn’t be too adversely affected, (6) ensured the neighborhood would get some benefits, (7) ensured political entities would come out smelling like roses … I could go on.

The point is: it’s complicated. As much as we might want to reduce the story to a neat 400-word piece, that’s never been possible (hence the obsessive, incessant, lengthy coverage here). A myriad of issues have complicated these renovation talks, and we outsiders aren’t really in a great position to know the precise depths of those issues. The best we can do is take it all in, and distill it.

From my seat, it sounds like everyone has agreed that the Cubs will stay at Wrigley, that the Cubs’ preferred funding mechanisms will be available to them (if not to the extent they desire), and that the actual process of getting to the point where folks can sign on a line is going to take some time.

There probably isn’t one singular, absolute reason for the delay in finalizing a deal. The reasons, plural, all relate to, and feed off of, each other. We just need one of the dominoes to fall, and the multiple hold-ups will probably start clearing up.

  • Jim L.

    At this point I will be happy with any deal that doesn’t include an extension of the contract for the roofies. Screw dem guys.

  • forlines

    I agree completely. A bunch of greedy dicks as far as i’m concerned. I know I asked in a previous article, but does the agreement between the rooftop owners and the previous Cubs owners still legally stand?

    • Brett

      Short answer: Because when you buy a business, the contract continues with the entity. Imagine the chaos if every contract was torn up by default upon the change in business ownership.

      I guess the Soriano contract would have been avoided …

      • forlines

        Haha, I get it now. The Sori reference really drove it home.

        Thanks Brett

      • Ryan

        And to further Brett’s point here and one he has made before, the Cubs can walk away from that agreement, go to court or mediation and rework it or pay a settlement fee. Cubs have so many options, and really have all the leverage (and effect and will affect the area long term positively and negatively). I have felt this whole time they are being “too nice” to people who leach off of them. I guess it is a neighborhood thing, maybe they just really want to stay at Wrigley.

  • The Dude Abides

    Wrigley home of the Cubs since 1916, going on 100 years. Maybe Wrigley is the true jinx of the Cubs not all the other stuff we hear about. Are we sure this isn’t some old burial ground or something:)?

  • Kevin

    There is nothing magical about Wrigley Field, just a lot of dried up tears from breaking our hearts way too many times. If you can’t wipe your own ass without Tunneys approval maybe it’s time to get the hell out.

  • cetanyan

    I dont know if either side has had this idea but they could use computer generated ads like on the glass at the Blackhawk games. The Cubs could have them all over the park and the roof tops don’t get blocked.

    • wax_eagle

      This might mess with the contract actually. One of the things thats been mentioned is that part of the contract is prominent shots and mentions of the rooftops in the TV coverage.

  • wvcubsfan

    Any chance the Cubs (Ricketts) are actually the ones delaying things so they have an excuse to finally move?

  • North Side Irish

    Edwin Jackson ‏@EJ36 2m
    1st day I drive I come out of Starbucks to a boot!!! Smh

    Obviously they need to do something about the parking situation around Wrigley…

    • DarthHater

      Translation: “First day I drive, I choose to park illegally and discover that Chicago actually has parking enforcement.”


      • Brett

        To be fair, it’s not always super clear to new folks where and when you can park legally in certain areas.

        • lukers63

          Absolutely! I’ve been to Wrigley a dozen times, but every time I venture somewhere new it is a pain trying to figure out where you can park. With all the traffic, it’s not like you have a lot of time to drive slow and look for parking. Sometimes I just make a guess and hope my car is still there when I get back.

        • CubbiesOHCubbies

          To be fair-er, they usually don’t boot a car for a parking violation. They boot them for MULTIPLE unpaid tickets. Maybe he should use some of that 50-ish million and pay his tickets…..

          • North Side Irish

            To be accurate, yes they do in Wrigleyville. My wife got booted at the Dunkin Donuts on Clark when she parked in the lot and went to put a letter in the mailbox across the street. In most of the city, it does take multiple unpaid tickets, but not around the ballpark. They’re really serious about protecting the parking for businesses in that area.

            • CubbiesOHCubbies

              If true, than I stand corrected. Please disregard my uninformed dribble.

        • DarthHater

          When was I ever fair, Brett? 😉

          • DarthHater

            Also, if you look at the photo, there does appear to be a rather clearly visible yellow line next to the vehicle… 😛

  • Rich

    Why don’t they at least explore other options , not only Rosemont who seems to be offering over 350 mil in incentives !

  • aCubsFan

    Brett you forgot Jay Levine ( reports that the neighborhood says the hotel is 20 feet too tall. And in response to the rooftop complaints the city is trying to dictate the size of signage not only outside Wrigley, but also inside.

  • George Altman

    I feel the parking issue is 50% smoke screen and 50% smell the roses. There’s never been enough parking around Wrigley and a 500 space garage isn’t going to fix that. If you can’t take the L or bus, then go only to night games/weekends and use the remote lots at Lane Tech or arrive 2 hours early and pay $50-75 to park by Taco Bell.

    I’ve heard the rooftop contract contains verbiage saying sightlines are conditional on what the city approves for Cubs ownership. If changes are approved by City Council requested in the renovation, then some rooftops may have to suck it. In any event, Ricketts ownership will never extend this ‘agreement’ so they would be wise to plan now for the inevitable.

    I would already have a design firm coming up with something in the suburbs and I would make sure Tunney/Emanuel knew the clock was ticking.

    If the Cubs (based on the 2013 schedule) played night games every weekday except Opening Day, Labor Day – that would be 50 night games (3 M-Th are getaway days exclueded). Move 13 Friday games to 3:05 starts and the number drops to 37. This assumes playing 13 Saturday games during the day as well as Sunday. Figuring some of the Sunday games would be ESPN night games and half the Friday games/Saturday games would want to be played at night, then 50 night games (plus 6-7 Friday 3:05 starts) would be the minimum acceptable to the Cubs.

    That would be a walk-away issue if I was Ricketts.

    • aCubsFan

      George…if the number of night games was the walk-away issue; why wait until now? Hasn’t Tom Ricketts painted himself into a corner that he can’t get out when he has continuously said that they are staying in Wrigley?

  • Rich

    Please don’t tell me ordering supplies is a problem
    Order them and if they can’t use them in 2014
    Store them until 2015.

    • wvcubsfan

      It could be a huge problem, especially if steel in included in the “supplies”. You just don’t order steel and store it. You have to have the design completed, shop drawings made and approved before the fabricator will even begin the order. Even if you did all of that how much would it cost to store something like that for over a year?

      • Pat

        Yes, you can just order steel and store it. I guarantee they could get whatever they need from Ryerson Steel, Viking, and/or CTI within a couple of weeks.

  • Kevin

    Ricketts is trying to negotiate fair without threatening to move so if he doesn’t get what he wants nobody can say he didn’t try 100% to stay at Wrigley first before looking elsewhere. The Cubs have the most leverage now before investing hundreds of millions, just think what hoops he’d have to fly through to get anything approved later. Chicago is definately a rough arena to negotiate anything without lining the political parties pockets. This is just unbelievable, you can’t make this stuff up.

  •,0,1820894.story Jake

    Sorry if already posted-but this is another potential hurdle to the negotiations.

  • DarthHater

    Imagine how much more refreshing, entertaining, and shorter these negotiations would have been if Mark Cuban were the Cubs’ owner? 😛

    I’m not whining about Ricketts v. Cuban, but it would have been fun to watch Mark and the RTOs go at it…

    • YourResidentJag

      Coming from you, this is shocking! Why? Because I totally agree :)

      • DarthHater


  • Rebuilding

    Yeah, it’s fun to speculate on how this franchise and this issue would be different if Cuban’s bid would have won. Cuban is a successful businessman while Ricketts is the son of one

  • Barroof

    George A, why don’t you park your ass out in Rosemont and wait 100 years for the Cubs to move out there ? THEY ARE NOT LEAVING WRIGLEY !!! Get over it. All you rooftop haters have probably never even been up there. It’s a really fun time. I think it adds to the “Wrigley Experience” and I hope it continues. I really hope they don’t go crazy with advertisement anyway. Money or not it’s very cheesey. If you seen my posts before then you know my feeling about weekday baseball. Nothing better than watching the Cubs in the SUN while others are schlepping away at the office.

    • Blublud

      Judging by your name, BAR ROOF, and by you sorry ass attitude towards the Cubs, I would think you have to be connected to the rooftop. It’s likely the Cubs will not move, but regardless how cheesy the signs are, I hope the put them high enough to block the entire view. Why some one would pay to sit on top of a rickety ass building, completely across the street and outside the stadium to watch a game is completely beyond me. Why any Cubs fan would support them after this mess is even further beyond me. It will happen, but unfortunately, we’ll have to wait 11 years for the Cubs to block them out completely.

    • aCubsFan

      Really? It’s fun up on the rooftops. I think you need to define fun. Does fun mean crappy food? Does fun mean having to watch the game on TVs because you’re so far from the field you can’t see what’s happening? If I have to watch the game on a TV I’d much rather watch it from the comfort of my home.

      While weekday games might be a nice novelty, it’s night games that drive advertising revenue from signage and TV revenue because there are more eyeballs watching the game on TV.

    • MaxM1908

      I have been up to those rooftops, but only because of my work’s annual outing. And every time I attend that outing, I say to myself, “Gal darnit, I wish I were in the Friendly Confines rather than up on this stupid rooftop.” It’s not the same. It never will be. It’s stealing a product, which I could excuse if it were harmless. But now, it’s apparent it’s harmful. I will not spend a cent at any one of those rooftop establishments ever again. And, I will do everything I can to convince my work that the Budweiser patio is a much better alternative.

      I will take pleasure in every bad outcome that comes to the Rooftops over the next 11 years. They’re anti-Cubs, so I’m anti-them.

      • Tom A.

        An intelligent guy ! I wish everyone would boycott them. I am doing the same.

  • Barroof

    Blublud, my seats at the game that I share are 2 rows off the field. Not sure where you sit but when I’m entertaining 15 customers I just can’t get excellent seats so we hit the rooftops. They really enjoy it and so do I.

    • aCubsFan

      I’ve been to the rooftop as part of a ‘corporate event.’ It was the absolute worst experience I’ve had at a baseball game.

    • TWC

      Hey there, Mr Important Guy Who Brags About His Completely Awesome Seats, I’m totally impressed with you. So much so that I worry that anything else you say on here will ding the rep you’ve established. Maybe take it easy for a while so we can all rest easy knowing you’re just incredibly cool, huh?

      • Tommy

        ROFL! That made me spit up.

        Ahoy Paloy!

      • DarthHater

        He has won the lifetime achievement award … twice.
        He has taught old dogs a variety of new tricks.
        He fought the law … and won.
        He lives vicariously through himself

        He is the most interesting blog commenter in the world.

    • aCubsFan

      On that night 90% of the corporate event guests left after the 2nd inning. I left after the 5th because it was so bad.

    • Blublud

      Well, fortunately for you, you don’t have worry about being blocked out then. Any true cubs fan who understands the renovation situation that can still support the rooftop idiots is not a real Cubs fan. In fact, and tbis is not an overstatement this time. I’m going to call any Cubs fan who gives one dime to a rooftop owner from here on out for the next 11 years a stupid ass idiot. Period.

    • Tom A.

      And, do you pack a sandwich to put in your fanny pack ?

    • Tommy

      I hope you’re here to stay, Barroof. I find you very entertaining!

  • Barroof

    TWC. I am now a big fan of yours. Carry on.

    • Blublud

      You can’t be to bright, because if your were, you would under what the word reply meant, instead of starting a new post everytime you feel the need to say something.

      • Blublud


  • Die hard

    Obamas budget proposal could be reason for delay as all of those seated at the table will be a little less rich

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I hope what I hear is wrong, because the Cubs need to move forward on this. But they are not close to a deal, and apparently there is a rift among the Ricketts family trust holders. Some of the family are way past the point of pissed off, have lost any trust in Tunney and the mayor to stick to their word, and are adamant they need to take a new approach. And the media is misconstruing the dog and pony show Tom put on opening day. To say that he guaranteed a commitment to Wrigley is not what his message was meant to be, he meant they are still willing to work on a deal.

    • Die hard

      One of 2 things will be true —- either the 4 headless horsemen will come looking for you or Brett will make you a partner— ought to be interesting

      • Lapdawg

        Here’s something I don’t understand.

        If the Cubs feel that the RTO’s are bad guys taking advantage of their product, then why do they allow them to advertise during their telecasts?

        Seems to me that revoking the ads might be a nice statement of principle, or at least a decent bargaining chip.

        Although maybe the ads are part of the contract.

        • Tom A.

          They have to let them advertise as it’s part of the original agreement.

      • DarthHater

        What in the world are you talking about, man? 😀

    • aCubsFan

      There is always going to be differences of opinion within a management team, but it has long ago been reported that the brothers and sister wanted Tom to take meetings with other cities in an attempt to gain some political leverage. I also have to say listening to Tom speak on show after show on Monday, he did come across as a business owner who was not interested in talking to anyone but Chicago, so in some ways he painted the Cubs into a corner.

      However, I find it amusing and naive on Tunney’s part when he claims the Cubs keep moving the goal post with respect to ‘night events.’ And, it appears city hall and Tunney have Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times in their corner based on the two paragraphs of her article I was able to read.

      This situation is really getting out of hand when someone delivers a goat head to Tom at Wrigley today. You have to wonder if this incident is finally wakes Tom up and he has a change of heart in moving the team.

  • Kevin

    Outside of RTO’s, Can anyone feel good about staying at Wrigley long term?

    • DarthHater

      In the end, it will be worth it.

      • aCubsFan

        Will it really be worth it? There will be a constant battle between the ‘neighborhood’ and the Cubs on everything the Cubs do and don’t do. Just like an dispute with a neighbor there is only so much crap you can put up with before one says ‘screw it’ it’s time to move somewhere else.

  • gilltytoo

    couple of random thoughts based on all the posts ive read:

    while the rooftops are fun, they are not really a tradition of wrigley field. Go back to the 80’s and you will see a couple of local residents sitting in lawn chairs innocently watching the cubs game. They have grown to be a business and one that impedes on the growth of the Chicago Cubs – time for them to be gone.

    What local bars own rooftops too? we should all stop going to their local bars as well as their rooftops.

  • Kevin

    The majority of the posts here are people expressing their displeasure on the negotiations. The Cubs have absolutely no ability to run their business. Brothers and sister Ricketts are done with this BS and will eventually force Tom to cave in and do what’s right for the organization.