respect wrigleyAt 10am tomorrow morning, the Chicago Cubs will present the Wrigley Field renovation plans to the Landmarks Commission, a body charged with signing off on changes to certain landmarked aspects of Wrigley Field. The meeting was requested by the Cubs after a meeting between Chairman Tom Ricketts and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at which the Mayor reportedly agreed to help the Cubs fast-track things. (This is fast?)

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Cubs will not be able to count on the support of the man who, together with the Mayor, signed off on a renovation framework designed to get the Cubs to agree that they will stay in Chicago at Wrigley Field. That man, Alderman Tom Tunney, has remained intransigent throughout the process, and, despite that framework, has designed to battle nearly every detail of the renovation process, itself. The battle is set to continue tomorrow morning.

In a letter sent to the Cubs on the eve of the Landmarks Commission meeting, and obtained by Crain’s Chicago, Tunney says he will not support the Cubs’ renovation plans until and unless the team agrees to five changes, some of which are significant:

1. The JumboTron in left field must be reduced in size from 6000 square feet to 3500.

2. The advertising sign in right field must be reduced in size from 1000 square feet to 600.

3. The proposed pedestrian bridge connecting the proposed hotel to the plaza west of the ballpark must be axed (Tunney doesn’t see the point; to which I’d say it reduces human congestion, and, let’s be honest, funnels more fans into the plaza).

4. The patio extending off of the hotel and over Patterson Street must be removed (too close to homes).

5. The proposed hotel lobby must be located on Addison Street or Clark Street, not Patterson Street (that’s a residential street).

You can read more about Tunney’s beef in the Crain’s piece, or in the Tribune’s take.

Although the tenor of Tunney’s position – “I will not support you unless you reduce what you want significantly” – is forceful, I’m not sure that anything he’s demanding is a surprise. To my mind, the biggest ones are the sizes of the JumboTron and advertising sign in right field, and he’s always maintained that the Cubs’ desired signage was too large. I don’t know that we’d yet heard he was going to formally oppose the Cubs’ plans on that basis, but I guess it makes sense that he would.

That said, I remain profoundly frustrated that the alderman charged with representing his citizens continues to kowtow to a small handful of interest groups at the expense of the largest economic driver in his ward. The Cubs want to erect signage in their own building. They’ve taken steps to minimize the impact that signage would have on anyone outside of the building, and it sounds like the impact will be negligible  Therefore … What. The. Eff. Let them freaking do what they want to do with their own building already.

Alderman Tunney is the Cubs’ alderman, too. Query whether he ever actually considers that when reflecting on his duties.


As I take a few steps back, I should remind you – and myself – that, even after the framework was agreed upon, everyone understood that the specific of the renovation might change as the process went along. The framework’s details were almost entirely made up of the things the Cubs wanted. Whether or not we feel like the Cubs should get everything they want, it was probably never going to happen that way. The Cubs may have to bend just a little bit more, even if that is facially absurd.

I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow morning at the Landmarks Commission meeting. As I’ve pointed out before, the members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor, though projects running through them usually have sign-off by the alderman whose ward is at issue.

  • JoeyCollins

    Move the team. I honestly don’t care where I just want the cubs to sick it to tunney and the rooftop owners. When this all started the idea of leaving Wrigley seemed horrible to me, but now It seems like the best option.

  • Kevin

    Ricketts should put the renovation on hold…… Commit to nothing and watch the offers from other areas come in then make an education decision on a way forward. With the future of Wrigley unknown, people will flock to the old ballpark not knowing when and if they will move. If its this difficult now just think how hard it will be to get anything passed in the future. The Cubs are currently in baseball prison.

  • Austin

    I was watching the WGN newscast after the game and Tunney was talking about how the city had to bend over backwards for the Cubs and all their demands. Guy is a dumbass tool.

  • curt

    f*** alderman Tom “douschenozzle” Tunney give the cu d what they want or ricketts really should listen to his siblings and see how Tunney likes explaining how he lost his biggest business because he’s an over inflated windbag. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with such an over exaggerated sense of self importance. This guy thinks he’s the mayor or a senator. if the cubs cave on this one hell keep taking, the cubs have already conceded so much on this when they shouldn’t have had to, I hope alternative city’s proposals are being ready bc if the cubs actually start down that path watch how fast the mighty alderman’s tune changes.

  • Headscratchin

    Here’s a thought. Tunney and the rooftop owners and the “neighbors” should pool their money and buy Wrigley from the Cubs. Then they can take down any signs they don’t like, cancel the hotel plans, eliminate night games, what ever. Then the Cubs can take that money and use it and the renovation money they have stashed and go build them a new stadium. Every one happy, and everyone in control.

    Somehow I doubt the “Neighbors” are willing to put their money where there mouths are.

  • Die hard

    Don’t care about bar and restaurant owners— that’s business risk … And with right development of site Wrigleyville could become premier neighborhood without Cubs albatross …. Sharing White Sox park is best option for all… Am sure Ricketts can talk them into ivy on the walls and a vestige of scoreboard to make fans feel welcome

    • Cubbie Blues

      That’s so cute.

    • chrisfchi

      Never gonna happen. If you like white sox park so much, maybe you should just jump ship pal.

  • Paul

    just move

  • Cheryl

    If the cubs have had enough of Chicago politics in terms of Wrigley and the rooftop owners and decide to move, what are the possibilities? Could they switch locations with one of their minor league clubs – say Iowa or Tennessee? Kane County doesn’t seem feasible because of transportation. A suburban location may have the same problems. I doubt they could relocate in another part of Chicago. Tunney would block that. Any ideas?

    • chrisfchi

      Always have soldier field.

      • Cheryl

        It’s a possibility but wouldn’t football interfere?

    • Spriggs

      I hope to be rooting for the Gary Cubs soon.

      • Cheryl

        Gary fits for a large metropolitan town in one sense but I’m wondering if a large university town like Notre Dame might draw more?

      • hansman1982

        Bah, move em to Sec Taylor Stadium. Guarranteed sell-outs every night!

  • Jim

    This likely coincides with the “petition” emailed out to Chicago residents by…

  • curt

    No Chicago is not a great city it’s a cesspool of crime, gangs,questionable police,and least I forget the sleazy and slimy politics, I wouldn’t come to Chicago but for the cubs and a few attractions, this whole process just stinks I wish they would move and I don’t often disagree with Brett but I think if they would move I think fans would still follow , yes wrigley is special but if you win the cubs can make a new wrigley special too.then Tunney can explain during his re election campaign why he ran the cubs out of town, and I’m sure he is just posturing but enough of this crap already.

  • Mark

    After my initial anger about Tunney wore off I realized that this is just a face-saving move by him. He knows the Cubs will get what they want and there’s no way one alderman can take on Rahm and win. The rest of the City Council realizes the importance of keeping a professional (arguable) sports team in Chicago with all that revenue, plus the added revenue of the renovations and just how good it looks that it was all done without public money. Tunney is making these demands, some of them even appear to be for the good of the actual residents, so he can save face when he comes up for re-election. Although really, the hotel entrance should be on Clark or Addison…why the hell would you put it on Patterson?

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  • Aaron

    The Cubs need to be patient yet apply pressure with the City to get what they want. I believe the jumbotron will end up being 4800 square feet and the smaller sign in right field 750 square feet. I hope this will be enough to get a deal done. As far as the hotel walkway, I hope that’s not the deal killer.

  • FastBall

    I am all for the Cubs moving. They should move out of Illinois to Tennessee. Move to Nashville. Get the hell out of Chicago and the state of Illinois. I could care less where they call home. I don’t live in Illinois so I don’t care. If I was the owner I would be doing a Baltimore Colts middle of the night move. Just pack it up and leave and do it in a hurry. When your girlfriend doesn’t want to live with you anymore you pack your crap and leave. That’s what this is. These guys need to get a divorce and just move to another state so they don’t cross each others paths again. I support a move to just about anywhere.

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