Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Mayor Emanuel Optimistic About a Deal Tomorrow

respect wrigleyTomorrow, Chicago’s Landmarks Commission will take on one of the most important issues remaining in the approval of the comprehensive Wrigley Field renovation plan: them big ‘ole outfield signs. It’s a question on which the Commission punted two weeks ago when Alderman Tom Tunney expressed his disapproval of the Cubs’ plan for 6,000 square foot JumboTron in left field and 1,000 square foot see-through sign in right field.

Although Tunney signed onto the framework agreement about the renovation plans, he has always felt the Cubs’ desired sizes were too large. His hope – and maybe the hope of the Commission, as well – was that he could, in the two weeks between meetings, convince the Cubs to come down in their demands. For their part, at least publicly, the Cubs have repeatedly said that they have already bent so much in this deal that they need what they need to fund the renovation without public dollars, and they aren’t coming down.

Yesterday, speaking at an unrelated event, Mayor Rahm Emanuel – who has reportedly grown frustrated with Tunney and wants this deal done – suggested that things will go smoothly tomorrow.

“We’re just a few feet away – I mean, literally, a few feet away – from a win-win situation,” Emanuel said Tuesday, according to DNAinfo’s Ted Cox. Emanuel, I’m guessing, was alluding to the fact that the Cubs and Tunney are disputing the “feet” involved in the sizes of the outfield signs. On that end, Emanuel expressed confidence that a compromise would be reached in advance of tomorrow’s Commission meeting, which would obviate the need for the Commission to choose one side or the other. Given the Mayor’s confidence and desire to see this deal done without any public dollars, it’s fair to wonder if he applied a little pressure to Tunney, and, whatever compromise we see will favor the Cubs’ end of things.

Further supporting that suspicion, when asked about Alderman Tunney’s involvement in the process, the Mayor told DNAinfo, “The Alderman has been a tireless advocate for a better traffic system, a better safety system, a better investment for the community from the Cubs [and better parking].” Might Alderman Tunney have received additional concessions from the Cubs on those items in exchange for what they want in terms of outfield signage?

Whatever the case, we’ll definitely find some things out tomorrow. While numerous aspects of the renovation framework require approval from the Plan Commission and then, ultimately, the full City Council, if the Landmarks Commission signs off on the outfield signs as the Cubs want them, one of the most contentious issues will probably have been resolved.

… or we could learn that Tunney is not yet satisfied, and plans to oppose a great deal of the renovation plan through the rest of the planned development process, and before City Council. If that happens, the Cubs will be up against it a little bit, as projects are rarely approved without the local alderman’s support. I don’t expect any of that to happen, mind you, because I tend to think there is otherwise too much political momentum behind a $500 million, privately-funded, very-visible project to let it fall apart at this point.

Either way, let’s hope we don’t learn that the Landmarks Commission isn’t on board. That would be an entirely new, unexpected, and difficult wrench to figure out. Given Mayor Emanuel’s comments, however, I’m not too worried.*

*Outside of the natural worry that has accompanied the three years of this process, since things always go wrong and surprises always pop up.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

141 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Mayor Emanuel Optimistic About a Deal Tomorrow”

  1. ETS

    Sorry this isn’t related to the post, but I don’t have message board account so I thought I’d post it here.

    Monday my dad and I drove to chicago for the kane county game and then the angels game last night. The kane county game was rained out so I managed to buy sox tickets online and printed them at the St Charles Library (ha, I felt clever). That game was awesome. I was almost sad I couldn’t listen to the Hawk explode. Then we went to the field museum on tuesday (sorry Doc, should have contacted you but the museum was last minute) and tuesday night, which I thought would for sure be rained out, we saw the cubs and angels. Another amazing game. Sori is a beast. Castro is looking dialed in (that homer to right center, I think, is a good sign) and the pitching was all fantastic. All in all a great trip.

    1. MichiganGoat

      But did you meet with Tunney and kick him square in the nuts!

    2. King Jeff

      Nice, even if you went to see the Sox, it sounds like it was a blast. BTW, signing up for an account on the message board is simple and easy, well worth the time and effort if you are a regular poster here.

      1. MichiganGoat

        yes join the message board… if you think we get off track here just watch what happens there.

        1. ETS

          It’s more like if I signed up for the message boards I think I’d have to stop checking this site at work….

          1. MichiganGoat

            trust me you’d still do both.. the MB isn’t as quick with responses so if you want live discussion you stay on the main page and have fun on the MB

  2. MichiganGoat

    I’m more nervous about this than I am about anything concerning draft picks, slot dollars, signings or trades. If this isn’t resolved this week its going to be a very frustrating summer.

    1. Mrcub1958

      I agree Goat. How long will TR keep compromising on what he owns, will pay for, and is entitled to with a 21st century baseball franchise? On a related note, came across 30s and 40s pictures of the ballparks of that era. Talk about signage!

      1. MichiganGoat

        Yup the walls were covered… my grandfather use to work for a company that had a sign on the outfield wall and I remember how he talked about how mad he was when they put up the Ivy so he could no longer show his kids (and grandkids)- thats where you dad/grandpa works.

        Change is always tough for people, but we can’t expect to succeed in a relic.

  3. Jono

    How do you add an avatar picture?

    1. MichiganGoat

      go to gravatar.com upload a pic and use the same email here you use there… be mindful it doesn’t happen immediately but should work with in a few hours of setting it up.

      1. Jono


        1. MichiganGoat

          Expert Goat!

          1. MoneyBoy

            Boras-less Expert Goat no less !!!

  4. Serious Cubs Fan

    Jim Bowden trade proposal to Tigers: Matt Garza and Kevin Gregg to the Tigers for RHPs Rick Porcello and Jake Thompson, OF Avisail Garcia. Yeah…no thanks. I like Porcello but he’s not going to cost controlled for long and has still not put up good numbers since being in the majors. His stock is way down

    1. someday...2015?

      That’s tough. Porcello and Thompson are nice but Garcia intrigues me. Everyone always wants to talk about Castellanos when it comes to the Tigers. Garcia might be a better player down the road.

    2. Serious Cubs Fan

      Not a fan of Porcello being the center piece in a Garza trade. He definitely has upside but he will get a lot more expensive soon because of arbitration. I’d rather him be the second best piece in the trade. I don’t know, I’m probably over valuing Garza with his rental status

      1. someday...2015?

        I agree about Porcello. I wouldn’t be thrilled with him as a centerpiece but if Garcia was involved I think he would be the hidden centerpiece. I see a young A-Ram in Garcia.

        1. someday...2015?

          At least his bat reminds of Aramis.

      2. On The Farm

        Just curious would people prefer a Garza trade centered around Porcello or centered around Bauer?

        1. Kyle

          Porcello by a lot, but I don’t see why Detroit would even consider it.

          1. JulioZuleta

            Guy with a career 93 ERA+, a career 5.3 K/9 and I believe 3 years of control at several million per year once he goes through arb? I wouldn’t say by a lot. And I would say they’d consider it because it has been known for a while that their 80+ year old owner is all in to get a WS before he’s gone.

        2. someday...2015?

          I’m still a fan of Bauer. I think if he gets put in the right organization he could be the special player people originally hoped he would be. Call me crazy but I think I would take a chance on Bauer over Porcello…

          1. On The Farm

            I am torn on Bauer, I just can’t figure out how he went from unstobbable in the minors to getting torn apart by MLB hitters, and then still hasn’t even been able to regain his form in AAA.

            1. someday...2015?

              Control issues are the main problem. He gets behind in the count and then gets pounded because of it. He’s carried that problem to the minors since he got sent down… If he could get his command under control I think Bauer immediately becomes a #2, possibly an ace. Big IF though.

          2. On The Farm

            I guess if you look at what Shark did in 2010 in AAA its is comparable to what Bauer is doing now, so maybe it is something where the right coach can get him straightened out. I just dont know.

          3. Rebuilding

            To me it’s all about whether you think Bosio and Johnson can straighten Bauer’s control issues out. His BB rate has jumped from 3.2 to 4.8 this year. If he can just get it back down to the mid-3s he’s a TOR starter who is 22 and MLB ready. We would have all crapped our pants if we got Bauer for Garza last year and these type of arms only become available if there is a hiccup. To me Porcello is a decent mid-rotation arm of the type you can pick up almost every offseason (Feldman, Villanueva, Baker) so it’s a no brainer if they look at tape and see a mechanical issue that can be worked on

            1. Rebuilding

              I will say that if Detroit were to include Avasail Garcia then I would take that in a heartbeat. I think he is a better hitting prospect than Castellanos

              1. someday...2015?

                Agree 100%. Porcello and Garcia would be a nice haul for a half year of Garza.

              2. SenorGato

                Just curious, don’t even care to fight it since I do like Garcia in a natural Melky Cabrera kind of way – but why his bat over Castellanos?

    3. cubchymyst

      Not to change the subject to much, but is there any Pitcher that Texas could offer that would be comparable to either Porcello or Bauer?

      1. Falselife

        No, not really. There best prospects coming in were Grimm and Buckel, and both are having their own issues.

      2. SenorGato

        No, but I would give up Lt. Kitten for Martin Perez and would take him over Bauer with ease.

      3. YourResidentJag

        I was actually wondering about the Phillies. Any SP that they could offer for Garza? I mean do the Phillies really think they have a shot with guys like Kendrick in their starting rotation?

        1. YourResidentJag

          I mean could the Cubs get Jesse Biddle for example?

          1. SenorGato

            I think they could. Biddle is among my favorite arms to land in the Garza trade fantasies I have.

            1. YourResidentJag

              He looks as solid as Bauer or Porcello and w/o the control issues of Bauer. Projects to be a solid mid-rotation guy and a LH to boot. Love to another LH starter and would be our top SP prospect. I ‘m just not sure how much the Phillies can count on Kendrick and Lannan if the want to make a serious playoff run.

              1. Rebuilding

                Jesse Biddle has almost exactly the same control issues as Bauer. His career BB/9 is 4.1 and Bauer’s is 4.4. It’s the only thing holding him back for being an uber-prospect

                1. YourResidentJag

                  Would rather have him, then because he’s a lefty? Or would you go either way?

                2. SenorGato

                  Similar numbers but I would have a hard time trying to say one person is the same as another. Bauer is a little older so flipping the switch is going to be a little rougher, Bauer throws with the more common hand, Bauer was college trained and still has strike throwing and mechanical problems….

                  You REALLY have to apply context to prospects…all the details matter.

                  If I had to bet, I would say Biddle has the better shot at picking up some control.

                  1. SenorGato

                    That said, I’d still take Porcello over him.

                  2. Rebuilding

                    I don’t disagree. Just pointing out that Biddle has control issues, as well

      4. Lou Brock

        I know he has only pitched in A ball but CJ Edwards is putting up ridiculous numbers for The Rangers. ZERO HR’s inocer 150 innings the last 2 years and over 180 K’s. this kid is a real gem of a prospect.

  5. DReese

    I really do hope the Cubs come down a little in reference to the outfield signage. I think the mock ups were too big, at least for the video board. I will hope for around 4000 to 5000 square feet.

    1. Jon

      The Cubs compromised when they agreed to fund this 100%. Now it’s time for Tunney and the City to STFU and let the Cubs run their business

  6. curt

    What? Compromise haven’t the cubs already compromised before this supposed agreement in principal between the mayor, Tunney, and the cubs now their compromising even more, wow I hope in the end this is worth it bc you have to feel very unclean dealing with the sleaze that is Chicago politics.

  7. Serious Cubs Fan

    Cubs/Indians Proposal: Garza for Danny Salazar and Tyler Naquin? I’d be extremely happy with that trade. Not sure Indians would part with both though

  8. YourResidentJag

    Looks like the Red Sox may be out of the running for Garza. According to NY Daily News they’re targeting bullpen 1st. Damn. Now I want Biddle and the Phils to make a trade.

    1. Chad

      Don’t get too excited. The cubs have a couple of decent relievers they could include in a deal to sure up a lot of those holes the Red Sox are having.

    2. MichiganGoat

      well we have Gregg

  9. notcubbiewubbie

    the cubs shouldn’t give in one inch to the yuppy scumbags. the chicago cubs are a privaate business that was there long before tunney and the douchebags that reside there now.go tom stick it to them or move.IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE.

  10. hansman1982

    Refreshing to see good hard debate on the main pages today.

  11. Norm

    I don’t think it’s an issue of Talent vs. Control (Porcello vs. Bauer).
    It’s an issue of what people perceive to be the true talent level of those two pitchers

    If the pitchers in question were Porcello or Nick Struck…no one would say they’d prefer Struck because of the control. The talent gap between these two is so obvious, everyone would take Porcello.

    The gap with Porcello and Bauer isn’t as large, obviously, and these two players specifically are pretty polarizing because their peripherals vs. actual results.
    If you’re optimistic about Porcello and pessimistic about Bauer, it’s a no-brainer, even taking into consideration the contract/salary.
    If you’re optimistic about Bauer and pessimistic about Porcello, then the extra control will be a big deal.

  12. Wrigley Neighbors

    Support the restoration of Wrigley Field! Here’s what you can do to help http://wrigleyfield.com/support/petition

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