respect wrigleyThe fallout from last week’s Landmarks Commission meeting has been interesting to observe. For those who missed it, and the lead-up to that meeting, let me catch you up with the five-minute-version: the Cubs were irritated/concerned that the night game ordinance portion of the Wrigley Field renovation framework was altered at the last minute to weaken the overall value to the Cubs. Those concerns manifested themselves in a new round of “OMG will the Cubz move” rumors. Tom Ricketts and Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a meeting at City Hall where Ricketts was reportedly assured that Emanuel would help fast track the approvals necessary to assure that the renovation could start in earnest after the season ends. Shortly thereafter, the Landmarks Commission scheduled a special meeting to approve the portions of the renovation tied to the landmark status. The day before that meeting, Alderman Tom Tunney wrote a letter to the Cubs saying he could no longer support the overall renovation plan because of five elements with which he did not agreed, the biggest of which were the size of the outfield signs.

At the meeting on Thursday, the Landmarks Commission approved the relevant pieces of the renovation, except for the two outfield signs (the JumboTron in left and the see-through advertising sign in right, which will be discussed at the July 11th regular meeting). It did so over objections from Tunney, who apparently changed his position again with respect to the renovation framework, opposing the Cubs’ plan to bump out the outfield walls to increase the Wrigley footprint and accommodate those outfield signs (i.e., to improve the sight lines for the rooftops).

A helpful BN’er passed along the message Alderman Tunney sent out to his constituency after the meeting, and here’s what he now says about bumping the walls out:

I am supportive of the application that passed out of the Commission on Landmarks today with one exception: the expansion of the walls onto the public-right-of-way. That means two things: the introduction of public subsidy into the proposal and allowing for an increase in their interior scope thereby facilitating more signage.

Tunney has not, to my recollection, spoken publicly on the wall-bump-out plan, but his support was presumed because of its positive impact on the rooftops. Apparently he’s not going to support the plan, though, because this is some strong rhetoric. Although the Landmarks Commission signed off on the expansion, my understanding is that it will still have to be approved by City Council – and these things tend not to do well without the support of the Alderman in whose ward the project sits.

To that end, it once again looks like the Cubs could have a fight on their hands with respect to Alderman Tunney, whether it’s about the size of the outfield signs, the bump out of the outfield walls, or the particulars of the hotel and the plaza (about which Tunney has made unsupportive comments).

The Sun-Times reports that the Mayor may soon have to lean on Tunney a little more aggressively than he’s been willing to do thus far. The tone of the piece, which is well worth reading, is plainly negative with respect to Tunney, who is described as unable to “stick to a deal” and “not … the easiest person to negotiate with” by a source close to the negotiations. Further, a Mayoral source described the Mayor as “exasperated” by Tunney’s perceived reversal on the bump-out-the-walls plan.

The article is particularly interesting to me given that the Sun-Times has been, to date, mostly covering the renovation story from the Mayor’s camp’s perspective. I’m not saying this report is the Mayor’s Office’s way of warning Tunney to cut it out, but … well … it could be.

As I’ve said before: although Emanuel likely doesn’t want to step on a popular alderman, the Mayor has a lot to lose by letting the Wrigley renovation – a $500 million, privately-funded investment in his city (to say nothing of keeping the Cubs and Wrigley Field around) – run into serious problems. Getting this deal done without any public money was quite a feather in his cap, and I believe he’d like to keep that feather there.

I’m not sure how aggressively the Mayor will want to push the Alderman, but it sounds like it’s getting to that point. The Cubs have already bent so much in this process that Tunney can easily claim political victory to save face. How much more does he want?

  • Jp3

    Make him an offer he can’t refuse…

  • King Jeff

    “I’m not worried about the Cubs moving”
    Exact quote from Tunney. He believes that he has the Cubs by the short hairs, and can demand/require whatever he and his financial backers want, and there is nothing that the Cubs can do. I am having trouble staying optimistic about this getting done, and I have long since stopped believing that the Cubs would get a fair shake out of this deal.

  • Cedlandrum

    How bout you do a second blogathon to raise money for whoever runs against Tunney in the next election.

    • Brett


  • Cheryl

    This looks more and more like Tunney will go to city council with the message that if they can do this in my ward without my approval they can do it in your ward. It could end up being a fight between the mayor and the wards. The mayor may lose this fight. If he does, than its goodbye cubs. I hope that it doesn’t come to that but it doesn’t look good for the cubs remaining in the city.

  • Crockett

    I have two friends who live in Tunney’s ward who own businesses also within the ward. They have nothing but terrible things to say about him. For a guy who built his own success, he consistently stands in the way of businesses. He’s a giant toolbag.

  • curt

    Make a move mean something get some free land draw up some plans enough of this bs already.

    • Rich H

      Ricketts should have done that back in February or March. Walk into a meeting with Rahm with an agreement to move in hand and let the chips fall where they may. Rahm would have bent over backwards then to get that agreement out of Ricketts hand then, now is probably too late to use that kind of power play because agreements are already in the works.

  • Spriggs

    Take a page out of the great Chicago Bears Organization and move to Champaign-Urbana for a while. Or maybe even “threaten” to move to Gary, Indiana. That would scare ’em.

    • JulioZuleta

      You don’t “move” to Gary, In of your own free will. You get excommunicated or sentenced to Gary.

    • Jim L.

      The Bears moved to Champaign for a season while the Soldier Field re-design was implemented not to force the City of Chicago to give them a deal on renovating Soldier Field.

  • Kramden

    Now that Tunney feels he’s extracted possibly as many perks and concessions as he could from the Cubs, it looks like he’s now setting his sights on Emanuel and the city this time around.


  • Mick

    I don’t live in Tunney’s 44th Ward so I’m the furthest to to debate his track record as Alderman. But, aside from paying their taxes and allowing other businesses to scavenge off of the Cubs brand, what do the Cubs do for that neighborhood? Do they build train/bus stops/stations, do they hire post-event cleanup crews to go through the neighborhoods, do they hire additional security or police officers to ensure no building, lawn, car gets pissed on, littered, vandalized, etc.? Do they provide any additional parking for their events, manage traffic, donate to neighborhood charities, etc? There’s more to being a good citizen then paying taxes especially when your business in located in a residential neighborhood. I’m not saying either side is right or wrong but at least someone is standing up for the residents of that neighborhood, I can only assume Tunney has their best interests in mind otherwise they wouldn’t have voted him in.

    • Cubbie Blues

      The Cubs do pay for added police and cleanup. If memory serves they have also helped out with the train terminal and local parks.

    • Cubbie Blues

      “Since we took over the Cubs in October 2009, the Chicago Cubs Charities has donated more than $4 million to non-profit organizations across Chicago ….”

      • Beer Baron

        And the key part of that is “across Chicago”. Not just Tunney’s ward. It is the whole city that benefits from the Cubs (in many ways beyond charitable donations), which is why the Mayor should be the one leading this effort. Not an alderman representing a very small percentage of the people affected by this transaction.

      • Mick

        As an outside observer, I’m trying to put myself into the shoes of a resident in the 44th Ward. How would I feel about the Cubs proposal? I wouldn’t give a shit what they do on their property. Build a jumbotron so big it blots out the sun for all I care. What I would care about is pushing out the outfield walls to encroach on Waveland and Sheffield, crime, parking, and litter. So, by doing this I start to see why the debate and why the Cubs aren’t just getting everything they want.

        • Cubbie Blues

          I will refer to my first response to you then.

          “The Cubs do pay for added police and cleanup. If memory serves they have also helped out with the train terminal and local parks.”

    • TWC

      “I’m not saying either side is right or wrong but … I can only assume Tunney has HIS best interests in mind…”


    • Adam

      Do you have a concept of how property values work?

      • Mick

        Do you? Do you think because they add more signs in Wrigley or build a jumbotron, property values will increase?

        • hansman1982

          What would happen to the property values if, tomorrow, the Cubs didn’t play at Wrigley and tore it down to build a shopping mall or apartment building?

          • JB88

            If I had to guess, the response would be somewhat flat. To be honest, having the Cubs there does drive business, but, on the other hand, it also adds a ton of stress on the neighborhood, both in terms of infrastructure as well as drawing crime to the area due to overserved patrons.

            • Rebuilding

              I agree with JB. Yes, there would be an immediate financial impact to that the bars and specialty shops that surround Wrigley which would be doomed. However, property values there are actually similar/lower than in other simarlarly situated neighborhoods in the city (Wicker Park, Bucktown). Given the neighborhood’s proximity to the lake and downtown and the residential boom in the city as a whole the long term impact on property values might actually be positive

            • Bob Salek

              Wrigley Field is almost 100 years old. Chances are most people in the neighborhood knew it was there when they moved in. If you don’t want to deal with drunks, loud noises, and traffic, THAN DON’T LIVE NEXT TO A BASEBALL STADIUM!!!

          • Mick

            Or a volcano erupts out of the pitcher’s mound, or a nuclear meltdown, or global warming and Lake Michigan’s new coast line was the warning track, or the outfield wall ivy turned into a hoard of plants from Little Shop of Horrors.

          • Hebner the Gravedigger

            Any RE textbook will tell you that property values are based primarily on proximity to jobs (downtown) and secondarily on services / activities. I am sure that the potential loss of the Cubs would hurt values, but values are more reliant on downtown jobs. Chicago also has a lot of secondary services / activities (waterfront / shopping / etc.) that make the area desired. Again, the loss of the Cubs would definitely hurt but we tend to exaggerate due to our fandom.

            • hansman1982

              Part of it would be the negative impact that those shuttered businesses would have and how quickly more appropriate businesses spring up.

        • Peter

          No concept of property value, Cubs leave, all those businesses and residential value will plummet. Dumbfucks like you hold up any real progress.

          • Brett

            Whoa, ease up on the attack portion of the comment. Feel free to make your point, but there’s a line.

            • Jp3

              Totally off the subject but does anyone know what the Jim Bowden insider piece on Espn was about Garza? It was titled 5 trades for Garza? Also, yeah just remember when you drop attack bombs like that you don’t just get to **drop mic** and walk out.

              • Joey Jo Jo Junior

                It was garbage like all of Bowden’s articles are–I can’t believe that guy was ever a GM.

              • Cubbie Blues

                Something along the lines of here are 5 trades that include 30 prospects that won’t amount to anything for Garza (you know, the ones normally scene on message boards).

                • hansman1982

                  what’s a “scene on message board”?

                  Are you writing a play about internet dumbassery?

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    HAHAHA How the heck did I do that one? ::lol::

              • Rebuilding

                Two things always strike me whenever I read a Bowden article: (1) man they used to let anyone run a baseball team and (2) this guy really doesn’t like the Cubs

    • Mick

      I was just trying to look at the other side of the coin on this issue. For all I care, I’m with everyone on this site that the Cubs get everything they want/need to win a championship and the neighborhood be damned. Maybe the Cubs can tatoo Toyota logos on 44th Ward men’s chests and backs and force them to walk the City streets and women can be forced into hard beer vending labor. Children will be used to roam Waveland and Sheffield for homeruns only to be forced to give them back to be used for BP.

    • B

      Tunney ran unopposed in the last election. And from someone living in the neighborhood i would vote for almost anybody else had they ran.

    • Jim L.

      “do they hire additional security or police officers to ensure no building, lawn, car gets pissed on, littered, vandalized, etc.?”

      The only way you can ensure that not to happen is to hire one officer/security guard for each person that buys a ticket to a Cubs game.

    • Scotti

      “Do they build train/bus stops/stations…”

      They don’t (and absolutely should not) but Tunney tried to get them to rebuild one of the train stations that the City has let go (and that is Nuckin’ Futz–the Cubs didn’t make it rust).

      “…do they hire post-event cleanup crews…”

      Yes, aside from paying the amusement tax (which is specifically levied for such a purpose) the Cubs hire clean up crews for every game. ANY clean up crew that you seen outside of Wrigley before, after and/or during a game is paid for 100% by the Cubs (this includes any city crews).

      “…do they hire additional security or police officers…”

      Yes, again, that is what the amusement tax is SUPPOSED to be for (but the City spends 100% of it elsewhere) but, on top of the $10-15 million in amusement tax, the Cubs provide ALL security, policing and traffic for Wrigley games (including all uniformed police who are off duty).

      “Do they provide any additional parking for their events”

      Yes. The Cubs own some of the lots nearby and they have offered to build up some of those lots into full on parking garages–Tunney has stood in their way. For years the Cubs have provided offsite parking and busing to and from Wrigley before and after games (anyone who listens to, or watches, any games would know this as they also provide FREE advertising on radio and TV during every home game).

      “…manage traffic…”

      Yes, all of it. See above.

      “…donate to neighborhood charities, etc?”

      Yes, in addition to the $4 million, they have agreed to spend hundreds of thousands (up to $1 million) on a LOCAL park.

      “There’s more to being a good citizen then paying taxes especially when your business in located in a residential neighborhood.”

      And the Cubs have proved that they are an EXCELLENT neighbor by ANY standard.


    Can the Cubs back out of this deal? A former alder-person said the Cubs knew what they were buying when they got the Cubs… but so did the neighborhood. I think the Cubs should pull out…period and stop playing with these guys. There will always be this road block for future things… makes little sense to stay in boys-town. There is tremendous opportunity outside of the city proper and tons of ticket buying fans who would gladly go to games and would not be burdened with sky high prices and commuting difficulties. Long term… bidding these gangsters goodbye is the way to go. Tom grow a pair!

    • hansman1982

      Sadly, in order to be able to threaten to move, the Cubs HAVE to get drug through a nasty, nasty, fight here.

  • Rebuilding

    Unfortunately for the Cubs they are dealing with one of the few teflon aldermen. In most cases the alderman/woman need the mayor and machines for support to win. In Tunney’s case it’s likely that Emmanuel needs him more than he needs Emmanuel. Given that he is one of the few openly gay politicians in America, and represents that Ward, it gives him a clout few others have.

    I still think this gets done, and most of this is theatre, but it does complicate matters

    • JB88

      Having lived in that ward and being friends and having access to hundreds of gay people who live in that ward, I can say, without hesitation, I do not agree with your belief as to Tunney’s clout or his perception.

      • Rebuilding

        Well, I would rather not get into a political discussion on BN. I lived there for years and would respectfully disagree. I was merely trying to point out that he is a unique politician in some respects

        • JB88

          That might be true. Perhaps our circles of friends just differ.

          If you lived in the city and in that ward, chances are you are liberal (which I am), I just think that people who know Tunney and have lived in his ward for any extended period of time aren’t that high on him, regardless of their sexual orientation.

  • Beer Baron

    The mayor should get involved. Wrigley Field happens to be located in the 44th ward, but it and the Cubs are part of city of Chicago. A bar or restaurant wanting to open in a certain ward is subject to the wants of the alderman. A major international business that just happens to be located there is bigger than that. When Boeing was courted to come to Chicago, it was the mayor leading the effort – not the alderman. Same when they tried for the Olympics – there weren’t alderman going to the IOC to campaign because the stadium would be located in their ward…it was the mayor. The Cubs are bigger than anything in the 44th ward and its time the mayor tells Tunney to sit down and shut up.

  • Willo

    Just wonder how the 44th will hold up if the Cubs leave. I wish the Cubs would move. Move to a new stadium and win the world series during the first few years in the new place. Cub fans would still go nuts, would be a great ending for this soap opera.

  • Champ Summers

    I lived in Lakeview for the first 38 years of my life. In the 70s, the players left the ballpark and the area as fast as they could. Only the first couple blocks around Wrigley were safe. The bars and the rooftops only became popular after the Cubs became good. If you want to see what it could become without Wrigley, walk through Uptown at night.

    • Rebuilding

      Wicker Park was just like that. When I moved to Division just a few years ago you didn’t walk there at night. Now walk over by Division and Ashland. The downtown neighborhoods have all seen a revival. That neighborhood is too ideally located, given today’s market, to stay down for long

  • Robert

    If we really want to make our voices heard here is the link to voice your displeasure.

  • Mike S

    *THIS JUST IN* The Los Angeles Dodgers sign Free Agent Dwight Howard.

  • Cheryl

    Tunney has some clout or he wouldn’t have gotten this far. Don’t under-estimate him. Does anyone know if he has political ambitions beyond the 44th ward. He evidently feels he has the cubs right where he wants them. What is his relationship with the mayor? Perhaps he also sees this as a chance to take the mayor to the cleaners along with Ricketts.

    • Cubbie Blues

      “What is his relationship with the mayor?”

      You may be on to something here.

  • tgk

    As I live in another state and get to Wrigley no more than once every other year, I don’t really have a great deal of insight on Chicago politics, but I will say this. From everything I have seen it at least appears he is an honest politician. . .Meaning that once he is bought he stays bought. Most would have flip flopped by now.

  • JJ

    For what its worth, those (like me) wanting the Cubs to up and leave Chicago for a near suburb like Schaumburg or somewhere in Dupage Co. also ought to consider the cost of Wrigley Field post-Cubs. We can debate the impact of relocating the Cubs to a new field in the suburbs, but the Ricketts would still own Wrigley Field. They can’t tear it down (local landmark status) or renovate it (see current debacle) and they cannot use it for other purposes (e.g. concert venue — current ordinance limits night uses) without someone else approving it. So, there will be cost to hold, cost to sell (which is limited for the same reasons), and necessary repairs (you think Tunney is bad now, what will be required of Cubs if they leave the park). I’d still prefer the non-Chicago Cubs as a destination, but keep the ancillary costs in mind.

    • wvcubsfan

      All the historical status means is they can’t tear it down or change it from it’s historical appearance, but nothing says they have to maintain it. To my knowledge the outfield walls are the only things listed, so the field and grandstands could be torn down tomorrow.

      If the Cubs ever do move, I would expect the footprint to be greatly reduced and a museum built on site with a mixed use development joining it on the property.

  • Dan W

    Just sell the dam rat hole to the 44th ward. Let them mow the grass and spray the weeds. Let them play high school babseball in the thing. Build a new state of the art facility, best in all of baseball. Let the taxpayers of some other neighborhood pay for 50% of the new stadium, and the Cubs the other half. Have a big farewell year, charge an extra $5 per ticket for the season. MOVE ON CUBS. You tried to be civil.

  • Champ Summers

    Move the AAA team there and they’ll draw a million while the Cubs draw 3 million in the suburbs.

  • Paul

    how are the cubs going to win without a new stadium

  • Wrigley Neighbors

    Sign the petition to support the restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field

  • Toby

    Sounds like little sphincter boy Tunney is simply trying to prove to everyone his Swedish meatballs are bigger than Ricketts.

    But he’s making an incorrect assumption.

    • DarthHater

      I haven’t heard a good sphincter insult in years. Come to think of it, I still haven’t. 😛

    • Internet Random

      This raises the question of how Toby became so familiar with the sizes of Tunney’s sphincter and meatballs… but I suggest we don’t speculate.

  • Die hard

    If the City would allow the Cubs to put 10000 ft Jumbotron where current scoreboard is and put current scoreboard on outside facade facing street that would be a fair compromise, no?

  • Die hard

    This City administration is akin to the Blind Men and the Elephant fable.. Each pol touches the Ricketts proposal and guesses wrong

  • Voice of Reason

    Please stop with the cubs should leave Wrigley comments. Its not going to happen.

    Remember when being an elected official commanded respect? Its people like this alderman tunney who keep making us hate all elected boobs.

    Tunney is just trying to make a name for himself. If everyone stopped talking about it and reporting on it the sooner the dealbwould get resolved. This gay alderman is loving the attention.

    • DarthHater

      Yes, his being gay has got so much to do with it.

    • TWC

      Pray tell, why did you chose to use his sexual orientation as a descriptor? What purpose does it serve?

      • DarthHater

        It serves the purpose of confirming that he is the voice of douchebaggery.

        • Cyranojoe

          Ah, yes, thanks for the clarification.

    • Cyranojoe

      At least Die hard can be funny sometimes.

  • hawkcub

    This may be an off the wall comment but I’m wondering if Tunney would be actually happy if the Cubs left his Ward. He may believe the ward would be just fine with out them(maybe even better in his eyes). Yeah he backs the RTO big time but they are in a battle with the Cubs. I will take my tin foil hat off now. LOL

  • Die hard

    You don’t realize how old Wrigley is until you watch It Happens Every Spring— wouldn’t the Cubs show more respect by taking the grand old lady off life support?

  • Die hard

    The film clips used actual Wrigley field games … This park needs to be torn down but with respect …