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respect wrigleyAs I said earlier, even pre-ordained commission meetings can surprise you when it comes to the Chicago Cubs’ efforts to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the surrounding area. Today’s meeting did indeed surprise, and the man behind the surprise was exactly who you’d expect: Alderman Tom Tunney.

So what was the surprise?

Well, it was Tunney saying this at the close of testimony about the renovation plan: “We’ve now arrived at the point where I have no objections to this project.”

Yeah, well you just try to fight this … er. Wait. What?

I would imagine that, in the coming days – and leading up to a vote before full City Council as early as next Wednesday, July 24 – we’ll learn precisely what precipitated Tunney’s apparent change of heart, and it could well be that he’s gotten his way on his remaining demands. Indeed, the Plan Commission approved the Cubs’ plan today, as expected, but there was apparently chatter that the pedestrian bridge over Clark will still be discussed.

What about the demand for a 10-year moratorium on additional outfield signs beyond the two large ones already approved by the Landmarks Commission? It’s unclear if Tunney’s getting that one, but the Sun-Times reports that Tunney said the Mayor assured him there will “no additional outfield signs for many years to come if we pass these.” That’s sufficiently flabby that it could mean almost anything, so I guess we’ll see.

To put this as plainly as I can: if Tunney is truly on board, and if the sides have come to an understanding about the various outstanding issues … then this thing is happening. Never say “done deal” in Chicago, so I won’t say it now. I’ll just keep saying things like “if this, then that.” But I feel as good about the renovation of Wrigley Field tonight as I’ve ever felt.

Don’t get lost in the mud associated with this long process: a well-done, fan-focused, revenue-generating renovation of Wrigley Field is among the three most important stories going on right now in the Cubs’ world (together with securing a well-paying new TV deal, and the acquisition/development of young players). Having this project completed is going to open up new streams of revenue that the Cubs’ brass has promised to put to use in the organization and on the field. You want to talk about doing a long-term rebuild the right way? This is a huge part of it, friends.

  • DarthHater

    Busy, busy Brett.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Was out to dinner with the family when both the Lake thing and the Tunney thing broke. Had to head home. Family slightly unhappy. Dinner was basically over, though.

      • DarthHater

        Did you asked to be excused from the table?

      • Jp3

        Did you get dessert Togo? Done with dinner at 6pm… You can tell you have a new born… Mine is 7months now and we just got him out of the habit of trying to go to bed at like 5:30

        • Internet Random

          Enjoy that while you can.

  • MichiganGoat

    YEAH (in the MontyPython fashion)

    • Mikelach13

      And there was much rejoicing…

  • Coop

    “So what was the surprise?

    Well, it was Tunney saying this at the close of testimony about the renovation plan:
    ‘We’ve now arrived at the point where I have no objections to this project.'”

    I feel scared and confused.

  • CubFan Paul

    Sweet.

  • Jay

    Does Tunney have Multiple Personality Disorder? Or did the major finally get to him and tell him to shut his pie hole or the last thing he’d be seeing was the inside of the trunk of his car?

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Or did the Cubs cave?

  • curt

    wonder what was passed under the table to Tunney that man dosent just change his opinion unless he got something he wanted somewhere else.

  • Michael

    My guess? (and…only a wild and speculative guess)

    Tunney got what he wanted, but the print editions of the story ran like he hadn’t…one thing led to another…and I bet someone told him to say this today.

    Second…I wonder how much of this is the dampen the little Lakeview Rally scheduled for this evening?

    Whatever the case…I’m gonna throw a beer off a bridge tonight in celebration.

  • hawkcub

    Huh? I’ll be interested to see if it comes out his demands were met.

    • Michael

      According to the Sun Times article:

      “The pedestrian bridge remains. But, under hostile questioning from Plan Commission members, Cubs Vice-President Mike Lufrano said the team is “seriously considering” covering the open-air pedestrian bridge to ease Tunney’s concern about drunken fans tossing bottles and cans.

      With those concessions, Tunney folded.”

      • Tom A.

        Do they have to enclosed the rooftops so such drunken fans don’t do the same ???

        Maybe not, as they greased his palms !

  • Tom A.

    I hope this really means that they can move forward.

    Thanks for your over-the-top-great coverage on this Brett !!!

  • Jim

    I wonder how much Tunney’s statement cost Ricketts?

  • TheShire

    Does anyone else feel anxious about the sports TV rights bubble bursting before the Cubs getting their mega deal?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Definitely.

      • JM

        Brett,

        Do you have a write up that discusses the t.v. deal issues at length? If not, is it something you’re working on?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah – it’s actually my biggest project on the shelf right now. Lots of information gathered. Just needs to be written.

          • Chad

            On the shelf? What? Like you have other things to write/worry about right now?

          • JM

            My two cents, quickly about any t.v. deal…

            I grew up in Indiana and watched the Cubs on WGN. I watched every single game. Now I’m limited to one out of three. I hope any tv deal doesn’t take the Cubs away from me completely.

            • Rebuilding

              Depending on your cable provider I think you’ll see a joint Cubs/Comcast Sportsnet Cubs Channel after the WGN deal expires next year. Sort of like the Big Ten network with classic games and such. Whether DirecTV picks it up will be the question for me

  • Mikelach13

    Brett,

    Thank you for your awesome Cubs/Wrigley renovation coverage!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well thanks right back.

  • cb

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    Politicians

  • Timmy

    i hear they’re going to build the scoreboard on a rooftop and that the building is being bought by mumford and sons

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