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tom ricketts cubsChicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts is getting ready to meet with the media about the deal he, the Chicago Cubs, the City of Chicago, and Alderman Tom Tunney have struck regarding the renovation of Wrigley Field. CSN is streaming the press conference, and I’ll throw up a link as soon as it is available.

For those who can’t watch, I’ll be updating this post live with the important bits and (paraphrased) quotes from the press conference.

Things are scheduled to kick off in about five minutes.

And away we go (all “we’s” and “I’s” are paraphrased statements from Tom Ricketts) …

  • CSN’s streaming link is here.
  • I love watching the last few pre-conference minutes as the media gets settled and chats each other up.
  • Tom Ricketts begins with a joke about the facilities in which the press conference is taking place (the concourse). Better next time, he says.
  • Ricketts reminds everyone that the plan still has to pass through various approvals.
  • Ricketts thanks Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Tunney. He says Tunney will help shepherd this through the Planned Development process.
  • The deal will generate $500 million in private investment, and 1300 permanent jobs.
  • The deal will generate the resources needed to put top level talent on the field on a consistent basis.
  • The players need better facilities.
  • The fans will get bigger concourses, better food, better retail, and more interactive fan experience … but while preserving the best of Wrigley Field.
  • The plan will enhance the qualify of life in the Wrigleyville community.
  • Yowsa: if the plan is approved, Ricketts says the Cubs WILL win the World Series at Wrigley Field.
  • Question about the outfield signs blocking rooftops, and the possibility of lawsuit. Tom: Haven’t spoken with rooftops lately, and we’ll just have to take that issue as it comes.
  • The Cubs’ proposal includes all of the details they want, but Ricketts was a bit cagey about whether the City/Alderman have approved every single particular in the proposal.
  • We’re looking to preserve Wrigley, but we also want to make it more economically efficient so we can put those dollars back to work on the field. It’s a significant amount of dollars, and hopefully they’ll start to roll in within the next couple years, but I’m not sure when which dollars will come in. It absolutely improves Theo’s ability to put dollars on the field in the long-term, and substantially. Some of that will come before the five-year Wrigley plan is finished.
  • A JumboTron is both a financial move and a fan-experience move.
  • The renovations will be done in the offseason, and it’s possible without inconveniencing fans (which I take to be “we’re not playing games elsewhere”).
  • Getting through the Planned Development process is the next few weeks, maybe months.
  • Ricketts asked if a rooftop lawsuit could block the whole project. He doesn’t seem too worried. “We know we have the right to put up signs.”
  • Video boards have grown over the years, and we’ve got the space for a large one. That’s what people want.
  • We’re going to be thoughtful of how the signs are placed, and respective of the people it impacts. We have to get what we need, but we also want to minimize the impact on the rooftop businesses.
  • I assume there will be lots of community meetings and discussions, but the plan we’ve come up with is what I expect to happen.
  • The Planned Development process is already underway.
  • We – the City, the Alderman, and the Cubs – are all together on this plan.
  • Wrigley Field is a special place with a special role in baseball history. Given that, and how important it is to Chicago, it always made the most sense to stay.
  • The key for this offseason is how quickly the process moves forward. To make such a huge financial commitment for this offseason, we need a certain level of certainty.
  • Any signage outside of the stadium – at the hotel, on the open-air plaza – will be tasteful.
  • Q: How close did this come to not happening? (Great question.) Ricketts: I was always optimistic there would be a solution.
  • It’s absolutely untrue that there is any tension between the baseball and business side. The baseball side knows the projections.
  • No discussion with MLB about a special schedule just yet, and we don’t anticipate having to do that. It’s likely to take five sequential offseasons to get things the way the Cubs want.
  • The end. Would have liked to hear more questions about night games (the only one was obscured and kind of blown off) as well as the plans for the plaza outside of Wrigley. But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll now start writing a full, lengthy take on where things stand.
  • #1lahairfan

    Yea!

  • jeff

    Just came across this piece from the 1980’s really interesting

    A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request
    by Steve Goodman (1983)

    A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request
    By the shore’s of old Lake Michigan
    Where the “hawk wind” blows so cold
    An old Cub fan lay dying
    In his midnight hour that tolled
    Round his bed, his friends had all gathered
    They knew his time was short
    And on his head they put this bright blue cap
    From his all-time favorite sport
    He told them, “Its late and its getting dark in here”
    And I know its time to go
    But before I leave the line-up
    Boys, there’s just one thing I’d like to know

    Do they still play the blues in Chicago
    When baseball season rolls around
    When the snow melts away,
    Do the Cubbies still play
    In their ivy-covered burial ground
    When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
    But now they only bring fatigue
    To the home of the brave
    The land of the free
    And the doormat of the National League

    Told his friends “You know the law of averages says:
    Anything will happen that can”
    That’s what it says
    “But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
    Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan”
    The Cubs made me a criminal
    Sent me down a wayward path
    They stole my youth from me
    (that’s the truth)
    I’d forsake my teachers
    To go sit in the bleachers
    In flagrant truancy

    and then one thing led to another
    and soon I’d discovered alcohol, gambling, dope
    football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis
    But what do you expect,
    When you raise up a young boy’s hopes
    And then just crush ‘em like so many paper beer cups.

    Year after year after year
    after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
    ‘Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
    for the pigeons beneath the ‘L’ tracks to eat
    He said, “You know I’ll never see Wrigley Field, anymore before my eternal rest
    So if you have your pencils and your score cards ready,
    and I’ll read you my last request
    He said, “Give me a double header funeral in Wrigley Field
    On some sunny weekend day (no lights)
    Have the organ play the “National Anthem”
    and then a little ‘na, na, na, na, hey hey, hey, Goodbye’
    Make six bullpen pitchers, carry my coffin
    and six ground keepers clear my path
    Have the umpires bark me out at every base
    In all their holy wrath
    Its a beautiful day for a funeral, Hey Ernie lets play two!
    Somebody go get Jack Brickhouse to come back,
    and conduct just one more interview
    Have the Cubbies run right out into the middle of the field,
    Have Keith Moreland drop a routine fly
    Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt
    And I’ll be ready to die

    Build a big fire on home plate out of your Louisville Sluggers baseball bats,
    And toss my coffin in
    Let my ashes blow in a beautiful snow
    From the prevailing 30 mile an hour southwest wind
    When my last remains go flying over the left-field wall
    Will bid the bleacher bums ad?eu
    And I will come to my final resting place, out on Waveland Avenue

    The dying man’s friends told him to cut it out
    They said stop it that’s an awful shame
    He whispered, “Don’t Cry, we’ll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of Fame
    He said, “I’ve got season’s tickets to watch the Angels now,
    So its just what I’m going to do
    He said, “but you the living, you’re stuck here with the Cubs,
    So its me that feels sorry for you!”

    And he said, “Ahh Play, play that lonesome losers tune,
    That’s the one I like the best”
    And he closed his eyes, and slipped away
    What we got is the Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request
    And here it is

    Do they still play the blues in Chicago
    When baseball season rolls around
    When the snow melts away,
    Do the Cubbies still play
    In their ivy-covered burial ground
    When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
    But now they only bring fatigue
    To the home of the brave
    The land of the free
    And the doormat of the National League

    A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request

    • BT

      You obviously haven’t been a Cubs fan very long. Goodman also wrote/sang Go Cubs Go. There’s a post office named after him on Irving Park.

    • cjdubbya

      I play this on Opening Day every year. Gets my mind in the proper place. May fire it up once again now.

  • Featherstone

    Oh Wow, The way I heard the first question posed about the rooftop owners potential lawsuit was, “Bring it on”

    • ETS

      Agreed.

    • MichiganGoat

      Absolutely, I never thought the rooftops had much of an case. They will be going public with a smear campaign here in a few days and everyone will just ignore it and eventually the rooftops will be bought by Ricketts to expand Wrigley further.

      • ETS

        I wouldn’t say the roof tops do or don’t have much of a case until I see the actual contract (and have brett explain it to me).

        • Cubbie Blues

          Are you saying you can’t understand this sentence?
          “For purposes of paragraph (3), an organization described in paragraph (2) shall be deemed to include an organization described in section 501(c)(4), (5), or (6) which would be described in paragraph (2) if it were an organization described in section 501(c)(3).”
          This is part of the tax code.

          • ETS

            ummmm no; I cannot understand that sentence.

          • Spriggs

            Tax Exempts are fun.

      • Tom A.

        Thanks for this post MichiganGoat. I now decided my reaction to the bar and rooftop owners.

        If they play nice, I will spend money again in their establishments. If the bar and rooftop owners start a negative campaign against the Cubs, I will not spend money in their establishments. In that case, I also truly hope that all of us Cubs fans unite (as the purchasers of their bar and rooftop products) and cease giving them any more of our money until they place nice.

    • Steve B

      It’s easy to say “bring it on”, but personally I’d prefer they accept defear. Lawsuits are a bad thing and could very well hold things up.

  • Cryinmybluecoolaid

    The delayed audio is making the press conference hard to watch.

  • Ron

    Is there a link to the proposed changes including the jumbo tron?

  • Rizzo44

    World Series 2015!!! When will all the renovations going to be done??

    • DarthHater

      2015? Man, somebody really should dilute that koolaid! :-P

  • Kyle

    ” if the plan is approved, Ricketts says the Cubs WILL win the World Series at Wrigley Field.”

    LOL. Big talk for a man who has improbably seen the Cubs get worse every single year under his watch to date.

    • DarthHater

      Wow. I am one of the people here who has from time to time said, “Kyle is not a troll,” but this one is giving me second thoughts.

      • Kyle

        Meh. Trolling has become such an overused term so as to become meaningless. I’m feeling particularly antagonistic toward ownership and the front office these days. That doesn’t mean I’m posting intentionally to try to get a rise out of other posters, which is what trolling is.

        • DarthHater

          Meh. I’m feeling particularly antagonistic toward pissants who feel compelled to post “big talk” comments on the internet. C’est la vie.

          • Peter

            DarthHater is the king troll, and a loser who spends countless hours on this site. What a loser

            • CubFan Paul

              +1

          • Kyle

            If you ever weren’t feeling that way, I’d be disappointed and confused.

      • Kevin

        +1

      • CubFan Paul

        Payrolls off the top of my head: $144M, $135M, $127M, $115M, $107M, and now an embarrassing $104M

        Kyle has a point re: Big talk for a man who has improbably seen the Cubs get worse every single year under his watch to date

        • hansman1982

          FWIW, Forbes lists player expenses going up each year except for last year, then again, I don’t much trust the Forbes numbers.

          Cots payroll listing:

          ■2013: $106,837,810
          ■2012: $109,316,000
          ■2011: $134,004,000
          ■2010: $144,359,000

          According to Forbes, except for last season, the Cubs have traditionally spent around 60% of their revenue on the players on the field. If you want to gripe about spending money on players, the blame isn’t with Tom.

          • CubFan Paul

            So Forbes is okay for you today Hans? But not when it doesn’t back up your side? You had multiple reasons not to trust the Forbes info last month on revenues and profit, but you refer to it now twice for expenses. Smh.

            • hansman1982

              No, I think the actual numbers are complete garbage and I would love to see all of the data from all of the teams in an excel spreadsheet so I could see if there are any common themes from team to team.

              However, when Forbes says that the Cubs traditionally spend 60% of their revenue (as stated by Forbes), that number is believable. Since I don’t have the actual revenue number from the Cubs and haven’t done the research to compare what Forbes says are the Cubs numbers to what Forbes says are the X team’s numbers, I will go with the underlying numbers.

              Another interesting factor is that the Cubs, for the past 4 seasons, have spent around 85% of the Forbes listed player expendatures on actual payroll as presented by Cots. This would place the “available and possibly-sustainable” payroll in the $125-130M range which I find believable.

              Looking at last season, specifically, if the Cubs left $20M in payroll on the table, that’s Ramirez, a reliever and some cash left over to add on at the deadline.

              With that said, I don’t doubt some bias or that, without proper research, I may have been previously wrong. Shit, I may still be wrong.

              I was for the Forbes numbers before I was against them and now kinda wishy-washy on them. It’s like using WAR. I don’t like the defensive aspect of it, but it’s all I got when I want to talk about wins using pitchers and batters. (I REALLY wish they would create a wOBA for pitchers and a wOBAs (with stolen bases) and then a positional wOBA+ with park factored in).

        • cubbie blue

          Except were not a worse team than last year

          • Kyle

            In the final total? I wouldn’t bet on being worse than last year, but it’s in sight.

            I was simply going by winning percentage.

  • morgan

    sounds good, were in a new age where players want the best, and history doesn’t mean to much

    • hansman1982

      Can the entirety of competition be called a “new age”?

  • chrisfchi

    with a jumbotron to display stats/scores/replay, what use will the old scoreboard have?

    • hansman1982

      The ICubs have a similar setup and Des Moines hasn’t been consumed by a black hole.

      The video board here gives info about the player at bat, replays, etc… but the hand operated scoreboard has the innings, score, hits, errors.

      • chrisfchi

        thats what i assumed, the jumbotron would basically be a giant baseball card in left field

        • Cubbie Blues

          Hopefully without the baseball card stats.

          • hansman1982

            Dont get your hopes too high.

            • Cubbie Blues

              :(

        • CubFan Paul

          Keeping the old scoreboard means a lack of revenue generating power from that spot because of nostalgia

          • Cubbie Blues

            It also means adhering to the historic landmark ordinances.

    • SFToby

      It will be like Mt. Rushmore – nice to look at but nothing more.

  • WI Jeff

    Unfortunately, this event has reached
    the capacity set by the host….. Ugh.. Comcast…. I want in to watch

  • Dynastyin2016

    Brett, when can we expect the ‘Obsessive Rooftop Whining’ post?

  • Kevin

    Is anything the Cubs can do to get rid of the pigeons?

    • Dynastyin2016

      No, but don’t order the Squab from the new concession stand.

    • Cubbie Blues

      If I’m not mistaken, the bird problem usually subsides quite a bit after people start going to the beach. The Ring Billed Gulls are usually the biggest culprits this time of year.

    • cubmig

      ……have the players stop spitting out seeds?

  • Jp3

    Well played Mr Ricketts, way to go out on the limb and say the cubs will win a World Series at wrigley… Spending $500 million on renovations should guarantee we’ll be in wrigley for at least the next 100 years so we’ll have to had won a series by then???? Oh wait…

  • dvs1313

    Okay now the financial part is done. So give us a timeframe on when we can see that top caliber team on the field. You say it will give the money to do that. So building through the draft is just a part. Only pay those guys small money. So a free agent or two should be coming pur way….. But when can we expect to see the rewards never got answered. The odds say the cubs will win a world series at some point. When can we see talent on the field

    • ETS

      Financial part isn’t done until the TV deals get figured out.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Comcast doesn’t expire until 2019 so you be waiting a long time for that to expire. Wgn expires next year but there are hardly any games there any longer.

    The cubs don’t get great ratings any longer any way. The white sox had higher ratings than the cubs last year. The cubs will probably draw about 2.4m this year.the trend is clearly down as the power of losing 100 games takes its effect.

    • hansman1982

      They still carry 40% of the Cubs games.

    • MichiganGoat

      There is also the option for Ricketts to buy out the Comcast contract, he is a part owner of Comcast Cubs Group (not sure what it is called) and it might make sense for him to buy out that contract and allow the bidding on a new all inclusive contract to begin. I’m certain they are already exploring all options.

      • hansman1982

        I’d say they would re-negotiate the Comcast deal to include all Cubs games with the additional 40% getting closer to the market rate until 2019. Or a re-negotiation with Comcast paying more than my previous example, but less than full-price.

        • Kyle

          Why would the non-Ricketts owners of Comcast be interested in such a deal? What’s in it for them?

  • Rich

    and yet the Cubs still outpaced the White Sox by nearly 1 million fans..
    (915K)…I think you still have people attending less events..
    be it baseball, NBA or vacations.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      The cubs have the luxury of wgn fans coming in from all over the country to watch the cubbies. Your right I’m guessing that attendance for baseball will start traing downward. The game is actually going back to the way it was in the sixties. Very little top player movement and attendance trending downward. Weekends will still be selling out but there will be days when the upper deck is closed.

      The point I was really making was that a lucrative tv deal is unlikely. Signing a top free agent is unlikely.

      • MichiganGoat

        Unlikely? A TV deal for a franchise that has such a national presence and now a new, updated ball park will absolutely bring a huge TV deal in line with the Angels and Dodger deals.

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          The national presence is dwindling as wgn telecasts less games. People who live outside of Chicago won’t even get the cubs without subscribing to mlb.tv. The cubs fan base will revert back to Chicago only and let’s face it…the sox had higher ratings than the cubs last year so there’s no huge payoff for either team in this market.

          The bottom line is that within a few years the national presence will be gone. Also the Comcast deal isn’t up until 2019 so why even talk about any tv deal?

          • Cubbie Blues

            To say it will only be people that live in Chicago that watch is a bit far fetched. I live 4-5 hours away and get the CSN feed.

  • cubmig

    ……..JumboTron, JumboTron, JumboTron, JumboTron….what-the-hell is it that fans miss and that a JumboTron fufills? Is it the shit-pot of Ads you miss because of the on-the-field game’s distractions? Is it to be able to see yourself on TV—or the voyeurism–blow-ups will provide? Is it the cheer, boo, make-noise cues you need to authenticate fan-power —-or—do you just distrust the random, self-initiated way of cheering or booing as it is? Or is it all about the money? And if it is……..does that alone guarantee a WS team ? I have my doubts.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Someone needs a hug.

    • MichiganGoat

      I can understand your frustration but if the ad revenue all this will bring, plus the TV money that will come because we have a huge jumbotron = the competitive dollars the Cubs will need compete in the future. The revenue the old Wrigley provided is not enough to keep up with the payroll of the Dodgers, Angels, and the rest of the monster TV deal teams. It might suck but its an inevitable aspect of the modern MLB.

  • Rich

    Got it Willie thanks…

    Cubmig….

    what about kiss cam….? some sort of digital deep dish pizza races between innings…

    and the all important decibel meeter…..get louder…LOUDER!!!!

    awesome!

  • mditka

    what kind of JumboTron can handle somewhere in the range 10 balls hitting it every game during batting practice & the games?

  • EQ76

    so with all this money going to renovation, will that affect the money spent on payroll next year?

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