respect wrigleyAs expected, today, the Chicago Landmarks Commission approved portions of the Chicago Cubs’ planned renovation of Wrigley Field. Which portions, you ask? Well, the non-controversial aspects.

Which is to say that the Commission did not decide yet on the proposed video board in left field or the advertising sign in right field. The Cubs have sought a 6000 square foot JumboTron in left field and a 1000 square foot advertising sign in right field. As part of the framework agreement between the Cubs, Alderman Tom Tunney and the Mayor, everyone agrees that the Cubs will get signs. The question is whether they’ll get them as big as they want them. The Landmarks Commission will reconvene on July 11th at their regularly-scheduled meeting to pass upon the signs. That’s going to be a very important meeting.

Although the Cubs today received approval on a large portion of the planned renovations – more about that in a moment – it may be moot without the outfield signage they want, which is to be erected, in part, to pay for the renovation, itself. In other words, it doesn’t do the Cubs much good to bump out the outfield walls to accommodate the outfield signage if there is no outfield signage to be had in the first place.

That’s why you should mark your calendar for July 11. That’s going to be a very important date in this process. Hopefully we’ll have heard of an agreed solution by then.

As for what the Landmarks Commission did approve today, it’s everything else in the renovation that touches upon the landmarked aspects of the ballpark. So, today’s approval included the outfield walls being bumped out (something Tunney today opposed despite previously expressing no concerns publicly), the dugouts and player facilities being renovated, additional signage within the ballpark, a two-story Captain Morgan Club attached to the park, and a new entrance on the west side of the park. Aspects of the renovation plan that were entirely outside of Wrigley – the hotel, the plaza, etc. – are not under the purview of the Landmarks Commission and were not considered today.

If you’re looking for the sum-up, here it is: today went well, which was how it was expected to go. It was an important step in the process, but, because the outfield signage had been excised from consideration, it was not expected to be a difficult step.

Night game ordinance? Flawed, but check.

In-stadium renovations? Partial check.

That’s where things stand so far. The next step is that July 11th meeting. From there, City Council will need to pass upon certain other aspects of the renovation, but, depending on how the July 11th meeting goes, that piece might be perfunctory by the time there’s a vote.

  • Patrick W.

    Why did I miss the “enclosed bullpens” aspect to the project? Where are those going?

    • Tom A.

      Truthfully they showed how there was go to be more area behind the brick wall to accommodate these bullpens. But, I can tell you how they got the space by pushing out towards Clark and Addison or towards the field. That was likely the least clear thing to me listening to their plans.

      • Pat

        I hadn’t heard about the bullpens. Glad to hear they are moving off the playing area.

  • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

    I wish I lived on the North Side of Chicago. Then I could vote against Tom Tunney in the next election. He has made things an absolute nightmare for the Cubs at every step of the way, some of which seems purely politically motivated rather than genuine concern for the welfare of the community.

    Ricketts is paying $500 million of his OWN MONEY to help the community. Stop trying to block him.

    • Pat

      He is not spending 500 million of his own money. First off, the hotel is a partnership, he is not covering that entirely. Secondly, most of his share will be financed and then paid off with the assumed profits. Regarding the park, it’s been stated repeatedly that the advertising and other new revenue streams will be used to pay the loans off/finance the renovations in the first place. Is he assuming some risk, yes. I would seriously doubt it is coming out of his own pockets vs from team revenues, but either way you’re talking maybe 50 million at most.

      • scorecardpaul

        Pat, are you smokingt crack??

        • Pat

          Let me ask you a question Paul. Let’s say I buy a 300,000 house with 20% down. Would it be in any way correct for me to immediately say I spent 300,000 of my own money on the house?

          • Tom A.

            Yes you did. $60,000 of your money today and $240,000 of your money in the future — that is unless you sell the house.

            • Pat

              Unless I sell the house, correct. Or rent out rooms and use that money to pay the mortgage. The point is he is not spending 500 million of his own money. He is going to leverage the hell out of it and use team revenues to pay it back. Since he promised he would not personally pull money out of the team, the money used to pay it back cannot be considered “his”.

              • Tom A.

                And, I am telling you that you will not get $240,000 of money to borrow without (1) collateral or (2) committing to giving payment — let’s call it future money. Banks don’t just hand out $240,000 without (1) and/or (2).

                It would be better to say that you bought the house for $60,000 of up-front cash — used the house as collateral for the $240,000 borrowed — and you better pay back the loan or you will lose the entire $300,000.

                Sounds like Ricketts put up-front cash and borrowed the balance to buy the Cubs. Either the Cubs are the collateral (highly likely team is most of the collateral) or other assets/future earnings are the collateral (likely they ask for some of this too, as banks ask for everything to collateralize a loan). No matter what, Ricketts are responsible for the entire purchase price, with selling of the Cubs being one possible way to help pay back the loans.

                By the way, if you know any banks giving out free money could you please let me know (but please wait until I give you a private email as this site is too darn popular and I don’t want that free money to go only to others quicker than me to get to the bank).

          • Coal

            Pat, are you suggesting that you would say you bought a $60,000 house in your example? Probably you would (appropriately) characterize it as a $300,000 house.

            • Pat

              Yes, and if anybody said I spent 300,000 of my own money on the house they would be wrong.

              • Coal

                I definitely think “$500 million of my own money” makes for a better sound bite than $5 million of my own money plus $495 million that I’m financing from a variety of sources.” But Ricketts is trying to make 2 distinctions:

                1) $500 million is being spent in the immediate community/city;

                2) That NONE of the money is publically financed;

                Those are two significant points that make this an incredibly fair deal vs. virtually all other stadium deals (White Sox, Bulls, De Paul – plus many in other cites).

                To count this investment only in terms of what is personally coming out of Tom Rickett’s checking account would obfuscate the point – which, I understand, is exactly your objective.

          • Pat

            It would be like saying Sam Zell spent a billion dollars of his own money to buy the Trib, when in reality he put down less than 50 million and leveraged the rest. It is not the same thing. At all.

            • Coal

              You picked the house example. I’m just saying that’s a $300,000 house, not a $60,000 house.

              • Pat

                Yes the point was that he is not putting out nearly that much of his own money. I love the fact that the team is paying for it. Public funds should never be used to support private enterprises and it’s encouraging to see a couple of recent examples otherwise. But the thing is that rich people, at least smart rich people, do not put much of their “own money” at risk.

                • Hansman1982

                  Wow, this is the worst understanding of money I’ve seen in a while.

                  Regardless of where you get the money (no one just has money they create out of thin air) it’s still money that you are spending on the house that you cannot spend elsewhere. The fact that you rented a portion of the house doesn’t mean that you aren’t paying for that portion of the house.

                  To effectively determine how much money Tom is paying we have to figure out what his interest costs will be and subtract the inflationary gains by spending tomorrows money today. This difference is then added to or subtracted from the principal balance

                  • Pat

                    Anybody got a triple face palm picture?

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  Pat, really this is simpleton logic. The Rickett’s are on the hook for the total amount, out of pocket and borrowed.

                  • Pat

                    Holy shit, no they are not. The team will be on the hook. And only for their portion of it, they have other investors. Sheraton Hotels for one. And I’ll bet $1,000 dollars here to the first person here who wants to take it that when all is said and done there are multiple other investors.

                    • X the Cubs Fan

                      Investors could help, but they’re still not the ones on the hook for this the Ricketts’s are.

                    • Pat

                      Really? The investors would not be on the hook? How does that work?

                      Have any of you people ever seen Shark Tank? Rich people do not put much of their own money on the line. They put in a minimal amount and get others to cover the rest for a proportioanlly small share.

                      Saying that getting investors is the same as spending your own money is patently false. It’s like saying that holding a charity outing that raises ten million dollars is the same as donating ten million of your own money.

                • Scotti

                  “Yes the point was that he is not putting out nearly that much of his own money. I love the fact that the team is paying for it.”

                  THEY own the team. THEY bought the team. THEY are paying THEIR $500 million for the thing regardless of whether it is present monies (cash) or future monies (collateral based on THEIR ownership/wealth).

                  And, re. the “partnership” of the hotel… If this is anything like the hotel partnerships that I am acquainted with, the Cubs are paying for 100% of the building of the structure, land, etc. and the “partner” (brand) will manage the operations for a set number of years vis-a-vis a contract. That’s SOP. The Cubs certainly have numerous marketing opportunities (Wrigley, Mesa, etc.) that would make any brand drool.

                  • Pat

                    A management contract is not the same thing as a partnership. Ever.

          • scorecardpaul

            Would it be in any way correct for me to immediately say I spent 300,000 of my own money on the house?

            no it wouldn’t, but would I be correct if I were to say I will be spending $300,000 of my money to buy this house? I think I would be?

            the problem is your word spent. My words are will spend, big difference, but I’m still spending it, and it’s mine. actualy now that you have pointed it out, it will cost me alot more than my $300,000 before I am finished buying my house. Please don’t try to tell me what size tv I can buy in my house either!

            • Pat

              There are two phrases there spent/will spend, and his own money.

              to say he (or I, in my emaple) will spend the rest of the money makes a fair number of assumptions, but I will concede that part of it. The main point is he is going to put out a very small amount of money and pay off the rest with our money/advertising money that would not have been possible without the renovation. The Zell example is probably much butter than the house analogy.

              • scorecardpaul

                So, if we use this example can we say Sam Walton never spent any of his own money in his life?? every time he opened a new store the profits paid him back. therefore he never spent any money?????/

                • Pat

                  This is not a difficult concept. Drawing on credit and actually spending your own money are not the same thing.

                  Yes he is responsible for a 500 million dollar project happening. This is a good thing.

                  The project is privately financed. This is a great thing.

                  The 500 million is coming out of his own pocket. This assumes facts not in evidence.

                  • Rich H

                    Wow. You realize that mind set caused a certain credit crisis a few years ago right?

                    Businesses have assets to cover their debt. There is too much scrutiny in the market that these guys made their money in for them not to have the Assets to cover. I am not talking about 500 million in on hand cash but they are risking 500 million of their own capitol to do it. The Ricketts family are brokers by trade which means that every Federal acronym you could possibly think of would crawl into every orifice that they could get a warrant for if this deal was not on the up and up. So yeah when they say they are paying for it. They are risking 500 million of their own assets.

                    • Pat

                      Your right. Banks never assume bad debt and pass it on to the public. Businesses always have assets to cover their debts. That’s why we don’t need bankruptcy courts.

                      And I am NOT saying this will be defaulted on. I am not saying it is a bad thing this is privately financed. I am saying he is not personally (Tom Ricketts) putting himself on the hook for 500 million dollars. In this case Sheraton, the jumbtron advertisers etc, are essentially sponsoring most of the rennovations. If they do not do the rennovations then that money will never exist. Essentially he is brokering the deal.

                    • Hansman1982

                      So is my employer buying my house and cars and paying for my college education? They are the ones giving me the money that I use to pay for these things.

                  • scorecardpaul

                    Pat, just admit you were trolling, and take another hit.

                    • Pat

                      Not trolling. Improper use of language pisses me off, especially when it is misleading. Will take your advice on the hit thing.

          • Northside Neuman

            The purchase of the team was largely financed from the Ricketts family trust, they never wanted to use debt to buy the team but were forced to by the idiot known as Sam Zell. Therefore they loaned the majority of the purchase funds from the Ricketts family trust to the Chicago Cubs LLC in addition to a cash infusion of $300 million created from a sale of TD Ameritrade stock. The whole financial situation is about to backfire on the Tribune Company as the IRS is throwing a BS flag and telling the Tribune they want their piece of the capital gains tax proceeds Zell was trying to avoid. Could possibly force the Trib back into BK.

            It is doubtful that MLB will allow further debt issuance in the renovation process as the team is already on double secret probation with the commissioner office over their current debt load. Since the renovation is taking place over 5 years it would not surprise me if the team used revenues and cash infusions from the family trust to fund the majority of the construction.

        • Pat

          And no. But if you have any to spare……

    • thedeej34

      This is when “other avenues” need to be explored and the Cubs should start seeing what opportunities outside Wrigley exist. Everyone is trying to get what they can at the Cubs expense while ultimately leaching off of the product that is the Chicago Cubs.

  • bbmoney

    I agree with you. Get out of the way bc it will help the community. But he’s not spending it to help the community. He’s doing it bc he thinks it’ll make him more money.

    Which is fine with me. This is America after all.

  • jj

    Well, if you want to worry, you could still worry that the hotel is derailed by the city. That might scuttle the whole deal. Enjoy.

  • SweetJamesJones

    Sigh. This is so disappointing to read.

    • Tom A.

      Keep the faith and wasa good Cubs day !

  • Die hard

    Here’s my concern… Has anyone taken a close look at the foundation’s century old underpinnings? I wonder if the HGTV Property Brothers would even consider the cosmetic changes proposed without being sure all wont collapse ?

    • gocatsgo2003

      I’m going to go ahead and guess that the Cubs have a couple of engineers involved in this process. As much as we think about and debate the topic around here, I guarantee there are mort highly-qualified and highly-paid people who spend a LOT more time thinking about it than we do in the Cubs’ offices.

      • Tom A.

        You are correct !

      • Die hard

        Don’t be so sure- those same types built the Titanic

        • Tom A.

          Funny !

        • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

          and the Titanic sank because it was improperly built?
          Spot on as always.

    • Tom A.

      Yea. They even show how the foundations are being reinforced. 2 different pro engineer firms and 2 months of scrutiny by Landmark Commission and others. It was totally well done and very thorough !

      • Die hard

        Really? …. I recall barely when I was so naive … Ignorant bliss is a wonderful high

        • Tom A.

          Yes, it was very well done I hear stories of crazy meetings at CityHall. Not this one in my opinion — was professional.

        • MichiganGoat

          The might be the the most honest statement you’ve ever had.

  • Coal

    I’m certain that the $500 million covers structural, not just cosmetic, changes as well. I’m with you – the infrastructure scares me. But clearly the are going to need to dig pretty deep into the superstructure. But the scale of rennovations being discussed would have to include that at the outset. (It just doesn’t make for interesting renderings.)

    • Tom A.

      Everything was well done and very detailed. I could even understand what it would look like for me and my 3 seats. Clear and detailed — very top rate presentation.

  • Tom A.

    I was there in session . The presentation by the Landmark Commission was awesome. IIheard press say things like “this would have been easier if we heard what we heard today a few months back.” Truly, it looked great and was presented great.

    They gave Tunney a chance to speak, but with no signage on the agenda — I thinkhe stumbled and really looked not prepared and even sort of silly.

    I hope Cubs bring me back for 11th. It really was a good Cubs day and Iam excited by what they are proposing !

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Tunney, the Lakeview Community, and the landmark commission should go take a hike. I’m sick of Tunney. The guy is completely unreasonable

    • Tom A.

      You will feel good then as he looked silly and unprepared.

  • Die hard

    Step 1 should be a trench dug around entire park at footings to look for cracks and to install sensors to detect those that can’t be seen… This should be allowed a minimum one complete season with full stands to make sure… If not winning full could be problematic tho

    • Tom A.

      Today was about what will be done and not the process to do it. You may right about a process that results in what they will be doing.

      • Die hard

        Here’s simple test— a project of this size will need a construction surety bond unless Ricketts puts 1 Billion in escrow… Lets see if any bonding co willing to take the risk

        • Tom A.

          Thanks for your comments and I hope they prove you wrong. Sorry you are so negative. I was just trying to help explain the meeting from my perspective in the audience at City Hall. Take care !

          • MichiganGoat

            Tom it’s die hard don’t take any of this serious… He’s baiting you.

            • Tom A.

              Thanks. I really do hope they make him happy in the end. I could not believe the level of detail that they presented and because of such the clarity it brought forth.

  • Jp3

    That’s going to be a busy 2 days with Bryant drama climaxing then…

    • X the Cubs Fan

      In other draft news Matt Krook seems to have failed his physical and is going to college. Glad he didn’t land to the Cubs.

  • Northside Neuman

    Still no photo’s of the new entrance on the West side of the park? Surprising that they didn’t release any as that is a major change in the appearance of the stadium.

    • Die hard

      Wouldn’t it make more sense to expand park to include the rooftops across the street? The relative inconvenience by closing streets would be far outweighed by a park that rivals Camden Yards…?

  • Die hard

    They can still accomplish this by expanding bleachers out moving home plate out to pitchers mound expand box seat area and put Jumbotron on roof across street

    • cubchymyst

      Move home plate to the pitchers mound? So you want to push all of the outfield walls back 60′ 6″. That will either block the streets completely or make Wrigley the smallest field in the MLB. Unless you want to make so that the bleachers extend over the street and connect to the adjacent buildings which will require the building owners say so. I don’t think you thought that idea through.

      • X the Cubs Fan

        That could be a good idea because it would be a direct entrance to the bleachers and we could have concessions and even have fans pay to watch from inside. This would all require 100 percent approval from the building owners, but it would be pretty cool to be on a rooftop watching the game if you were pretty much right over the bleachers. It could be the most unique second deck ever!


    Jon Lester hurt during tonights game. Is Boston a good trading partner for young pitching talent?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not a bad one, by any stretch. I’m not sure they’d deal any of it for a veteran arm, though.


    Luke you think a buy low on middlebrooks makes sense in a package with Boston? If we do make them a trading partner given how well theo and company know that system.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      It’d have to be a very low buy. His strikeout rates are not the stuff to inspire confidence.

      On the other hand, it looks like he’s been rushed.

      I could talk myself into this, if the price weren’t too high. I have reservations, but… it’s definitely worth thinking about.

  • North Side Irish

    Bijan Rademacher (@BijanRad24) tweeted at 11:15 PM on Thu, Jun 27, 2013:
    Headed to daytona, gonna miss my roommates @EddieOrozco21 @taylerscottsa

    Sounds like a promotion…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      So it does. He’s earned it.

    • another JP

      Interesting that Andreoli & Rademacher- two guys a bit old for their level, are promoted today. I’m wondering if it’s possible that Schlitter or Coleman are next up in Chicago. The Blake Parker experiment is working well so far. And it seems Alberto Cabrera could be due for a trip back to Iowa soon himself.


    Thanks for the insightful response Luke always great stuff. If Cliff Lee is not available. Garza appears to be the best pitcher on the market. Given the pirates history could you a see a package of Garza and schierholtz getting a jameson taillon outta pure desperation to make the playoffs?

    • Adam

      Not a chance the Pirates would give up Taillon for that package. They’re the kind of franchise that needs big time homegrown talent under control.

      Now a Feldman and Schierholtz package might fetch a Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell package.

  • John

    Dont know if its been already discussed on here but mlb trade rumors are saying d backs are interested in Jeff Samardzija. Wonder what the dbacks would be willing to give up for him? They would at least in my opinion have to start with there 3 top prospects or as a Cub fan I would be pissed.

  • AD

    It would certainly take one of Skaggs (1) or Bradley (2), Matt Davidson (3), Holmberg (7) and one other tope twenty guy.

    • Adam

      Bradley has considerable more upside than Skaggs.

      Would not go past the discussions if they did not include Bradley

    • TonyS

      Both. Shark is a legit #2 possibly a #1 and given he’s under team control for a while the Cubs would have to be asking both bradley and skaggs + ?

  • AD

    Ive always liked Bradley. But it would certainly take an over the top offer to pry Shark away from us.


    We arent the Rays or the As without a payroll. Shark is 28 but doesnt have the miles on his arm. We hope that one of those prospects would turn out to be as good as him. We need to build around Shark not trade him away. If you did though the Dbacks do have a nice system. Skaggs and Bradley would be a nice haul. They did trade Parker Cook and another prospect for Cahill so they will trade their top pitching prospects. They didnt get much for Upton is he a clubhouse pain?

  • Jason

    Off the subject but the Diamondbacks are very interested to the Shark. I doubt the Cubs will even think about trading him unless they get a whole lot back.

  • FastBall

    I predict the Cubs leave Chicago. If I was Tom Ricketts and his siblings the moving trucks are on standby. I hate that trolling crap that was going on this entire string. Lot of nonsense.

    • Die hard

      Think Baltimore Colts— hire same middle of night moving co?…. May have to roll over Tunney blocking street

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