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respect wrigleyRemember that big, flying dog in ‘The Neverending Story’? I can’t imagine why he’s in my head right now …

  • The City Council met yesterday to discuss a variety of things, which meant that Alderman Tom Tunney was necessarily swarmed by the media as soon as they could get to him. When asked about why the Wrigley deal wasn’t done yet, per CBS Chicago, Tunney said, “The specifics keep changing and the asks keep changing. So how do you pin down what we are agreeing to? When those decisions change all the time those motives change.” The issue that seemed to be informing Tunney’s comment? The Cubs’ request for an increase in allowable night games, and, specifically, how “night games” or “night events” are defined, according to Major League Baseball.
  • The real meat of the night game issue at this point seems to be the Cubs’ request for flexibility. Under their current agreement with the neighborhood, the Cubs are allowed up to 30 night games, with the flexibility to increase that to 33 if MLB requests the switch of any Cubs games from day to night to accommodate national broadcasts. According to a Chicago Tribune report, the City has agreed to increase the Cubs’ allowable number of night games to 40, and allowable night “events” to 44 (to accommodate four concerts).
  • The Cubs are apparently good with that increase, but they want to make sure that the community understands MLB has the right to switch day games to night games, and the Cubs don’t want those switches to count against their allowable total, according to the Tribune. You can understand the Cubs’ perspective: how can they schedule the right number of night games if they’ve got a hard cap from the community, but a necessary flex from MLB? As many as 11 games could be switched to a night game, which means that, without flexibility, the Cubs could schedule with confidence only 29 or 30 night games … the number they’re allowed to schedule now. (Apparently the MLB request for flipping day games to night games hasn’t really come up in recent years, though I also suspect that, because of increased national broadcast rights, MLB is showing far more national games than they have in the past. And, if they’re flipping more games from day to night in general nowadays, and would especially be doing that to the Cubs in season in which the Cubs are good, the Cubs simply want to be able to have more than 40 to 44 night games in season in which they are good.)
  • My guess is that this flexibility issue hadn’t been fully fleshed out with Tunney or the community just yet – there was no reason to go beyond a cursory reminder of the requirement for flexibility until an increase in night games was actually on the table – so there was a natural, human bristling response when folks heard that “40 night games” could actually mean “50 night games” in some seasons. My semi-tongue-in-cheek response to the bristle: in the years that happens, it means the Cubs are actually good. So you’ll probably be in a good mood, neighborhood, and happy to accept the extra night games. I don’t think this is the kind of issue that will derail things. I think it was just a matter of everyone needing to be informed about the trickiness of MLB scheduling.
  • On outfield signage and the JumboTron, the story doesn’t appear to have changed: everyone agrees that a video board is coming in left, and at least one sign is coming in right. But everyone is still discussing just how big, and just what location.
  • Speaking of the JumboTron, Serena Dai and Ted Cox of DNAinfo report that at least one creative idea is being floated to accommodate the kind of video board the Cubs want, while simultaneously doing everything possible not to block rooftop views. The idea – and it’s just an idea – is coming from the Cubs, and would involve bumping the left field wall out eight feet. That would allow for better angles from the rooftops, and slightly reduce any blocking. It would, however, push the sidewalk out into current Waveland Avenue, which would probably have to lose its street parking if it is to remain a two-way street.
  • The Sun-Times sums up the multifarious and conflicting problems facing all sides in reaching a comprehensive agreement, including the obvious ones discussed above, as well as ongoing parking issues and debate over the height of the hotel proposed by the Ricketts Family. An anonymous source underscores the problem for the Cubs, which is that they need very specific plans in place to feel comfortable getting moving on the overall project, while the City is only looking for a broad, high-level agreement to do the renovation.
  • TWC

    “Remember that big, flying dog in ‘The Neverending Story’?”

    *ahem*

    I believe that’s Falcor the Luckdragon, thankyouverymuch.

    • DarthHater

      ubernerd

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    How do potential playoff games factor into the night game limit? Special exception for those?

    • TWC

      For what it’s worth, I really look forward to this being a problem.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I haven’t seen anyone discuss (ha, I wonder why), but, yes, it’s a cinch that those would be a special exception.

  • wvcubsfan

    Just leave already. I was on the fence before when I thought a deal would get done before May. I don’t think they’ll have an agreement before the All Star Break if at all this year.

    I do agree that SOME people come to the games just to go to Wrigley, but I think that number is inflated by many.

    Also, I’m assuming they are going to move the wall 8 feet and not 8 fields.

  • hansman1982

    “… and would involve bumping the left field wall out eight field.”

    Is eight field like Fourth Meal?

    • mjhurdle

      great, now im thinking about Falcor and hungering for a Doritos Loco taco and some nachos.

      • EQ76

        the question is, can Soriano adequately cover that ground? I mean, can he cover the range of a typical eight fielder? should he bring the hop back? What happened to six and seven field? Is six afraid of seven because seven eight nine?

        • I love marmol

          This is funny

      • hansman1982

        How about a giant, baby-snatching eagle swooping in with an American flag in one talon and a delicious crunchy-octagon-thingy in the other.

        MERICA

  • MichiganGoat

    The way this is going I might just cut my own head off (sorry one final joke). In all seriousness this has gotten to the point I don’t know if anything will ever get done this year and we will still be discussing this next year.

    • MightyBear

      Good to see you MG. I was worried about you.

  • Rmoody100

    Beth Murphy was on the score this morning as well in case people missed it. She went on to say the Cubs are in no way required to stay at Wrigley in anyway according to their agreement, which I don’t remember ever being previously stated. Also she continued to admit that the bars and other businesses they own do pay their rent and make next to all their money during baseball season and would be in a good bit of trouble if the Cubs were to leave, although she added at the end that it would be a good thing for their property taxes….
    She did continue to push the idea that they were not the bad guys and blah blah blah and try to compare her business to watching a game at a bar, but neglects to note that watching a game in a bar doesn’t hold up the team from running the business the way they feel fit. Altogether it was a pretty good listen.

    • JulianInTheChi

      My favorite part was when she said it would be “like a retailer without Christmas” in reference to the bar business basically being a dead business if the Cubs left Wrigley Field.

    • aCubsFan

      Yes, that is quite amusing CBS has an article (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/04/11/rooftop-spokesperson-beth-murphy-were-not-stealing-anything/) from today in which she is quoted saying “We’re not stealing their product because we pay them,”.

      Interesting Murphy also said. “I always say everything is for sale,” she said. “You can certainly make an offer for the rooftops.”

  • Jason

    I saw Peter from family guy on Falcor the other day. weird

    • beerhelps

      “yaaaaaaaay!”
      “you’re getting kinda heavy little buddy”
      “yaaaaaaaaay!!”
      “we’re going down”
      “yaaay.”

  • cubfanincardinalland

    The statement from the mayors office sums it all up. “Some of the certainty the Cubs want, we can’t give them.”
    Spend a half a billion dollars, and you expect a plan in place that the city can’t start jerking you all around on. Outrageous.
    I have to laugh when I think of a pro sports team giving free parking and transportation to the game for the fans. If that doesn’t tell you how broke this whole Wrigley business model is, nothing will. Doomed to fail.

    • OCCubFan

      Why wouldn’t the Cubs want to trust a bunch of Chicago politicians not to raise objections later?

    • aCubsFan

      Tunney claims the Cubs are moving the goal post but at the same time the city is unwilling or unable to provide certainty. Sounds like both sides don’t trust each other and that is never a good thing for a negotiation. And, sounds like Chicago politicians at work because they never want to say anything absolute or else they may get voted out of office.

  • Grant

    On the night game issue, perhaps there is room to compromise –

    You said currently the Cubs are allowed 30 scheduled night games with 3 games potentially switched from day to night per MLB request. The Cubs are asking for 40 night games (and per BCB, I think they’re looking to increase the swappable allotment from 3 to 6 games). Assuming that 40 (total, scheduled + swappable) night games is acceptable to both sides (ignoring other night events), why not meet in the middle on the difference of those 6 games, and say that any more than 43 (40 + half the difference) night games in a single season will be subtracted from the 40 night games the Cubs are allowed to schedule the following season, with a hard cap of 6 swappable games per season?

  • DarthHater

    So the current agreement with the neighborhood allows 30 night games with up to 3 MLB flex games. Presumably, if MLB flexes more than 3 games, then the Cubs would have to absorb them into their allocation of 30. Why can’t the new deal similarly incorporate up to 3 flex games? That is, the Cubs would get 40 night games + up to 4 night concerts with up to 3 MLB flex games after which additional flex games would count against the 40. Both sides have already accepted the principle of up to 3 flex games, so they should be able to accept it again. And the city has already agreed in principle to allowing the Cubs an increase of 10 night games and 4 concerts, without regard to any flex game issues. Doesn’t really seem like this should be a hard issue to get beyond, unless one or both parties are not negotiating in good faith.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As I said, I think the number of possible flexing games is increasing at the MLB level thanks to their national deals. I’d have to look into it, but I suspect that’s why the Cubs are now bracing folks for the possibility of needing 11 flexible games, rather than just 3. In other words, the Cubs want more than 43 night games in seasons that they are good.

  • cubzforlife

    In respect to moving the wall, if you go to Google Maps and look at the sidewalk on Waveland it’s about 12′ wide from the wall to the curb. The bleachers already overhang about half the distance from the wall to the street. If they bring the wall out 8 feet you would have a traditional sidewalk of about 5 feet. When they enlarged the bleachers a few years ago they moved the wall out but I can’t remember how far. Seems like alot of money to satisfy the rooftop’s but If this get’s it done thats good.

    • TWC

      A 5′ sidewalk is sufficient for the foot traffic you’d see on a residential/suburban street. It is woefully inadequate for the traffic expected around Wrigley.

      • CubsFanBob

        Dont see why they cant extend the wall and have an arch tunnel people can walk under from the street side.

      • MSG T

        How wide is the stretch on the south side of the field? It can’t be more than 6-8 feet, if that, and it is a significant choke point for foot traffic. Trying to get through there after a game is a pain. I can’t imagine 5 feet on Waveland after a game. I do like the arch idea, though.

  • BluBlud

    Have I commented about I much I hate, and I do mean HATE the rooftop owners. Brett, if I was a rich man, I would pay you 10 times what they pay you just so they couldn’t place ads here.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, off topic. Do you have any tenative game-trips scheduled for the summer. I know your busy with the little guy. How’s he doing by the way?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s doing very well – so far, the adjustment has been smoother than last time around. Knock on wood.

      I’ll be out for the first time May 3 through May 5 (weekend series against the Reds). I’ll be at the games on Friday and Saturday (right field bleachers, natch) for sure, and hanging out after.

      • JulioZuleta

        Nice, are you going to try to make it out to Kane County on any of your trips?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That is the plan, though I won’t be able to do it that May trip. Wanna catch a game?

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, the May trip will be right around finals, so that’s iffy. Who knows though, I might need a break. I’d definitely make the trip out to KC though on another trip. It’s not a bad drive. I haven’t been to KC since the Josh Beckett days.

  • Barroof

    No rant today. I am in a happy place. How’s my boy TWC doing today ?

    • DarthHater

      TWC is currently unavailable. Busy watching The Neverending Story… ;-)

  • Kevin

    There is speculation that the Ricketts’ siblings — Peter, Todd and Laura, who are all on the Cubs’ board of directors — have grown tired of the political hardball that they believe Tunney has been a douche and they are urging big brother to open discussions to see what options are viable for the Cubs to consider before they agree to any deal with the scumbags of Chicago.

  • Ken Reed

    Turn the scoreboard around so it faces the street. Then put the jumbotron in centerfield facing into park. Problem solved.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      You’re obviously an architect.

  • cubsnivy56

    I live in Evansdale, Iowa right next door to Waterloo. The CN railroad has been based in Waterloo for something like a hundred years. My daughter lives two miles away. The CN tracks are between her house and mine. My daughter Amy, who is practically perfect by the way, rants about the inconvenience of trains parked on the tracks blocking her convenient route to my house.

    My brother in law Jeff (also my best friend) works for the CN as a high level Manger in charge of bridges in Iowa and Illinois. My practically perfect daughter often tells Jeff how inconvenient it is for her to go around his trains. Jeff will then ask her when her house was built………yeah you got it, many, many years, several decades after the railroad tracks were there. So you bought a house next to the railroad that has been here for a hundred years and you want to tell us when we can run our trains?

    Does this sound familiar? Now let me make this clear, I associate the bars, the rooftops, the Wrigley neighborhood with my practically perfect daughter. I love them, I want them to be part of the Wrigley experience, which I treasure, But the Cubs should not have to answer to them. No matter how precious she is, and how enjoyable The Wrigley neighborhood is!

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Daughters are actually perfect. You’re lucky your daughter lives right near you.

    You should buy her a little gift and give it o her as a surprise this weekend.

  • cubsnivy56

    Thanks WW, the truth is my daughter is perfect! She is an RN that works Labor and delivery, does amateur photography on the side and is a sweet and wonderful person. The rub, and the family joke is that, because her husband was not my first choice (totally a joke he and I are best friends) she is therefore not perfect!

    I am blessed. My 3 children and 8 grandchildren all live within 12 miles of my home. We are a close family and are all Cubs fans. the 4 youngest grandkids have yet to attend a game at Wrigley, but we will get them there when they are old enough to appreciate it.

    I will take your advice and let her know I think she is perfect with a surprise gift!

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    My daughter is 19 and away at college as a freshman and not having her home is killing me. I have two older sons who have finish school and are fortunately back home here in Chicago but having my daughter in Dallas at school is tough. Fortunately she be home next month.

    Love my boys but its hard to beat the daughter!

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