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respect wrigleyYesterday’s big reveal of the outfield signage for the Wrigley Field renovation plan (they say “restoration,” but I trade in words, and that isn’t the correct word here, however preferable it may be) was tied to the Chicago Cubs’ formal submission of the full renovation plan (discussed at lennnnngth here) to the Planned Development process. In other words, the plan is now out of the Cubs’ hands and into the public’s. Here we go.

  • There will now be a month of meetings among neighborhood groups, city committees, etc. to discuss and vet the Cubs’ proposal (which, remember, was put together after months and months of negotiation with the Mayor’s Office and Alderman Tom Tunney). The stickiest parts are expected to be the size and location of the JumboTron, the number of night games, and the details of the hotel/plaza area west of the park.
  • After that process, per Crain’s, the Cubs plan to go before the Landmarks Commission to get approval on June 6. At some point in June, the Cubs will go before the City Council license committee to get approval on the night game plan, before going before the Chicago Plan Commission on July 18 and the City Council zoning committee on July 19. If all has gone well to that point, the plan could be up for a full City Council vote in late July.
  • Does that leave enough time to get the renovations underway immediately after the season so that the player facility upgrades – new clubhouse, batting tunnel, health facilities, etc. – can be in place for Opening Day 2014? Well, from the sound of things, yes, but just barely. Each of Theo Epstein and Dale Sveum essentially said that  it depends on how long the approval process takes. Given that it’s up in the air, that means we haven’t already passed the date by which they’ve got to have approvals in place to get things going after the season. And if the above timeline is what the Cubs desire, then that tells me if things proceed according to that timeline, all will be well.
  • During his presentation yesterday on the finalized plans and submission to the Planned Development process, Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts was asked what would happen if someone blocked their effort to put up outfield signs. That’s when his “threat to move” came out, the first time he’s ever publicly said anything about the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field. “I’m not sure how anyone is going to stop any signs in the outfield but if it comes to the point that we don’t have the ability to do what we need to do in the outfield then we are going to have to consider moving. It is as simple as that,” Ricketts said yesterday, per Dave Kaplan. Thereafter, Ricketts made sure to re-emphasize that no one is currently planning on leaving Wrigley, and the focus is still on getting this deal done. He kind of made it seem like he was just saying that if things get shut down, then, well, yeah, the Cubs would have to consider moving at that point, because duh. Ricketts Family Spokesman Dennis Culloton, in comments to the Sun-Times, explained Ricketts’ comments the same way – Ricketts was just saying what everyone is thinking.
  • For his part, Mayor Emanuel was unfazed by the non-threat to move, emphasizing that the big picture stuff the Cubs need (including the outfield signage) has already been agreed to by the city. “There’s now certainty around what they needed: There will be a jumbotron in left field. There will be signage in right field. Things that they think are necessary. There will also be signage in the plaza. That’s why I wanted to do a framework and they wanted to do a framework so a lot of questions were answered prior to that,” Emanuel told the Sun-Times. “They also know from their own business sense how important Wrigley Field is to their business and how important Chicago is to their business. We worked out a number of those issues. So, this is about going forward into the planning process with big questions answered.” In other words, the Mayor ain’t scurred.
  • To my ear, Ricketts’ off-the-cuff response was intended as a dart at the rooftops, as they would be the only ones potentially trying to block the outfield signage. To that end, Ricketts later emphasized that he didn’t think they’d have a legal leg to stand on (which could just be talk, but, hey, he’s seen the contract and we have not). “What we put out there today is kind of a blend of revenue opportunities and being respectful of the rooftops views,” Ricketts told Dave Kaplan in an interview that’s worth checking out. “So we think it’s really a fair compromise. We’ll talk to them in the next few days and there are a lot of things built specifically into the plan to minimize the impact on the views from the rooftops. So we’ll talk to them and try to work it out,” Ricketts said before saying he “absolutely” thought the Cubs would prevail in any lawsuit, and that “we think this [plan] is going to go forward.”
  • Speaking of which, rooftop owner Beth Murphy, per CSN, said that it would be a bad business decision for the Cubs to move, and refused to say that a lawsuit was on the table. There are still things to be discussed, and the sides might yet work something out short of legal intervention.
  • Bruce Miles asked Cubs VP of Communications Julian Green about Ricketts’ “move” comments, and he pretty much confirmed that it was just about the rooftops: “I think [using the word “threat” is] a little bit overstated. Basically what [Ricketts] is saying is if the rooftops want to go as far as to sue to keep us from making this investment and doing an investment we want to make without using tax dollars, if they want to hold that up, what he’s saying is we have to look at other options.” In other words: the Cubs want to place public pressure on the rooftops not to sue.
  • Ricketts said he expects to meet with the rooftop owners about these plans in the next few days. I’m sure it will involve very detailed schematics on the sight lines from the rooftops into the park, after the addition of the JumboTron in left field and the new ad sign in right field. Although I’ve cautioned you repeatedly that lawsuits are unpredictable and no one can say with 100% confidence that a rooftop lawsuit would not derail this process, it is worth pointing out that, in my limited legal experience, the kind of lawsuit that seems to be developing here is a mere suit for breach of contract with the possibility of damages. It’s very hard to see a suit allowing the rooftops to block the renovations, even temporarily (because the rooftops, who have a contract that runs until 2024, can be made whole by paying them monetary damages). But, back to caveating: no one can say for certain. Lawsuits unpredictable. Hopefully things are worked out short of the courts.
  • For whatever it’s worth, Jon Morosi tried to discern how the sight lines from the impacted rooftops would be affected by a scoreboard in left field, and he says it looks like everyone will still be able to see all of the infield and most of the outfield.
  • Theo Epstein on the possibility of moving out of Wrigley Field, per Cubs.com: “Tom [Ricketts] loves Wrigley Field. He doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking about moving, he wakes up thinking about winning here. Winning does come first. We’re all committed to finding a way to make it work so we can win and act like a big market here. I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen. As he indicated today, you have to keep alternatives alive because this has been such a crazy process.”
  • More neighborhood reactions to the plans from the Tribune.
  • The night game thing is going to be tricky: you can understand why the City and neighborhood would like to know the *exact* maximum number of night games in a season, but you can also understand why the Cubs want flexibility (they won’t know in advance of the season how many night games MLB is going to ask them to have for national broadcasts, so the Cubs would have to underschedule night games and risk missing out on a bunch of night games if MLB doesn’t ask them to flip any day games). Green offered to Paul Sullivan a thought on why the City/neighborhood should want that flexibility, too: “We don’t want to be a in a box like that. We’d like to have the flexibility. Why? Because we believe if the Cubs are featured on national TV, it features Lakeview on national TV and the city of Chicago, which helps tourism and showcase the ballpark and the city.” An argument that only a communications/PR guy could come up with … but it’s actually a pretty good one.
  • A random reminder on the night game piece of this timeline stuff: the reason the Cubs need to know about the night game change as soon as possible is because of the impending TV deal negotiations. No, the night games won’t be in place for this season, but the sooner the Cubs know they’ll have X number of night games regularly, they will be in a better negotiating position with respect to their TV rights (which are more valuable for night games than day games). The WGN deal, which includes about half of the Cubs’ games, expires after 2014, and the CSN deal (the other half) expires after 2019. It’s possible, though, that the Cubs might figure a way to renegotiate the whole lot after this season.

Disclosure: Some of the rooftops advertise on Bleacher Nation, but that has not impacted how I’ve covered this ongoing story.

  • BT

    Wittenmeyer pushed out another turd today. Even if you agree with him 100 percent, he continues to write the exact same column on an almost daily basis. He is obsessed with the Cubs debt.

    • CubFan Paul

      “He is obsessed with the Cubs debt”

      Have you seen the shrinking baseball budget (where’s waldo)? We all should be obsessed with the Cubs (*Ricketts Family*) debt.

    • Kramden

      Do you or anyone else here think it’s a bad idea for a Cub reporter to finally hold ownership accountable and point out possible double-speak, inconsistencies and deviations from what was said previously?

      I don’t and have always felt that the “softball” and acquiescent approach by Cub reporters during the Wrigley family and Tribune eras were enabling and part of the reason why losing was accepted and the organization never felt compelled to compete for a championship.

      What Wittenmeyet is doing is a good thing in that he’s trying to keep Ricketts honest and put some pressure on him to actually accomplish the goals which were stated to all of us.

      • BT

        Do you, or anyone else think Wittenmeyer should write the same column every day?

        First of all your “softball” categorization of the Chicago media is laughable on it’s face. There is no softball press for the Cubs. If you think the press was “acquiescent” to Hendry, you simply don’t know what you are talking about. Tell me Paul Sullivan is a shill. Tell me Steve Rosenbloom is a shill. And those were the guys working for the paper that owned the Cubs. Is Barry Rosner soft?

        Secondly, AS I FREAKING SAID IN MY ORIGINAL COMMENT, even what he is saying is completely true (and that’s arguable), saying the same thing over and over again is horsecrap journalism. Just because you agree with it doesn’t change that fact. He didn’t bring a shred of new perspective to his column today, he simply regurgitated the same stuff he has been writing for the last month. If that is what you guys are looking for, you aren’t looking for a beat writer, you are looking a choir preacher.

        • Cubbie Blues

          You could, you know, like, not read it.

          • BT

            “You could, you know, like, not read it.”

            I could, but there is the off chance he is talking about something he hasn’t chewed over repeatedly. He’s the only Cub’s beat reporter in the Sun Times. It’s not like it’s a TV show I know I don’t care for. He is a reporter, theoretically reporting NEWS about the team I follow religiously. The onus really shouldn’t be on me.

        • Boob

          The comical part is Wittenmeyer rehashing a forbes article. He is rather shameless in his attempt to make Tom Ricketts look like a little boy in over his head while trying to run the Cubs.

          I try not to read Wittenmeyer anymore since all he seems to do is pander to the lowest common denominator with his columns.

          • Kyle

            Ricketts is doing a good job of making himself look in over his head running the Cubs.

            • Boob

              Well as I asked before… What would you do differently, Kyle? You certainly can make absolute statements, surely you have plausible logic in which to back them up. I would be interested in what you think they should do to run the team better.

              • Kyle

                That is far too broad of a question to be satisfactorily answered in a singe comment.

                We’ve been having this arguments for three-plus years now. Welcome to the site!

                • hansman1982

                  You mean, I’ve been having a discussion about how you are wrong for three-plus years now?

                  • Kyle

                    I meant I’m consistently amazed at how you’ve been able to take such a beating from the Crushing Fist of Logic for three-plus years and still stay so handsome and affable.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      What are the chances that Kyle is actually Jay Mariotti? Both hate most things in life and like to use their fists to assert power.

                    • DarthHater

                      Funny how you held out for so long from having an avatar and, now that you finally caved to rampant conformism, the crushing fist of logic is suddenly itself a major topic of discussion.

                    • Kyle

                      I wasn’t talking about the avatar. That’s my new nickname for myself.

                    • hansman1982

                      Wrong again…geez, I guess when you are wrong about everything, It’s a Way of Life.

                    • Kyle

                      You don’t think of yourself as handsome and affable? Ouch, right in the feels.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    At least he’s committed.

                    • DarthHater

                      Thank goodness. I’d hate to think he was running around loose.

                  • hansman1982

                    “You don’t think of yourself as handsome and affable? Ouch, right in the feels.”

                    That portion of your comment was negated (not that it isn’t true) by the fact that the first part (crushing, blah blah blah, logic) was wrong.

                    • Kyle

                      Nuh-uh.

                • JulioZuleta

                  Hard to answer a question, but not to run a billion dollar organization. LOGIC.

                  • bbmoney

                    I think the standard reply is, ‘no one said running the cubs would be easy, but that’s why they make the big bucks’.

                    • bbmoney

                      which in reality….isn’t wrong.

                  • Kyle

                    Really, the problem is that the question itself is illogical.

                    The question shouldn’t be “What would you have done?”

                    It should be “What should Ricketts have done?”

                • Boob

                  “That is far too broad of a question to be satisfactorily answered in a singe comment.”

                  Not really. What is Ricketts doing (or not doing) that makes you say he is ‘doing a good job of making himself look in over his head running the Cubs’?

                  • Kyle

                    The cliffnotes version:

                    He was apparently the only buyer willing to take some fairly unfavorable terms from the Tribune, with the other suitors smart enough to back out when they saw the way the deal was being structured.

                    He did so because he had a remarkably and foolishly optimistic set of assumptions about what could be done with the renovations of Wrigley Field. He then proceeded to get completely and utterly pantsed in the renovation negotiations with the city and state, getting talked down from asking for $300m to buying the city several million worth of stuff.

                    Because he no longer had the subsidy he was counting on, he’s chosen to cannibalize his own product in an attempt to keep up with the unfavorable debt service terms he agreed to when buying the team. He’s foolishly gotten himself into a situation where he cuts payroll because revenues are down, which causes the team to be awful, which causes attendance to fall and revenue to go down. He lacked the foresight to invest the money several years ago that would have forestalled that downward spiral.

                    Throughout all this, his primary weapon seems to be battling for public opinion with a series of contradictory and false statements.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    You had to ask him didn’t you Boob?

                    • Boob

                      I did have to ask, and was satisfied with his answer. Mainly because he highlights everything he thinks Ricketts has bungled without offering any viable alternatives.

                      Basically, in Kyle’s mind, nothing in terms of running the Cubs should have changed when Ricketts bought them. He would still like to see the Cubs throw money at over the hill players while gutting their farm system in an effort to ‘win now’.

                      Kyle probably wanted to see Mark Cuban buy the team. What he doesn’t understand though is that Cuban would be looking at doing the exact same thing Ricketts is doing right now.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      See. You already get it.

                    • Kyle

                      See, this is why it was a pointless question that couldn’t be addressed in a single post.

                      Of course I think there were viable alternative. I didn’t lay them out because the post was already many paragraphs long. If I had included them, you would have found something else to pick at.

                      You weren’t curious as to why I think it. You wanted to find an excuse for confirmation bias to kick in and let you dismiss the idea.

                      And please don’t tell me what I “probably” think about anything. You’re going to be shocked at how often you are wrong.

                      Your “Haha, he probably wants to gut the farm system” shtick is a shining example of what a lot of simple-minded Cubs fans are saying these days, but in these parts we tend to think a little deeper regardless of which side of the debate we fall on.

                      The Cubs absolutely needed to build up their farm system under any ownership. Building the farm system and successfully competing at the MLB level are not mutually exclusive. Good organizations don’t choose between the two, they excel at both.

                    • Boob

                      Asking you to validate your statements should not come across as pointless. If you did indeed have viable alternatives, you would have no problem expressing them for debate rather than automatically assuming somebody will ‘find something else to pick at’.

                      Although this one is true:
                      “The Cubs absolutely needed to build up their farm system under any ownership. Building the farm system and successfully competing at the MLB level are not mutually exclusive. Good organizations don’t choose between the two, they excel at both.”

                      The problem with this statement is you are assuming the Cubs are a ‘Good Organization’ when the Ricketts bought them. The Cards and Braves are shining examples of ‘Good’ organizations. The organizational gap between the Cards and Cubs is enormous and will take time to close. Building an organization doesn’t happen overnight.

                    • hansman1982

                      I think part of the problem is that most of us have discussed this at extraordinarly great lengths already.

                      Not that your questions or points aren’t valid, it just gets tiresome typing the same stuff over and over and over and over.

            • BT

              “Ricketts is doing a good job of making himself look in over his head running the Cubs.”

              That’s right Kyle, according to Forbes, whose numbers you seem to care about (I don’t, but that’s beside the point) old dumbass Ricketts has managed to only make a profit of 100 million dollars in the last 3 years in a down economy that cratered moments after he made the deal, with his investment in the Cubs, with no renovations, and no new cable deal. How much did you make in those 3 years? Because I’d like to be that far over my head.

              • Kyle

                Operating profit isn’t actual profit.

                • BT

                  Forbes valuation definition is what the team would sell for on the open market right now. He bought for under 900 million, they are now valued (by Forbes) at 1 billion. That’s an increase in value of over 100 million. It’s not in his pocket, but the same report that you like to quote so much does say that the team is the most profitable in the major leagues, so again, how does this show he is in over his head?

                  • Northside Neuman

                    Actually BT, Forbes valued the team at $700 million in 2009 when they closed the purchase and the 20% CSN Chicago ownership stake at $145 million. The team is valued at $1 billion not including CSN Chicago so the Ricketts have seen a $300 million increase on paper according to Forbes for the team.

                    • banks14

                      This is why I am very uncomfortable with Ricketts. He has made a substantial sum just sitting on the Cubs for four years. Yet, Cubs revenue is being used to pay off the debt which is a Ricketts expense, redounding only to his advantage, not a Cubs expense redounding to an ultimately better product on the field.

                      I don’t have it in me to boycott the Cubs — the notion of “the Cubs” that I love isn’t defined by the owners any more than it is a particular player, manager, or FO member — but it really does break my heart.

            • B Robs

              Big talk from a guy who apparently never fathomed that yesterday’s comments by Ricketts were intended to put public pressure on the rooftops to stay out of the way, as Brett pointed out. I guess it’s easier to just mindlessly pound away in support of your agenda without considering other possibilities.

              • Kyle

                Yeah, believe it or not, I got that. It was ham-handed and a little embarrassing, as well as completely pointless. But I got that’s what he was going for.

  • Spriggs

    Just based on how things have progressed to date, I can’t image much work getting done before the start of the 2014 season.

  • Moe

    Once again we continue to talk about ricketts the city of chicago and wrigley field, thats all fine and dandy but why hasnt he addressed the issue of how terrible our odfense is. The starters are doing marevlous if we had a decent offense we may be in first place(i know its shocking but its true) our bullpen needs to be addressed cuz we cant just give james russell the ball everytime. And lord help me but Kevin Gregg actually looks pretty amazing.

    • Spriggs

      They replaced the odfense with bricks and ivy a long time ago.

      • Moe

        Offense. Sorry. But its true he is focused on adding things to Wrigley Field except a damn team.

        • Jay

          You do understand that last year, this year, and next year are all about treading water, stocking the farm, and getting these numbnut city people to get out of the way? If not– you haven’t been paying attention. You’re not going to see any offense on that field until the new TV deal gets hammered out after next year and more advertising revenue is generated. (That and Ricketts figuring out how to dig himself out of the hole of debt he created for himself by buying the team) Theo and Tom have both been very transparent on all of this. This strategy for long term success was going to involve looking bad at the major league level for a few years. That’s what all this jumbotron and sign crap is about—generating more revenue. The sooner the mayor gets Tunney and his rooftop cronies in line, the sooner you’ll see a decent team on the field.

          • Kyle

            Understanding it and thinking it’s a bad strategy are not mutually exclusive.

            • Boob

              What would you do, Kyle? Overpay for a few guys on the wrong side of 30?

              • CubFan Paul

                What a boob thing to say.

              • Kyle

                Yes. Also, I’d have our top prospects lined up, single-file, and executed with a single bullet. Because that’s what Jim Hendry would do.

                (have I used that line before? I feel like I have…)

          • Moe

            Stocking up the minors is all good but we are passing on top tier players cuz of what we think will be the future, but theres no guarantee so why put all your eggs in that basket. Cough cough corey patterson Eric patterson josh vitters brett jackson felix pie an . The list goes on out of 20 prospects maybe one or two might make it. Hopefully soler, almora, baez, will be great but who knows. Theres no way we could wait 3 years of 100 plus losing seasons and if ricketts thinks he will survive that he is mistaken cuz attendance is way down and only reason its not worse is cuz stubhub tickets go for 5bucks. Yet cubs ticket prices are going up which is nuts.

      • scorecardpaul

        nicely done here!! They used to just have a rope for the outfield line. Maybee we could go back to that. I can only imagine how close that rope would get when we batted, and how far back it got pushed for the other team.

  • Voice of Reason

    The Yankees are looking for a right handed stick with the injury to Kevin Youkiilis.

    I sure do wish that Soriano would wave that no trade clause………

    • Cyranojoe

      Nobody will trade anything for Sori until he gets hot again.

  • hansman1982

    “In other words: the Cubs want to place [strong]public pressure[/strong] on the rooftops not to sue.”

    It worked with the lights, hopefully it works now.

    • pete

      I know it is a bit scorched-earth but what Ricketts should do with the rooftops is to show them a proposed Cross Claim (reflecting and responding to any suit the rooftops may possibly file) alleging tortious interference, abuse of process and any other commercial cause of action that they can come up with, and then pray for damages including punitives and attorney’s fees. And promise the rooftops that the Cubs will bury them with pleadings should suit ever be filed.

      Whatever their contractual relationship with the Cubs is, I cannot see how the rooftops have any leverage. The Cubs can contract with whomever they want to improve Wrigley however they if they have the City’s OK. I cannot see the rooftops as intended (i.e., legal) third-party beneficiaries. That would be akin to calling scalpers third-party beneficiaries.

  • Drew

    There is nothing from stopping the Rooftops from “Raising the Roof” by doing their own “restorations”, is there?

    Could they not teardown the 3-5 story buildings and put up a 5-8 story building that would maintain the feel of Wrigley-ville and allow them to see into the ballpark from a higher perspective, over the new signage.

    • Dan

      Good point I think. What stops them from putting their money where their mouth is?

    • Cubbie Blues

      Zoning limits the heights for the buildings.

      • Dan

        That makes sense but couldn’t that be negotiated as well? The city might allow it if they agree to the plan that’s being put in place?

      • Drew

        Per yesterday’s press conference: “The 175-room hotel, health club, dining and retail development Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has proposed building at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets. The 91-foot tall structure would have seven floors with advertisements appearing on the orange panels near the top of the building and the blue “blade signs” on the front and sides of the building.”

        So, it would appear Zoning in that area allows for buidlings of 91 feet and 7 floors. Pony Up, Raise Your Roof (tops) and Invest in the NEW WRIGLEYVILLE!

      • Tom A.

        Zoning — ! Ha !!! Drunks on roofs got by this city’s zoning rules. If you payoff the right people, those buildings could be made into 50 story high-rise buildings. Rooftop and bars are mad because their bribes either did not fully work or they need to make more bribe payments.

        Logically, there never should have been people sitting on rooftop bleachers re-selling another party’s (Cubs) product.

        This is just crooks and politics.

  • Boob

    I agree with one thing Mike Mulligan said, that if the Cubs were to move it would be bad for everybody involved in this whole process. Bad for the Cubs, the neighborhood, the rooftop owners, the city. Bad for EVERYBODY! The Cubs will eventually recover (but would have to put a winner on the field and contend every year). The city would lose out on the 12% amusement tax, neighborhood bars and business would lose revenue from 6 months of a baseball season.

    Rickets, the city, the neighborhood have worked tirelessly together to get this deal ironed out and don’t want rooftop owners holding up the process. I don’t blame them for putting the onus on Beth Murphy and these rooftop owners to quit being so short sighted and consider the needs of all of the parties involved and not just theirs. The renovation will only help the local businesses grow, improve the Cubs revenue streams, but all Murphy and her band of buffoons care about is their views from the rooftops.

  • medler312

    This…

    ” It’s very hard to see a suit allowing the rooftops to block the renovations, even temporarily (because the rooftops, who have a contract that runs until 2024, can be made whole by paying them monetary damages). But, back to caveating: no one can say for certain. Lawsuits unpredictable. Hopefully things are worked out short of the courts.”

    And…what Boob said was magnificent.

    Justifying again that a Boob is one of the greatest things ever!

  • Kenster

    Brett can you clarify this.. I could have thought that a couple weeks ago they came to an agreement already? was that just an agreement to funding and allowing for renovation and not to what they are actually able to renovate and change?? please and thank you. I thought all of this we will move idea was done

    • medler312

      Kenster…

      The deal was “formally” presented to City Counsel Wednesday. Afterwards, Rickett’s spoke at the City Club of Chicago (I think the group meets monthly at Maggiano’s and invite a presenter to discuss everything from current affairs, Chicago stuff, culture, politics, etc…have a nice 2 martini lunch…if you haven’t had the chance, it’s a pretty cool event).

      At the City Club, Rickett’s presented the plan, but the City Club has an open question/answer session where members ask a series of questions. It’s typically good form to be straight forward in the responses (the martinis probably help). It’s a fairly honest dialogue.

      Now the dates that Brett put up there are the “next steps”. Remember though…Rahm has a bigger pass rate with the City Counsel than Daley (which is crazy because Daley got everything nut job idea passed).

      This is a non-story and a way to ruffle the rooftop crowd.

  • Noah

    It would be very hard for the rooftop owners to file a complaint at this time. Their case won’t be ripe until the rooftops have actually suffered damages (alleging damages is a necessary element for a breach of contract action). Let’s say a rooftop or two (or 5 or 10) have their view partially blocked. Well, they have two options: they continue to try to sell tickets, or they don’t.

    If they continue to try to sell tickets, they’d have to show that they had less revenue than they would have but for the breach. But what if, as some have surmised, people don’t actually go to the rooftops to watch the game but instead to party? And their revenues don’t drop? Or what if the Cubs continue to be bad and all the rooftops see a decline, along with Cubs ticket sales? Or what if all the rooftops’ sales decline independent of whether the Cubs are bad or not because Cubs fans decide they are fed up with the rooftops and don’t want to give them business? In any of those cases, it would be very difficult for the affected rooftop owners to show they suffered any damages because of the breach.

    And if they just shut down, they’re in even more trouble.

    This would not be a slam dunk case for the rooftops, even if they could prove a breach. With that said, it’s hard to prove there were no damages in a motion to dismiss, so the rooftops could eventually attempt to put the Cubs through an annoying discovery process to try and get some millions in a settlement.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Feels like anticipatory repudiation comes into play somewhere here, but it’s been a few years for me …

    • DarthHater

      The law would not require the RTOs to wait until a scoreboard was actually built before bringing a suit. I would think it would be enough to seek a declaratory judgment if the Cubs are seeking approval of a plan for a scoreboard with dimensions and location that, if built, would block some portion of the rooftop view.

      • Noah

        It’s really, really hard to get a declaratory judgment, unless the contract builds that in.

    • pete

      Agreed. And if the contract between them and the Cubs does not restrict the Cubs’ ability to renovate (I have literally no idea but I presume there is express language in the contract allowing the Cubs to renovate), is there even technically a breach and then the rooftops’ problem becomes how to sue. I presumed a third-party benficiary argument but there is also tort.

      I presume the contract between the Cubs and rooftops has a prevailing party/attorney fees clause. That’s a danger to keep in mind for both sides.

      The discovery process could be annoying but I presume the Court would stay it until all motions to dismiss are ruled on.

  • Kevin

    Maybe the Cubs don’t spend a dime until they know for certain the rooftop owners will not sue. If this is clearly a concern then maybe the contract is worded stronger than most of us originally thought.

  • Kevin

    You can probably cross out Arlington Racetrack as a moving option for the Cubs now that casinos may be allowed at the racetrack in the future.

  • Kevin

    Why is Crane Kenney still employed with the Cubs? Afterall, he was the one who inked the contract with the rooftop owners.

  • Die hard

    Maybe only a lawsuit can sort this out

    • Tom A.

      I am starting to agree with your thought. Sometimes, you just need to litigate if one party is simply greedy and stupid. That often is the case in bitter divorces. Judges most always are professionals and will only let greed and stupidity carry on for a certain length of time.

      • Die hard

        Using Declaratory Judgment/ Summary Judgment to get a decision on the 4 corners of the contract could bring a decision sooner assuming there is no mandatory arbitration clause to bar suits

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You should not play Matlock.

          • DarthHater

            He’s too old.

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