Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Cubs Reportedly Discussing “Options Elsewhere”

respect wrigleyThroughout all three rounds of the will-the-Cubs-leave-Wrigley-Field drum banging sessions – when public financing options fell through a couple years ago, when the City struggles were ongoing last year, and now that the rooftop battle is reaching a fever pitch – there hasn’t been a single sourced report that indicated the Cubs were seriously considering the possibility of abandoning Wrigley Field.

Sure, there were whispers of some members of the ownership group wanting to think about it, there were overtures from various suburbs, and there were public statements that left all possibilities on the table. But there wasn’t a report saying, yes, the Cubs are actually thinking about going down this path. Although it probably cost them some leverage throughout, it also recognized the reality of the value of Wrigley Field in its present location.

And now Dan Bernstein reports this:

I share it with you mostly because it is something of a first report, not necessarily because I buy it entirely. I have stated my case about the implausibility/undesirability of a move countless times over the past few years, and I’m disinclined to get into it again today because of this tweet.

Suffice it to say this report could get another very public conversation going, and it’s worth discussing. Maybe the Cubs really do start exploring other options – despite a yearlong effort to secure approvals from the City, despite agreements with multiple sponsors for ads at the current Wrigley Field, and despite the Ricketts Family buying up tens of millions of dollars of property all around Wrigley, and despite the inherent value of a century-old ballpark that draws fans from around the world by itself (a ballpark that is the singular focus of the Cubs’ promotional efforts this year) – and I will simply sit with my ears and eyes open for what is to follow.

Probably nothing. But maybe this report takes the public campaigning to an entirely new level.

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

253 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Cubs Reportedly Discussing “Options Elsewhere””

  1. Sandberg

    Charade or no, I hope they continue this process forward. They need to make it clear they are nobody’s bitch.

  2. SalukiHawk

    I am and will always be a CUBS fan. I love Wrigley, but if success means leaving Wrigleyville behind, SO BE IT. Part of me aches to see that neighborhood get its comeuppance, and kill the goose that laid the ultimate golden egg.

    A Wrigley reproduction in Highland Park, or Skokie, or wherever! They will still be the CHICAGO Cubs, and I will still support them. If this whole mess is going tie the renovation up in litigation for years, and still potentially limit the ability to grow and generate revenue, continue to push Cubs…but be ready to make good on the promise! Heck, it’s probably good to move every 100 years or so anyway!

  3. cubfanincardinalland

    I hear the Cubs feel they are at a crossroads on the whole mess. They want to go ahead with the right field sign and the accompanying revenue, but there is a problem. Putting up the sign means knocking out the walls in right field, which is basically starting the renovation. And it is not cheap to do. The alternative is just put the sign up without any construction, but that creates another problem. Doesn’t really fit the “expansion” description, and possibly makes them very vulnerable in not living up to the terms of the contract. Just putting up a sign that blocks a view, may be hard to call expanding Wrigley.
    Apparently Tom’s brothers have just about had it, and are pushing him hard for other options. They thought they had a deal, and the rooftops came back with putting the video board across the street. Reached the point of exasperation.

  4. diehardcubsman

    it should not cost me more money to park my car than it does to buy a ticket to the game. Move to a place you can build a parking lot, put a roof on the place and your actual attending attendance may go up. There are a lot of games people don’t show up to because the weather is either too hot or too cold. And it sucks driving 2 hours to see a game rained out.

  5. bushybrows74

    The big mystery to me is how this tweet was discovered. Who can possibly follow Dan Bernstein?

  6. eastcountycubsfan

    Maybe they ought to just put up the D*#m sign and let the fun begin! Life is too short, you know. Given the enormous public and political pressure, this mess will come to a resolution well before Brett’s kids grow up! If they build it…well, you know the rest!

  7. 5412

    Hi,

    Interesting position for the rooftop owners. From their perspective, they are screwed if they give in, and they are screwed if they force the team to leave.

    The logical approach is to cut the best financial deal they can; perhaps selling out to the team.

    If egos get involved, then it is screw it! If I am going down, I will take the team down with me. Nonsense maybe, but who the hell knows, I have seen dumber things happen.

    That is where Mr. Mayor comes into play. Now he needs to apply some real pressure on the owners whether it is daily visits from the fire marshal,, or whatever whatever typical tools the city uses for persuasion.

    regards,
    5412

    1. brainiac

      i’ve been saying this for a while. the ricketts can just buy the buildings and add it to costs if they’re so concerned. it probably became obvious that there was a bigger upside if they can move the team to a larger stadium and have more control over a larger proximity of commercial space.

      it’s so simple, the owners can wait out their contract, or buy the buildings. the blame game is a PR tool for other initiatives now in motion, at least in aspiration.

      1. 5412

        Hi,

        I believe he tried to buy the buildings and they said NO. Like this whole mess, it likely was a matter of how much the rooftop owners would sell for.

        Regards,
        5412

  8. TimBeam

    I’d be….kind of okay with moving, but not moving out of the city. I like being the CHICAGO Cubs. I’ve always disliked how the Giants and Jets are New York’s teams.

    I get that there is probably no space at all within the city (outside of purchasing Northerly Island for a ridiculous amount of money. That’d be awesome), but I just don’t like leaving the city of Chicago for the suburbs. I wouldn’t go to nearly as many games. And moving would essentially put countless small-business owners out of business in Lakeview

  9. Diehardthefirst

    You know- if Ricketts didn’t help Zell dupe the IRS with bogus 5% then Zell wouldn’t have sold to Ricketts- buyers remorse?

  10. eastcountycubsfan

    Hmmm….buy the buildings around the park. Does that mean there’s no leftover budget and we get to watch Independent League caliber players at Wrigley for the next 10 years? I’m hoping the city helps bring both sides together and works out a settlement. I know this is too simple a proposal but let’s have some fun: Calculate the lost revenue for a rooftop owner with an obscured view by at the end of the season, subtracting the Cubbie Tax due from last year’s amount paid. The Cubs should “generously” offer to reduce that season’s Cubbie Tax by some agreed-to-percentage of that “lost” revenue amount. The Cubs get their sign and its revenue. The rooftops get some relief from the Cubbie Tax. The Cubbie Tax the team loses just might be an incentive to field a more competive team. Maybe, just maybe, if they ever put together a good team again, the rooftops and park are full and its a win/win for all.

    1. bpaoni

      I believe one of the rooftops sold at a bankruptcy auction for about $4-$8 million a few years back. At that price the entirety of the group would cost you roughly one Edwin Jackson contract….I think we can live with that.

      1. Patrick W.

        Ahhh so that means if they had to buy 10 buildings it would cost BETWEEN 40 AND 80 MILLIONDOLLARSYOURSPREADISTOOBIG!

        Between $4MM – $8MM? I remember too! It was between a nickel and 900 Trillion Dollars. ;)

  11. Dustin S

    It’s interesting to go back and read some of the information/tidbits from back when the 2004 rooftop deal was reached. The Cubs original offer to the rooftops was for 50 years, and the rooftops actually backed it down to shorter-term…that would have been ugly. I also forgot that at the time what got the whole rooftop discussion going was that the Cubs wanted to add 2000 bleacher seats, and in the end the rooftop deal (effectively) added 1700 seats which cheaply and easily gave the Cubs what they wanted at the time.

  12. Diehardthefirst

    Without Sosa gone wild there would be no Rooftoppers – started as way to watch Sosa home runs – thank you Bud

  13. Voice of Reason

    So, a second rate radio guy tweets that the cubs are considering moving and we are now up in arms.

    This guy is not credible. If it had legs it would be national news.

    Reminds me when Kaplan and Levine were tweeting that cubs were front runners for tanaka.

    Consider the source of the tweets. Didn’t we learn our lesson from Tanaka?

    1. BT

      If the WERE moving it would be national news. The fact that they’ve taken moving from no to some consideration is local news. Bernstein has sources with the Cubs. That they would inform him that Ricketts is considering moving is news, but doesn’t mean it’s happening.

  14. arta

    started way before sosa.

  15. bobby

    This has to be an attempt at gaining some leverage in ongoing negotiations. I doubt RIcketts and FO would want to leave even with the renovation setbacks and rooftops owners debacle. Wrigley Field and the surrounding Wrigleyville bring in soooo many fans. Its not like they have been putting winning teams out there and the attendance is still high. It has become one of the coolest concert venues as well. I don’t think a new park in a nearby suburb would draw the same crowd win or lose. With that being said I think they should feign the desire to move to gain any and every advantage they can. I would love to see them find a way to buyout the rooftops.

    1. brainiac

      yeah they just gotta buy those rooftops already and get this over with, or make their move and show their cards about the burbs.

      i personally think the suburbs are the worst place in the history of humankind. so if they move out of the city i wont go to any games. so they have a chipotle on the fourth floor near the masseuse, big deal. i came for the ivy and the old style. well i used to go for the old style..

  16. Jon

    I don’t know where this “pain in the ass” stuff for the Allstate Arena comes from…I go to Wolves games all the time (granted, a Cubs game would be heavier volume) and it’s really not that bad in terms of getting in and out of the parking lot and onto the highway.

    1. Brocktoon

      The wolves drew 7177 people/game last year. I get that cubs attendance would drop in rosemont, but I don’t think it will fall that far

      1. Bill

        I’m not sure attendance would drop. Add in more signage, more luxury boxes, parking, more night games, and I think it would be a revenue winner for the Cubs. The problem is the Ricketts don’t want to risk the sure thing in revenue (Wrigley) for something that could bring in as much or more revenue (a suburban stadium).

        I’d love for them to move. Get rid of the hassle of dealing with the rooftops. I’m not a big fan of Wrigley, at least not going to games there. Pain in the next to get in and out of the place, parking, and it’s a dump. The only games I’ll go to now are when the Cubs go to Milw or Stl.

        1. Brocktoon

          Where could you possibly live that it’s more convenient to go to games in Milwaukee or st Louis?

          1. Bill

            Iowa

  17. Jon

    Well, I’ve also been to concerts there that have been packed the max(18+ K), and still didn’t have any issues. Nothing out of the oridinary for any stadium/park.

    1. Brocktoon

      Right, nothing out of the ordinary for any stadium which still sucks. Now double that. Km picturing something akin to trying to get on the expressway after an nd football game which might just be the worst experience a human can face on this earth

  18. MichiganGoat

    I really wish I could cryo-sleep until spring training games begin and everyone has something meaningful to discuss, because 240+ comments everyday that go like this:
    Comment 1: the Cubs should move to the burbs for XYZ
    Comment 2: Nuh uh stay Wrigley for XYZ
    ***now if it stopped here fine even though the same arguements have been repeated 1000 times but this is what happens**
    Comment 3: Nuh uh you don’t know what your telling about I blah blah blah (unmeasurable BS)
    Comment 4: Nuh uh I know blah blah blah (more unmeasurable BS)
    Comment 5: oh yeah I can piss this far… parking, traffic, blah blah blah
    Comment 6: no I’m better and can piss THIS far… bars, neighborhood blah blah blah
    ***and this goes on and on day after day in a constant loop***

    Meanwhile an amazing article on Rizzo gets like 60+ posts… because it’s too hard to understand for many of you? We have really become a pathetic bunch of whinny complaining fools, way to make Cub fans look great everybody.

    1. Bill

      So, you elect to bitch about fans who bitch. Sweet.

      Oh, agree the Rizzo article was very good. I’m pretty sure everyone understood it. Rizzo had a BABIP (ground balls the focus of the article) that was very unlucky last year and should increase this year, which will help make his numbers look better this year. Yep, that’s really difficult to understand. Is there something else you’d like to add about the RIzzo article or do you want to continue bitching there’s not enough posts talking about the article?

      Sure glad you are around to make sure Cub fans look great. Keep up the good work.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Well you keep enjoying St a Louis because Wrigley is soooo difficult for you. Like I said a bunch of fools- you’d rather go to there says enough about you.

  19. Chef Brian

    Well then….I can’t wait till pitchers and catchers report!

  20. hawkcub

    Is this tweet really any different then what the Cubs spokesperson told levine last week. Remember this is Bernstein the guy always says stuff to get listeners.

  21. ClevelandCubsFan

    Stadium idea: It would face some challenges (but what else is new), bur what about the former Miggs Field site for a ground up modernized rebuilding of Wrigley field. It might not be old but it’d be a jewel box, bricks, ivy, and instead of Waveland there’d just be waves. And the Cubs could add a Cubs museum to transition from surrounding interests (museum campus).

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