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respect wrigleyThe Wrigley Field renovation plan is moving forward according to the framework to which the Cubs, the Mayor, and Alderman Tom Tunney agreed months ago. The night game ordinance – the first piece of the puzzle, which increases the Cubs’ night game allowance by 50% – was recently passed by City Council, and the planned development process on the rest of the renovation is underway. Heck, the Cubs are even going as far as to test gigantic screens in the outfield to determine how much the planned outfield signage will block rooftop views.

In other words, by all indications, the renovation of Wrigley Field, where it sits, is proceeding as expected – albeit after a long, ridiculous battle where the Ricketts Family had to fight tooth and nail for the opportunity to spend their own money renovating (and monetizing) Wrigley.

But none of that is stopping another suburban entity from trying to get the Cubs to abandon their deal with the City and build a Wrigley Field replica far from Chicago. Le sigh.

In a story simultaneously reported by the Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the Daily Herald - read: pushed out to the media - DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin is putting together a presentation for the Cubs to try and lure them out of Chicago and into the western suburbs, where they can build a replica of Wrigley Field with whatever bells and whistles they want.

Each article contains substantially similar quotes from Cronin, the gist of which is: the Cubs have grown deeply disappointed with the way the process is going with the City, and are now “genuinely” interested in exploring a move. This piece of Cronin’s comments from the Sun-Times reads like it comes straight out of the Threaten to Move Playbook: “That experience with the City Council [last week] over the night games was particularly eye opening, instructive and troubling to them. Some of the [Ricketts] siblings came to the conclusion that the city doesn’t really want to partner with them and it will be difficult and uncertain forever. They want to be wanted. We may not have the charming Wrigleyville neighborhood. But, we look for ways to make it work. We don’t throw obstacles in front of business.”

So, do we buy this? Not really.

Here’s what I buy: the Cubs recognize that, although the framework for a deal is in place, the particulars remain imperiled. They learned that last week when some of the finer night game points were changed without their approval. They now want to make sure the City is aware that they’re pissed, and that they aren’t going to stand for other key elements of the framework being changed too dramatically without their approval. Does that mean the Cubs pushed Cronin to make these comments? To put together a proposal? Maybe. Maybe not. Cubs VP of Communications Julian Green told the Sun-Times that, no, the Cubs have nothing to do with Cronin’s late push.

But I’m sure the Cubs don’t hate this coming out. And, again … I mean … read that Cronin quote. It’s like he’s reading from a script that is perfectly designed to aid the Cubs. We’ll just call it a happy coincidence.

Would the Cubs really consider moving? If the deal with the City absolutely and completely falls apart, sure. If the City absolutely and completely tries to screw the Cubs through this process, sure. But no one expects that to happen, even considering Chicago politics. The Cubs are just protecting themselves, and playing the game at the same time. We don’t just want the framework, the Cubs are saying. We want exactly what we agreed to receive.

Various Cubs spokespersons in the articles say the same thing: there are no plans to entertain offers to move, and the goal remains getting something done with the City of Chicago.

  • JulioZuleta

    Are there any BN’ers that don’t have a very questionable past/arrest record and are willing to run for mayor?

    • DarthHater

      My past and arrest record are matters of public knowledge. :-P

    • TWC

      ::raises hand::

      Oh, *don’t* have a questionable past? Nevermind.

      • JulioZuleta

        On second thought, I think you’re right. Having a questionable past seems to be a REQUIREMENT to be a Chicago politician. You’re good.

        • TWC

          There’s probably some issue, though, with me living 2000 miles outside the City limits. I’ll pass.

    • hansman1982

      Let’s get Andy Dufrane in here and create a person.

      • Falselife

        Think anyone would notice if we named him Randall Stevens?

  • Cubbie Blues

    I must have missed it. What was the change to the night games that wasn’t agreed to?

  • Jay

    These threats/proposals should have been made 9 months ago. Now it’s just posturing and everyone knows it.

    • Dustin S

      Yep, that plus a fair amount of media headlining. The media outlets know that the Cubs potentially moving is a topic that’s very polarizing, so they tend to throw stories like this up even if there isn’t much meat to them. It’s something that has become very pervasive lately in all news media, both sports and non-sports. There are a couple (non-sport) news sites that I don’t even read anymore, because I know when I read the articles I’ll find that either the headline or story will be misleading just to try to have a catchy title or topic.

      If there is any fire to the smoke for this, I would imagine it’s the Cubs just trying to keep a foot on the throttle a bit to keep the plans moving forward and to deter the city and rooftops from getting cold feet.

  • jim

    Fire rudy j! Oh, he gone ;-)

  • Rich H

    I know it is just pure pressure but I would still love to see them move just because of all the political BS that this whole thing has caused.

  • Mrcub1958

    Brett, well written. Thanks for the continual updates. Most believe this is a nauseating non story. Although in the minority, I feel strongly that “the particulars remain imperiled” and this will eventually be a major story. We’re all naive thinking that Chicago politics won’t continue to mess with previously understood agreements.
    (They learned that last week when some of the finer night game points were changed without their approval.)
    When we are getting to final approval on the hotel and Jumbotron, Tunney and others will cross lines to bring the final stalwart to staying, Tom Ricketts, finally over to the side of seeking bids from suburbia.

  • North Side Irish

    I blame Quade.

  • Crazyhorse

    These articles you write are fun to read. I have to say your Renovation Watch are the best .they are condense ,informative with logical sentiment.

    I am glad the Cubs and the nieghborhood seem to come to an understanding. Anything else is just a distraction and annoying but worth the read and the information.

  • Cheryl

    Let’s see. The next possibility – the Cubs suddenly realize that Kane County has a field they already own and allows night games, Bingo – move the Cougars to Chicago – they at least are playing better and have some players people are talking about and move the cubs to Kane County and build what you want there.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Not serious, yes?

    • Rcleven

      The Cubs do not own the park in Batavia. I am a part owner thru my taxes. The park is owned by Kane County. The Cubs have bought the right to lease the space.

  • Cheryl

    No. I’m not serious. Thought it would get a reaction.

    • gocatsgo2003

      PHEW.

      • Cheryl

        Although I do wonder if there is a point where the cubs finally have had enough. I’m from DuPage and don’t think many cubs fans would want them here.

  • Austin8466

    I may be in the minority here, but I’m not opposed to the Cubs moving. It’s absolutely ridiculous that one of the biggest money-makers in the city of Chicago has to jump through these hoops with the city council AND have to battle the rooftop owners who are essentially pirating a product. If I’m Tom Ricketts, I’m over all of this BS 9 months ago and I’m drawing a line in the sand. If either party crosses the line I’m taking my multi-billion dollar entity somewhere that it will be appreciated.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Oh. My. GAWD! A “replica” of Wrigley Field? How about we just build it inside a gigantic shopping mall! Isn’t it enough to worry about a sucking team – do we really need to dwell on a move to a friggin’ suburb? I think I haz a sad….

  • Tom A.

    Assume that the Cubs leave Chicago, and thus I have a few hypothetical questions:

    Mayor Rahm — (1) Not re-elected, (2) Closely re-elected or (3) Easily re-elected ?

    Alderman Tunney — (1) Not re-elected, (2) Closely re-elected or (3) Easily re-elected ?

    Wrigleyville Housing — (1) Huge drop in housing prices, (2) Modest drop or (3) No drop ?

    Rooftop businesses — (1) All bankrupt, (2) All bankrupt or (3) All bankrupt ?

    Murphy’s bar — (1) Bankrupt, (2) Bankrupt or (3) Bankrupt ?

    Other Wrigleyville bars and restaurants — (1) All bankrupt, (2) Most bankrupt or (3) Some bankrupt ?

    Chicago Public School closings — (1) Many more on the way, (2) A few more on the way or (3) No effect ?

    Police presence in Wrigleyville at bars — (1) Ghost town, (2) Sizeable drop or (3) Modest drop ?

    Multi-million in monies for Lakeview residence programs — (1) Gone, (2) Huge drop or (3) Monies still to come ?

    City of Chicago — (1) Laughed at by other cities to their face, (2) Laughed at by other cities behind their back or (3) Laughed at by other cities, albeit they deny such publicly ?

    I say the answers to these questions are 10 1′s !!!

    • Austin8466

      Yup

  • kielovher

    As a resident of Dupage County (and from a purely selfish standpoint) I would LOVE for the Cubs to move out here. Never gonna happen. But I can dream.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Portland Maine, Pawtucket Rhode Island, Lowell Mass. All three cities are Boston RedSox minor league affiliates. Why are these teams so close to Boston ? Is this another model of the BoSox that the Cubs are copying.
    I think Cheryl is on to something with the Kane County idea. Let’s say the Cubs buy the Iowa Cubs and move them into Wrigley, play all day games, sell $4.00 beers, and $2.00 hot dogs.
    Let the place fall into worse disrepair than it is and don’t put another nickel into it. The rooftops can’t bitch because games are still being played, the bars can serve the fans before and after games, if they average 10 to 15 thousand a game all the revenue goes into the Ricketts pocket for the new Wrigley wherever it’s built. Everybody gets what they want.

    • YourResidentJag

      Actually, I think the Cubs at this point have a better chance moving to Indianapolis after 2014. Pirates would move to Rochester NY and the Twins would move to Iowa. Now that’s possible.

  • Kevin

    Only in Chicago does this BS happen. The language for the additional night games is tweaked so the Cubs arent getting exactly what they asked for. You cant make this stuff up! Why would the Cubs allow this? I doubt the Cubs move but I’m sure the Ricketts family have seriously thought about it.

  • King Jeff

    ” If the City absolutely and completely tries to screw the Cubs through this process, sure. But no one expects that to happen, even considering Chicago politics.”

    This is actually exactly what I expect to happen, as much as I hate it. I think the night game changes are just a tip of the iceberg and they are going to face similar situations/changes the further they move through the process.

  • Die hard

    Move ok if includes airspace but CITY won’t sell

  • Cubbie14

    What would happen if the cubs just had night games however many and whenever they wanted could the city legally file suit?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Depends on the enforcement scheme – seems like if you violate a city ordinance, the city would have the right to shut your banned activity down. Like, with police, if it came to that.

  • http://www.sportsdanny@blogspot.com Dan

    They should move -tell the neighborhood to enjoy their empty museum and build in the bubble of Naperville

    • Die hard

      MLB would never allow such a move because the further away from Clark and Addison the closer they are to Casinos and Race Tracks

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Talked with my guy with downtown law firm tonight. Cubs and Wrigley are toast. Cubs put out the word Sunday to possible suitors, where, and how much will you get us to build the new park. They were beyond stunned that tunney had changed the deal they had worked on for months, and said nothing. Complete betrayal. And this was the easy stuff.
    Even Tom has realized what advisors, and his brother have been telling him for 6 months. The cubs are the asset, Wrigley and day baseball is the liability. Actual attendance down 30%, concessions down 35%, advance single game sales for July and August down 25%. 600 people in the stadium at 6:00 pm in the 12th inning today.
    Last Saturday night game vs. Pirates was an epiphany for the cubs brass. Even though rain delayed, place was jumping, food and beer off the charts. A realization that the cubs have to run their own business, and not the city and buffoons like tunney.

    • Adam

      Your buddy is talking out his butt.

      First off, I doubt that the Cubs had a revelation based on one rain delay night game.

      Second off, the Cubs are never going to leave Wrigley. This is a PR campaign where sides slog and try to get as much as they can. To get media coverage and folks riled up, wild claims are made.

      Third off, I’d love nothing more than to watch the economic engine that is the Cubs leave the mess that is Chicago politics. It’s not going to happen though.

  • Oswego chris

    I was there yesterday….announced crowd of 24,000…not even close, I hadn’t been in a few years…but it was amazing to walk freely through the park and not be wall to wall people…no lines for anything…

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