Last week, a couple of news outlets reported that the Chicago Cubs would not be implementing the ice rink that has lived outside of Wrigley Field during the holiday season since 2009. This is a newsworthy bummer in its own right, as the rink was a neat addition to the Wrigleyville community, presented with a Cubs touch.
Far more newsworthy in these reports, however, was the word that the reason the ice rink would not be erected this year is because the renovation of Wrigley Field was going to be underway, and would make the rink infeasible this year.
Wait … wait! Drop the balloons, throw the confetti, raise a
n Old Style Bud Light! The renovation is officially beginning this offseason, despite all those pesky indications in the last few weeks that the tedious sparring with the city, the neighborhood, and the rooftops had cost the Cubs yet another construction year! Hooray!
No. Sorry. My internal Story Size Meter™ told me that, if the ice rink had been cancelled this year because of renovation work, the whole story would have been a much, much larger beast than a couple brief mentions in the local news. Alas, I was right.
I reached out to the Cubs for comment, and team VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green confirmed that the rink will not be making an appearance at Wrigley this year, and it is related to the renovation.
However, the decision on the rink necessarily comes much earlier in the year than the holiday season, because installing the rink requires a significant allocation of resources. For that reason, the Cubs made the decision to forgo the rink this year – at the time they had to make the decision – because they were hopeful that the renovation would be underway (which, again, would make the rink infeasible). In other words, the fact that the rink isn’t happening this year is not a confirmation that the renovation will begin in earnest once the season ends. It was just the unfortunate victim of bad timing and difficult choices.
The good news, though, is that Green says the Cubs remain hopeful that construction work on the renovation project could begin this offseason. Although all other indications – including from Theo Epstein earlier in the week – are that the renovation will not start this year, it’s nice to hear that the official party line is that there is still some hope.
That said, Green reiterates that there are a number of outstanding issues to be resolved before the Cubs can begin work. At last check, the Ricketts Family was still waiting on an agreement from the rooftop owners that they will not sue once the project begins. I’d say it’s a fair bet that we don’t see any significant work this offseason, given the delays.
And, this year, we won’t even be able to skate away our blues, a la the Peanuts gang.