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respect wrigleyTom Ricketts’ siblings are pushing for the Chicago Cubs to more seriously consider moving out of Chicago.

That, according to sources of the Sun-Times, who say that the siblings have been loyal to Tom’s desire to stay at Wrigley Field, but are growing concerned that the framework to which the Cubs, the Mayor, and Alderman Tom Tunney agreed will be altered too dramatically as it goes through the various city approval processes. To that end, the Cubs may be more open to considering those various suburban bids to lure the Cubs than they have been before. Again, according to those sources.

The Sun-Times adds that a Cubs source says Tom Ricketts’ back-up plan might be to invest in alternate sites within the City so that he could still work with the Mayor on a new location, which suggests that the real problem here is Alderman Tunney and various neighborhood interests.

Even if this is all just a ploy for leverage, I’d like to remind folks of the leverage the Cubs are trying to grab: they don’t want their deal with the City, which represents a massive compromise on the Cubs’ part already, to be jacked even further to their detriment. Think about that again. The leverage the Cubs want is to please-oh-please-Chicago, let us pay for this massively awesome project for you, and don’t screw us any further in the process. Pretty please with sugar on top.

It’s aggressively maddening, but it is the bind that comes with staying in Wrigleyville. As I said during the first storm of OMG-TEH-CUBES-MIGHT-MOVE stories, I remain of the mind that the Cubs derive unique and irreplaceable benefits from Wrigley’s present location, and they would be crazy to leave. That doesn’t mean I can’t be angry at the way the City and some in the neighborhood have proceeded throughout this process.

I also tend to think that this latest set of stories, although legitimately driven by sources and suburbs, are something of a tempest in a teapot. Just last week we learned that Ricketts and Mayor Emanuel had met, and the latter had agreed to “fast track” the renovation approval process so that the Cubs have the approvals necessary to begin the Wrigley Field portions of the renovation framework by the end of this Summer. I guess the only fear there is that the Cubs will get their approvals on the Wrigley portion, will begin the substantive renovations – thus locking themselves in – only to later find the City/neighborhood unwilling to yield on the plaza and the hotel. If you’re the Cubs, you can’t leave yourself exposed to that kind of risk.

That is all to say, I still think we’re going to see the next step taken within the next couple of months. The Cubs have their night game ordinance, even if it wasn’t exactly as they wanted, and the planned development process is ongoing. Perhaps it’s worth reminding you at this point that the Cubs have a web site dedicated to the renovation, and how folks in the area can help see it through.

  • Rich

    You know this is just exciting and irritating in the same way. I am excited to see Wrigley renovated as well as the area. I went to college in St. Louis and toured Busch last summer ( along with the Nationals , Pirates and Brewers. The Cards facility is probably the best I have seen. No roof tops or political BS…just an incredible facility.

    I know many people that visit Chicago, ( I live in NC now ) when they go visit, they want Chicago pizza and to see Wrigley..The political crap is just the process I guess. I still do not think they would ever move.

    I am sure concessions will be made on both sides, but the Cubs NEED better facilities. For the players and the fans. You ever get a chance take a ballpark tour when on the road..Really cool experience.

    I did get to throw out of the bullpen at Nationals Park…Can you say 45 mph baby!

  • Dan

    Brett,
    As a new season ticket holder I was able to go down on the field this past weekend for Family Day. Looking around the stadium I couldn’t believe the Cubs are going to spend $500 million on renovation and the columns will still be in the grandstand meaning many seats will continue to have obstructed views. The revenue lost by the Cubs leaving Wrigleyville would EASILY be made up with a potpourri of concerts, college football games, regional NCAA tournament games and far better weather in April,May,September that a retractable dome stadium would offer. I think it would be crazy to allow Tunney, the Lakeview HOA and Beth Murphy to continue to rake the Cubs ownership AND fan base over the coals

    • Scotti

      I’ve taken to call the monies that the Cubs could make elsewhere but NOT at Wrigley “Impossible Money”. It will be forever Impossible for the Cubs to make up the Amusement Tax Difference ($10 million and rising higher per season), parking (massive loss) events (literally hundreds of large weddings, concerts, football/hockey/soccer games, etc. and associated parking and concessions), maximized night games, etc… That money–over $100 million per year–is Impossible to make at Wrigley and, thus, the Wrigley “intangibles” would have to make up the difference. That’s a lot of folks buying 75 percent of your tickets during losing seasons to make up $100 million per year.

  • King Jeff

    I’m glad you’re so optimistic Brett. I keep reading your thoughts on this and talking myself out of wishing the Cubs would just wash their hands of this mess and move on.
    I still think the changes to the night games ordinance were just the beginning. I’m reading rumblings of residential groups upset over the hotel size, complaining about the size of the advertising, and the president of the neighborhood group wanting there to be a distinct and separate review for every step of this process.
    I think we are in for a long road of dealing with more of this garbage, and I hope the Cubs don’t have to concede on every point along the way like they have been forced to do so far.

  • Rich

    Yea let’s see Beth Murphy tell the local tractor pulls and monster truck shows, that the rooftops are part of the “experience”.

  • Cheryl

    Is this beginning to shape up more like a power struggle with the wards versus the mayor? If so, than the wards may feel their turf is in jeopardy and side with Tunney, which would undercut any deal with the mayor. Therefore the Ricketts have good reason to worry. This alone could force the Ricketts into the position of a move.

  • bobo justis

    As someone who has been going to Wrigley since 1960, I would love to see them move within the city to the South Loop or the West Loop. Rosemont is a hell hole and I’d never go to the Western Suburbs, but near Soldier Field or near the United Center would be great. Based upon the drawings of the Wrigleyville renovations, the old park is going to substantially disappear in a Disney-fication of what has been a nasty and grimy but always authentic Chicago neighborhood. If you skillfully combine transplanted Ivy with a new facility, the place will be surrounded by businesses in no time, and maybe some of the drunkenness that is the basis of much of the fandom will disappear. If I can get over it, others will get over it too.

    • Dan

      Yeah I really want to go to the west side to watch a baseball game—United Center? but you claim Rosemont is a hell hole? When is the last time you’ve been to Rosemont? Where is the prime real estate in the South Loop or West Loop…were talking 20-25 acres. I don’t think you thought this out very well Bobo….

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    In a word . . . . . MOVE.

  • Tom A.

    I do agree that many of us who don’t want the team to leave Wrigley Field WOULD BECOME OPEN-MINDED to a move to another Chicago location (e.g., near Soldier Field or the United Center).

    Wrigleyville would disappear from what we know of it today.

  • ETS

    It’d be nice for Rham to be remember as the mayor and killed the golden goose.

    • Rich H

      It would be his political death sentence if he allowed the Cubs to leave the city.

  • cubzforlife

    I too attended the family event last friday and had a nice chat with TR. the Cubs are not going anywhere. I’m a familiar face to Tom and he seems to be geniune in his comments about everything working out. I also talked to The Cranester and he is confident construction will begin after the final homestand. His words. He took me on another guided tour under the leftfield seats to show me the ancient lakebed from when the park was built. It’s really just old sand and dirt that’s sortof cool but far from a class A operation. It’s amazing that in all the years Wrigley and the Trib had the park no one spent any money fixing this up. As a kid I remember the players entering the old clubhouse near the bartman seats.
    As we know all the offices are gone from the ballpark in anticipation of the new construction. And my seats are about five rows behind a column and I couldn’t give a shit. I love Wrigley, the neighborhood , and this lousy team.

  • http://www.dccoffeeproducts.com John

    Move already- by the time they really figure out how bad the structure is- the reno may take more than the 500 mil they are planning to spend. You never know what you will find once you start opening things up. It may very well be in everyones best interest just to blow it up and let the rooftops have a great view.

  • cys_av8r

    Move the team…..leave the cesspool of Chicago politicians behind.

  • terry

    Because your a familiar face, doesn’t mean they won’t move. Everyone seems to be more worried about wrigley vile, then the actual team. I myself am a cubs fan. I will be one always. I’m a fan of the team. I don’t watch the cubs because their in wrigley or because of the neighborhood where they play. If they move that is the fault of the city, and maybe more of the rooftop owners. Who for some reason think they will make more money without the cubs. Their businesses will die. They will be kicking themselves. Point is I will watch them wherever they are.

  • Vin23

    Just move. Rosemont will build wrigleyville area replica around it.
    The blue line goes to Rosemont and it will actually be more convenient for a bunch of cub fans as well.

    Does Ricketts really want to endure being sued along with less revenue and someone’s hand always in your pocket??

  • Holden

    Im not very familiar with the Rosemont area being a North Carolinian but a quick google map shows that it is next to O’Hare, one of the busiest International Airports in the country. So that being said? Good for people coming in to watch a game. Bad- day after day with flight after flight overhead, unless you build a complete dome… then no ivy.

  • curt

    good grief , god help me I do love the cubs and wrigley field but I’ve never seen anything like this, the alderman and wrigley ville neighborhood are all ingrates they want the benefit of having the cubs around but don’t even think about inconveniencing us or we won’t vote for tht windbag Tunney, I’d really support a move though if the plan keeps getting altered.

  • Dustin S

    It’s interesting because about a week and a half ago on a Chicago sports radio show, one of the hosts (sorry don’t recall who) made a comment that he knew members of the Ricketts family and that they were more frustrated recently than has been made public. I didn’t give it much thought at the time since it was just a rumor, but it makes you wonder after a more concrete story asserting the same thing comes out now. i don’t think there’s much chance of them moving either, but it sounds like there may be some grumbling in the family.

  • curt

    Well how much azz can you kiss before you decide myb you don’t like it.

  • TSB

    That’s right, build a Disney World style ball park, and the fans will flock there in droves! For proof, just ask the Miami Marlins!

    • Jim L

      Not a valid comparison since the Marlins never had the big of a fanbase in the first place. Plus they were burned twice by dismantling of championship teams.

  • aCubsFan

    Let’s see here. Daley hurriedly rammed through the Skyway, parking meter and a host of projects that are costing the residents of Chicago and State of Illinois a ton of money to put a ton of money into the pockets of their ‘friends.’ Rahm’s doing the same thing.

    So I don’t — nor should the Ricketts — trust anything that the government of Chicago has them. Big deal Tom and Rahm had a meeting and a meal together. Big deal Rahm and his people are supposedly ‘fast tracking’ the approval process. That doesn’t mean that Rahm and the his underlings aren’t going to make modifications to the framework or the plans. The Cubs can count on it.

    Since the mayor has very little say in zoning and building the wild card here is Tunney. We know where Tunney’s loyalties lie. So count on Tunney trying to pull some last minute, under the table changes that royally screw the Cubs.

  • Cheryl

    Why not open the cubs up to a bid from elsewhere and see what you can get and where? That doesn’t mean they have to accept it, but maybe it will open some eyes in the wards and in the neighborhood that the cubs are at the point where they’ll take the best offer they can get. The fault won’t lie with the Ricketts if they move. They’ve bent over backwards. The fault will lie with Chicago.

    • Kevin

      I agree Cheryl, let’s see what offers the Cubs get. Tom is the chairman but doesn’t have controlling interest over his siblings.

    • Mrcub1958

      LIKE

  • Brent

    I have a general observation/question because I have only sparsely paid attention to these Wrigley updates. Didn’t the Ricketts know about the revenue sharing contract before they bought the Cubs and couldn’t they have anticipated this battle before buying the Cubs? I’m sorry if my memory isn’t the best, but wasn’t that contract b/n the rooftop owners and Cubs a gigantic battle 10 years ago between the two sides? Did I remember that incorrectly? If so, then it seems weird that the Ricketts thought the situation was going to get better after they bought the Cubs. I’m sure I’m oversimplifying things, and I understand the Ricketts’ position, but it seems like if they knew they wanted to renovate Wrigley (and really, who buys real estate without knowing what you’re going to do with it), then this was imminently foreseeable before they even bid on the team.

  • Kevin

    Hindsight being 20/20 the Ricketts probably would not have purchased the Cubs given the debt structure and true power of Alderman Tunney. From a financial standpoint the Cubs are debt heavy (thanks to Zell) and revenue stream limited due to the fact they are in Wrigley and can’t advertise like other clubs.. I agree with your post Brent, the Cubs are in a bad situation. Are there ways to improve their situation? Yes, but not without making some very tough decisions including moving the Cubs.

  • TommyK

    The question is who would be crazier: the Cubs for leaving or Wrigleyville for letting them leave? Remember, a suburban park comes with ample parking, more seats, and modern amenities. Many people would be more likely to go to more games in a suburban park. The Cubs leaving is all bad for Wrigleyville and only arguably bad for the Cubs. If it’s a game of chicken, game theory says the neighborhood blinks first.

    • Scott

      I agree with you completely – the neighborhood needs the Cubs FAR more than the Cubs need that neighborhood, and it isn’t even close IMO.

  • Bea Arthur’s husband.

    For years I thought the cubs should move IN the city where their fans can get to games via public transit. As a season ticket holder, I’ll take the el or bus.

    Rosemont is isn’t even really a place to live (pop 4,000). However it is basically a place you have a conference perhaps a concert or a fringe sport game. Decent eats too. And while the Blue line stops there there is no walkability at all.

    The other suburbs have trains METRA is a huge system and I don’t see either the capacity on those trains for fans or enough times to go (once an hour?).

    Driving to any suburb for a game is nuts. And yes it happens in other towns, but the trend since Camden yards went up? Downtown or city locations with transit hubs near by.

    Beyond all of that for fans and killing part of the fan base, one question on the turmoil in the family story.

    Consider the source. Not exactly a Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Cheryl

    Let’s look at it from Tulley’s view. One, he represents the rooftops and the businesses in Wrigleyville; Two, his main objective is to make them happy, not the cubs, they vote him into office; Three, the cubs are a business which provides income to his area and he doesn’t want that income jeopardized; Four, there’s little chance, in his opinion, that the cubs will move because of their desire to be in a large metropolitan area and transportation difficulties (as Bea Arthur’s husband states); Five, he can appeal to the other wards for support and feels he can keep the cubs exactly where they are with little in the way of change and they can’t do anything about it. So from his point of view the cubs are locked in. All he has to do is keep on the course he’s selected and everything will fall the way he wants it.

    • Tom A.

      (Six) He owns restaurants that will benefit him personally from his apparent abusive use of his political influences. (Seven) He knows how to manipulate city ordinances at the last minute to his benefit, as do all other city alderman/women. (Eight) He is a politician and wants to be re-elected and must appear like he is getting things for his constituents that they could not get themselves, even if it is dirty political money. (Nine) He can always cave in at the last minute, it is ever looks like he pushed to hard — then still can tell constituents he fought a hard battle for them — maybe even get things that personally benefit himself first. I really think that he already is using political double-talk and trying to screw the Cubs every chance he gets. He is not a person to be trusted by a business like the Cubs.

      I have been thinking about all of this a great deal lately. I went to Family Days this past week. Wrigley Field is old, tired and a huge fix-up process. I was in those locker rooms and dug-outs — the players deserve better. I stood in the on-deck circle and marveled at how close it was to the plate and could not be moved. The press-boxes too are old, outdated and in need of much repair. I get the whole Wrigley Field history is important aspect, but it really is old, tired and a huge fix-up process.

      I am starting to believe that it needs to be completely rebuilt. And, that rebuilt stadium can be anywhere as long as it is in the city and on a train line. For example, why not near Division Street between Clybourn and Elston. Add a red-line stop at Division and basically just like Addison. Tons of space available there ! I think the Cubs can move and everyone could win by them staying in the city at a different location — oops I guess those greedy bar and rooftop owners as well as the political person that is the alderman would lose — YEAH !!!

  • Bea Arthur’s husband.

    While I’d not worry too much about Tunney losing (he has a lot if support in the non-Wrigleyville part of his ward. and Tunney is one of the smarter guys on the Council. It’s ashame the Cubs didn’t end up with a dumber alderman. There are many. No other big city has that many people on a Council and it the number of numbskulls is enormous.

    That said Tom, you are 100% correct on the vast majority of your points. I always liked the idea of just keeping the landmarked portions and rebuilding totally where they are. Which they are sort of doing. I was hoping for more.

    There are many city locations to choose from. Many aren’t north side, Which could make some fans head explode. The cubs played on the west side early on so it wouldn’t be bad.

    Those family days are fun. Did you meet Dave Otto? Quite a comedown from Lee Smith last year. I know Cubs fans don’t like Crane Kenney, but last year I spoke to him for a good 40 minutes and he couldn’t have been nicer (ego was there, but he was very honest).

  • Mike

    This is all so freaking strange. The Cubs need Wrigleyville. But Wrigleyville needs the Cubs a whole lot more. Without the Cubs, Wrigleyville ceases to be anything special. Don’t the business owners in Tunney’s ward understand that? As a new season ticket holder who lives just 2 miles from the ball park, I’d hate to see the Cubs move. However, at this point, I’m not sure I’d blame them if I did.

    If they built a nice ball park in Rosemont with some nice bars and restaurants around it, I could be down with that (as long as it was walking distance from the Blue Line.)

    I think the west side near the UC is the WORST possible place to build a ball park. The real estate may be relatively cheap there compared to the rest of the city, but there is a reason for that. There is NOTHING around the UC. No bars, no restaurants. The transportation there is awful too. There isn’t an L line anywhere near it. It’s impossible to get cabs there. I once called 3 different cab companies to try to get home from the UC and all of them said they won’t send cabs there when an event lets out. Horrible part of town.

    • Mike

      * should be “I wouldn’t blame them if THEY did.”

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