Didn’t Need This Today: Cubs, Rooftop Talks Reportedly Break Down

respect wrigleyAt the Cubs Convention this past weekend, Cubs officials took a surprisingly sharp tone with respect to the rooftops that have long been among the most significant hold-ups in the renovation of Wrigley Field. At the time, I wondered if it meant things weren’t going well in talks to have a deal in place so that the renovation could start … or if it meant things were going so well that the Cubs knew they had all of the leverage. The Cubs, themselves, said that recent discussions had been productive.

Maybe not anymore.

The Sun-Times today reports that discussions have fallen apart after a particularly contentious meeting yesterday, and after the rooftops today sued Marc Ganis, a former Tribune consultant, for comments he made last year about the Cubs/rooftops dispute. The Cubs are named in the lawsuit, according to the Sun-Times, albeit for now as a “discovery” party (i.e., the rooftops are saying they’re going to want to seek discovery from the Cubs*, not necessarily damages). It’s a little tricky to say precisely why this suit is happening right now, since there’s the obvious Cubs/rooftop/negotiation connection, but there’s also a statute of limitations that was going to run out as of yesterday, when the suit was filed.

*(Drawing on some past experience, when two parties are engaged in a financial negotiation (especially one that might lead to future litigation), one thing you’d love to be able to do is ask the other side for all of their internal financial documents. I’m not saying the rooftops don’t have a reason to sue Ganis for his comments – I’m not making any comment in either direction – but I could see a scenario where what the rooftops really want is information from the Cubs. Discovery from one case might help them if there is a future legal battle about the renovation, in total. In other words, the suit against Ganis could be the start of “the litigation” we’ve all been fearing. But, as I said: there was also the statute of limitations to consider. The rooftops could simply have been trying to protect their own rights.)

Apparently that negotiation breakdown yesterday, and the lawsuit today, has pushed the Cubs away from the negotiating table. You can, and should, read the Sun-Times piece for more details and context. It even sounds like the Cubs might now go ahead and put up the see-through advertising sign in right field (the one that was the most contentious), since they have City approval to do so. I can only assume the Cubs would be expecting a hostile reaction from the rooftops if they took that step.

In a statement released by the Cubs to the Sun-Times and to Greg Hinz at Crain’s, this could be ugly.

“We have worked hard to reach a resolution with our rooftop partners which would have helped preserve their views, including reducing the number, size and location of our signs,” a Cubs spokesman said in the statement. “Unfortunately, they opted yesterday to reject the proposal and file this lawsuit. Since our approvals last year, we have been anxious to get the Wrigley Field renovation started. Yesterday’s action will certainly force additional delays to our project.”

EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFffffffffff.

Now then. We’ll see how things actually proceed, because, while litigation can be lengthy, unpredictable, and expensive, it can also sometimes be the thing that pushes sides to actually work out an agreement.

Hopefully, the Cubs saying that the lawsuit will “certainly force additional delays” is more about applying public pressure than anything else. But, as I’ve said all along, however you feel about the parties or the issues, litigation was the one thing nobody wants.

I won’t pretend to be able to tell you what happens next until we get a little more information. I’m still waiting to review the suit for myself, and we’ll await a response from the rooftops, as well.

Great day, huh?

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

269 responses to “Didn’t Need This Today: Cubs, Rooftop Talks Reportedly Break Down”

  1. SouthFloridaCubsFan

    What a complete joke. The Cubs organization is becoming an absolute joke. The team sucks and they can’t handle getting a renovation done either. Don’t get me wrong, these low-life roof top owners are just complete dirt bags and being pains but its embarrassing that an organization as big as the Cubs can’t handle some stupid bar owners.

    As a long time Cubs fan, I’m really starting to wonder if this team is worse off with Ricketts?

    1. BenRoethig

      If they try to stay the course with Wrigley after this, you may have a point.

    2. BlameHendry

      you’re just now starting to wonder about Ricketts?

    3. Jim

      Have you lived in Chicago for any amount of time? Do you realize how corrupt politicians are in this city?

      Anyone buying the Cubs would have run into this problem, especially with the rooftop owners.

      I will say that the Ricketts underestimated the problems of dealing with the rooftop owners, the alderman, the City Council and Little Rahm – but saying they are a joke is a little over the top.

    4. Spoda17

      News flash… the Ricketts didn’t sign the contract with the rooftops … case you didn’t realize that. They are stuck with this agreement, and are spending a lot of their own money to make a Cubs game more enjoyable (I know the first response is going to for them to field a better team, but that statement is irrelevant in this post; even if they have a great team in the field, these renovations must happen).

  2. Diehardthefirst

    Cubs should use $20 million as down payment on parcel of land

  3. Voice of Reason

    The Rickett’s are dealing with signed contracts between the Chicago Cubs and the roof top owners.

    What else can you say? It doesn’t make the new Cubs organization look stupid. They inherited the signed contracts. Does that make sense?

    1. snakdad

      They certainly should have known what they were walking into. And promptly fired Crane Kenney as their first move for ever negotiating this deal in the first place.

      1. notcubbiewubbie

        amen to that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Jon

      Making frat boy like remarks about the situation during the convention makes them look stupid.

      1. BT

        I’m sure if he’d kept his mouth shut, everything would have worked out just fine. We probably would have signed Tanaka too.

  4. Required

    Ya, time to move.

  5. Kyle

    Remain calm! All is well!

    1. CubFanBob

      The goddamn plane. Has crashed into the mountain

      1. jp3

        Nothing is Fu’d here.

    2. jp3

      That was funny Kyle. I will say we could use one bit of good news this week…
      BREAKING NEWS: top prospects Baez and Bryant were on their way to the grocery store and got into a minor traffic accident where both tore ACLs and also need TJS on both arms… Good day

  6. Required

    In the words of Cousin Eddie Shitter was full!

  7. itzscott

    As a lifelong baseball and Cubs fan I can only draw on experience when I shake my head and mutter…..

    Only the Cubs, only the Cubs.

    Was totally against that mascot, but I can honestly say that I can really use that hug in the picture that dopey stuffed animal seems to only be good for right about now.

  8. Diehardthefirst

    Should Cubs use $20 million to buy out Rooftoppers contract?

    1. BD

      They should go as high as needed, up to $150 million. Since they didn’t get to use it on Tanaka, next best thing would be to get rid of the rooftops (arguably, this would be a better way to spend the money).

    2. Jon

      You think 20 million buys it out? Not good with math, huh, old man.

      1. Diehardthefirst

        Buyout still lets Rooftoppers do whatever they want and can still hold any events without need for new security measures- lets be honest- cant see the game from that far away- it’s an illusion – ever meet anyone that has gone more than once? I know several who have gone once and said cant see much- just go for party -

  9. Jon

    Let me preface, I hate the rooftops and the roadblocks they are in this process, but

    I thought Rickett’s and Kenney’s comments at the convention were immature, unprofessional and not needed. I don’t know if for sure they set off this lawsuit, but why make them?

    Kenney has been doing stupid crap for years making a fool of himself, and I have long questioned Rickett’s business acumen. Rich boy handed everything by daddy..bought him a company to run (InCapital)and the Cubs. Not really business savy though….

    1. BT

      So in a shocking turn of events, you are going to blame the front office for this one? I’ll alert the media.

  10. BlameHendry

    I wonder how much the rooftop owners will kick themselves once they’ve pushed the Cubs so much that they relocated to a new location and stadium, and their customers wont have ANY ballgame to watch.

    At this point I really just have to force myself to stop caring about this team or paying any attention to it. I’ve been a diehard Cubs fan for over 10 years now and it’s hard to just flip the switch off and stop caring. But I know I’d be a happier person if I didn’t give a damn about this team, so I gotta force myself to do so.

    1. Peoria cubman

      I have been a Cub fan since 1962, this will get worked out, minor in the scheme of things.

    2. terencemann

      I give it 0% chance the Cubs will leave Wrigley. If they leave Wrigley, they will have to lease or buy a new stadium while the stadium they currently owns sits empty and cannot be overhauled for other uses.

  11. TommyK

    Ok, screw the rooftops and screw Wrigley. I love it, but if it makes it harder to win burn it down for all I care. Move the team to the suburbs and bankrupt the rooftops. I’ll enjoy the ample parking and modern amenities (assuming the Cubs put together a team worth spending money on at some point.)

  12. cubs2003

    As a Cubs fan, this is a crappy day. Does anyone here have the expertise to know what it would cost to pay the rooftops off? A lot, I’d assume. Would like $100M do it? Am I way off? I would think the Ricketts’ could find that if the future revenues were worth it. With an agreement to buy the properties at market for the neighborhood(non rooftop) maybe? I’ll admit, I know nothing about this stuff and this is probably a stupid post.

    1. Akabari

      I wouldn’t say $100MM is too far off, really. I’m just doing some back of the napkin calculations here, but if the Cubs get 17 percent of the RTO revenues, and various sources have said the Cubs get a payment o around $2Million, then that means the RTO make just shy of 12 million a year. If the agreement lasts 12 more years, that would be $120 MM in revenue. Give a bit of a discount because its being paid in a lump sum and they don’t have to do any actual work or run a business for that long, and yeah. I’d say you’re not too far off.

      1. Akabari

        *10 years

        1. Peoria cubman

          I have socks older than that, still wear em’ too.

      2. aaronb

        Maybe the don’t need to buy all of them? Why not buy the folks who would be blocked by the jumbotron instead?

  13. mjhurdle

    I am really starting to lean towards the ‘Move the Cubs’ camp, and not just because of the latest issue.
    My main reasons to see the Cubs move are
    1) How many more problems will there be? in 10 years when they want to install a 3D video board that every other team has, what hoops will they have to jump through then? I don’t think this is a case where, if they can get past this current situation, it becomes roses and sunshine from here on out. I think this will re-occur in some form every time they want to do something major.
    2) How long can they keep Wrigley relevant? Is it realistic to think that Wrigley can still be around in 30 years? 40 years? Or will it eventually fall apart to the point that renovations can’t maintain it? If Wrigley is a dying stadium anyway, I would rather move now and end this hoopla with the city/rooftops instead of spending the time and money need just to stay another couple decades before bowing out anyway.

    I know the logistics of a move are more complicated than I probably think, but I wouldn’t mind them at least seriously exploring a move now.

    1. Jim

      Once that contract expires with the rooftops, the Cubs will be free to do whatever they like with Wrigley. The roofies will not have a leg to stand on and the City Council has pretty much given in to most of the Cubs wishes on the renovation.

    2. YourResidentJag

      But Ricketts wants to stay so that he can watch that WS with his wife in the bleachers. :)

  14. Mr Gonzo

    I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue! While MLB off-season activity is far from over, the FO has struck out swinging this off-season in some fans’ eyes. The “rule of three” strikes again: 1) a new mascot that appears comical and abrasive toward “tradition”, 2) another runner-up trophy for a big-time FA, and 3) an apparently big step backwards in the renovations – which is important to future revenue streams to lock down FAs. So it goes.

  15. Funn Dave

    Headline is hilarious if you skip over the word “talks” because you’re dumb like me.

  16. drcub1908

    Seriously…as Cub fans please boycott the rooftops..DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON THEM.
    If there position is hurting the larger picture, DO NOT SUPPORT THEM.

    1. Amie

      Boycott the bar owners as well, perhaps even some pickers might help. Anything to put the heat on those rooftop owners!!

  17. Jim

    I mean, almost a blessing we didnt get Tanaka, seeing as how a major revenue source may be significantly delayed..

  18. ColoCubFan

    Time to use that money saved on Tanaka and build a new stadium in the burbs.

  19. dan77

    Rosemount here we come !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. salesguy

    Here is the thing that really ticks me off. This situation, detailed above by Brett, is related to the one below that Tanaka. If the rooftop owners weren’t holding this process hostage, the renovations would already be underway, and just maybe Rickett’s pulls the trigger on blowing away the evil empire’s bid on Tanaka. But, since we’re all being held hostage by a bunch of glorified, to full on themselves to care bar owners, we lost our bid for an impact player. Next time anyone has a chance to talk to a rooftop owner, please thank them for handcuffing revenues when we needed them most. We lost, and will continue to lose on bids for impact players like Tanaka, until this issue is settled. Rickett’s needs to make a firm and final proposal, to the rooftop owners, and if it is not accepted, move! I don’t want to be on the wrong side of another Tanaka, it is time to end this circus.

    1. mjhurdle

      I think that depends on whether you believe that the Cubs lost on Tanaka because they COULDN”T beat the Yankees offer, or whether they WOULDN’T beat the Yankees offer.
      If they thought he was a 110 million dollar offer type player, but they decided to over-pay to around 120-130, that doesn’t mean they would still overpay when the bidding got to 150. even if you had tons of extra money, overpaying a player by 30-40 million doesn’t necessarily make sense.
      Im not saying this is the case, but I don’t think anyone can say they lost Tanaka simply because they couldn’t beat the Yankees offer.

      1. Jon

        When said player is

        A) A very rare commodity, just not in talent, but in the fact that he’s only 25 on the FA market

        B) Doesn’t cost any prospects

        C) Doesn’t costs any draft picks

        I think an overpayment could be justified. I would gladly pay 30 million more if it meant I get a great player, young and keep my all my top prospects

        1. Akabari

          You have to remember that the difference between the two offers you’re naming is essentially adding Jorge Soler to the contract. It isn’t some small amount of money.
          The equivalent of Soler, in dollars.

          1. Jon

            I’d take Tananka and what he gives today, over the potential of a Soler.

            I believe just the other day a well respected prospect/media guy(parks ?) said Soler has the greatest potential(of all the cubs top prospects) to bust at the major league level.

            1. BT

              Which means, of course, he will. Because that is the takeaway from Parks’ statement.

            2. cubfanincardinalland

              And Keith Law said he had 30 Hr a year upside with a decent average, and a rocket arm. He’s been in the US for 19 months, give the young man a chance.

        2. MichiganGoat

          The other issue is the 4 year out clause and no trade clause. That might have been the difference.

          1. Peoria cubman

            Ah, common sense, at last.

        3. mjhurdle

          Maybe, but how do you know you are getting a great player?

          We all get carried away with him because he was the biggest name in Free Agency. And most of us wanted him on the team, so this is not “we didn’t get him so he sucks”.
          But he has been billed as being a solid #2 if everything works out. Do you over-pay 30-40 million in addition to no-trade clause and a 4 year opt out for a solid #2?
          I’m not sure you do. That being said, I dont know what the Cubs scouting reports were, so I can’t say that is what happened. Im simply pointing out that there are more scenarios than simply ‘The Cubs didn’t have the money”.

  21. jh03

    Man, today sucks.

  22. Fastball

    I agree on the rule of 3. But I think it was a swing and miss on item 1. A knee buckling curveball on item 2 (just looking). A thigh high heater on item 3 and we got caught looking. Not much swinging going on. This is a repeat of last off season when the bidding against the Tigers bared no fruit. At some point you have to stop losing or being somebody else’s bitch in this. We are going to have to sign some FA’s who are Mid tier and probably not flip them. Prove to the industry we have our act together before any big name player at any position signs up with the Cubs.

    1. BT

      A big name player will sign with the Cubs if we give them more money than anyone else.

      1. mjhurdle

        ^this

    2. salesguy

      But you need resources coming out of this, and because of the debt situation the Cubs can’t afford stagnant revenues. You will probably have to overpay for one or two TOR starting pitchers when we’re ready, and without the revenues from the reno we don’t have it. So to your point, it will take lots of $$$ in the “prove it” phase of this, and without the revenue to blow away other teams initially, we’re screwed.

  23. TommyK

    I don’t see the case for a TRO here. Any damage to the rooftops is financial. A prerequisite for injunctive relief is an irreparable injury. Financial damages can be repaired through a monetary award. Couldn’t the Cubs move forward and pay the rooftops whatever damages they can prove?

    1. JadeBos

      Exactly what I was thinking. Say the rooftops lose 20% of their business. Cubs pay difference IE. Tell the rooftops to keep the 17% and throw in another million per til the contract runs out.

  24. Fastball

    After these latest events we will find out if there is a chink in the armor of this FO and the owners. Through adversity you find out how strong your team truly is and is the resolve to finish the mission still in their hearts. I think Ricketts need to pack up Wrigley and just leave no warning to anyone. One thing he has that nobody can take from him. He owns Wrigley Field and he owns the Cubs. He can move his team anywhere he wants. I would leave the city of Chicago and the Rooftop Owners completely out of all my thoughts and plans from this moment going forward. Put a plan in motion and stick it up all their A$$es. Comes a point in time where you just have to do it. If he truly has $500MM for renovations then put that toward a new stadium and be done with this nonsense. I would move the Cubs home games to Milwaukee until the new stadium is built. Ya that sucks but something has to be done. Or you have the rooftop owners whacked Al Capone style and burn those damned buildings to the ground. Lastly, Why doesn’t the city just send some inspectors out there an shut those rooftops down for a butt load of saftey violations. Isn’t there an ordinance restricting the height of the buildings. Pass a law that says you can’t put bleachers on top of a building in the city of Chicago. Do Something

  25. Cubbie in NC

    I am just waiting now to hear who the Cardinals are going to sign today to make this day complete… Picked a bad week to quit drinking Bourbon and craft beers…

    1. Jon

      They are going to sign Nelson Cruz on a two year deal and he’s going to put up consecutive 5 win seasons for them.

    2. YourResidentJag

      They’re going to trade for David Price once Garza or Santana goes to the Dodgers.

  26. Los_Capitanos

    Time to cut losses and move to Rosemont.

    1. Jon

      Trade a bunch of crooked politicians in Chicago for a bunch of crooked politicians in Rosemont.

      1. Los_Capitanos

        Crooked politicians are everywhere. I’ll take the crooked ones who offer 25 acres of free land.

    2. LEO L

      maybe to atleast start that threat to move talk but the problem is the cubs being so bad this year they are selling the idea of wrigley100 years. Gonna be hard saying “Wrigley is great check it out” and say “Wrigley sucks we are moving” at the same time.

      1. Los_Capitanos

        Not as hard as you think. It’s been a year since they revealed their renovation plans and the rooftops have been standing in the way at the onset of negotiations.

        It’s time Ricketts plays a little bit of hardball. Come out and say “We are looking into alternative options, we have exhausted all of our avenues to come to an agreement with our neighbors and will not continue to hold the organization’s plans at bay while we litigate with a small percentage of neighborhood homeowners to run our business properly.”

        I don’t own the team like Ricketts does, but if I am the principal owner in a group who just bought a baseball team for close to $1Billion dollars, I would be less willing to allow the roof top owners to tell me how to run my business.

    3. andyb

      I’m joining this camp now. I love Wrigley and its tradition, but I say the Cubs pack up and start a new tradition. (hopefully a winning one) Even if the team still wasn’t good, it would make more people be inclined to go check it out at least once.

  27. Fastball

    Thing with overpaying for Tanaka it just doesn’t make any sense at all. As soon as he falters the entire Cubs Universe will be bitching about how we over payed and are now strapped with a contract that is a boat anchor on the organizations ability to spend. This is almost better that we didn’t get him. None of will be having the conversations about we can’t move his contract and we overpaid or he never delivered. At this point the only way we are going to get a top of the rotation pitcher, a true ACE is to trade for one. In fact if we want some players who are really good we have to make trades from our farm system. Not a bunch, but a few key adds. I don’t think we are trading Shark for two high level pitching prospects either. He isn’t that good and I wouldn’t trade any high level pitching for him if an opposing GM. I just keep what I got if they are going to be that good. I think the Cubs need to put some prospect packages together outside the top 5 -10 in the org and find some trade partners with needs. Otherwise we never get any potential top of the line pitching.

  28. Fastball

    Hell just call the Air National Guard of Illinois and have them perform a training exercise with an Apache chopper, F-16 and tank. 10 sidewinders will get rid of all that crap thats in the way. The Apaches can just hover and analiate the building with 50m rounds and the tank can lob artillary shells every 15 seconds. Those bastards will surrender in a heartbeat.

    1. hansman

      As a veteran…The errors in this post make me cry.

      Then again, it’s not too different than watching any war movie.

      1. Lou Brown

        Indeed. The AIM-9 sidewinder is an air to air missile, not at all designed for ground attack. What you want for this job is a mk82 500lb bomb for each building. And if you want those bombs on target, replace the ANG F-16, with a Navy F/A-18.

        1. Required

          Perhaps if they don’t want to be detected they could use a B-2. Stealth baby!

    2. smackafilieyo

      This comment made me laugh so hard…lmao

    3. CubsFaninMS

      And I can hear Arnold Schwarzenegger right now with a cigar in his mouth: “Klwwok (Clark, the new mascot), geeettt down!!!!”

  29. Ballgame17

    Good grief everyone, I’m as frustrated as anyone but talking about moving from Wrigley? The idea of boycotting the rooftops is much more possible and would actually be enjoyable. I agree with whoever posted, you go once and then you’re good. You honestly feel like you’re a mile away from home plate. I haven’t been in the last few years, but apparently they stop serving beer 1.5hrs-2hrs after scheduled first pitch. A friends GF went to a rooftop for a bachelorette party and because of a rain delay the game started right around 9pm. They seriously stopped giving out beer (part of all-inclusive package) at 9:05pm so basically 1st pitch no alcohol. Enjoy that bachelorette party! Rooftop owners are scumbags, I second that!!

  30. cavemancubbie

    Would any pro ball player sign with a team, with less than adequate facilities, except for greed? (Tanaka?) Wrigley is 100 years old, crumbling concrete, rusting steel, with a small footprint in a congested neighborhood. Except for the field itself, Wrigley is not all that attractive. Just because something is old does not make it beautiful, just nostalgic and definitely wore out. I love a model T Ford but wouldn’t want to use it for a cross country trip, particularly when someone says I can’t make it comfortable, because it’s a classic. Any property has alternative and prosperous alternatives and that includes Wrigley. Hell even the name is meaningless now.

    1. Jason P

      The renovation is still going to happen, it’s just going to take a little longer. And I’d think the beauty of the ballpark would play a very minor role in any free agent’s decision. Way behind money, city, money, competitiveness, money, dimensions of the ballpark, money, endorsement opportunities, and, of course, money.

      The lacking facilities might play a slightly bigger role, but again, the renovation is still going to happen.

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