Tom 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.