Not that you needed a reminder, but, as we continue to await some kind of public resolution between the Chicago Cubs and the rooftop buildings with which they have a contract to share revenue for the next ten years, Cubs Chairman and owner Tom Ricketts is going to be asked about getting out of Dodge pretty much any time he speaks publicly.
So it was at the MLB Diversity Business Summit this week, when Ricketts was asked about leaving Wrigley Field.
“We’ve been approached by several suburban sites and alternatives to move the Cubs to a new ballpark,” Ricketts said, according to ESPN, “and although I haven’t studied it thoroughly, I imagine that’s probably an attractive proposition for us.
“But we’ve made it our priority to try to stay where we’re at because of what it does mean to the neighbors and what it does mean to the city, both economically and just from the standpoint of quality of life in general.”
The Ricketts, then, continue to play the role of the good steward, even as those kinds of statements are likely calculated (“yes, we have great options, but we’re trying to do the right thing – stay on our side, people of Chicago”). As I’ve said too many times to recount over the past two years, I remain strongly of the opinion that threatening to move was never going to be a viable public strategy to get these issues settled, because everyone involved knows that there’s simply too much value to the Cubs in staying at Wrigley Field in its present location.
Can we divine anything from Ricketts’ comments, vis a vis the rooftop battle? Probably not. Had he been more strong with his comments about possibly exploring a move down the road if things continue to be a slog, then maybe we’d speculate that discussions aren’t going well with the rooftops. But I don’t really see enough there to say much either way. The sides are clearly still working on things, given that we haven’t heard much of anything in the last month (with Opening Day coming and going). Hopefully that, alone, is a good sign.
Aside: that ESPN piece is an interesting read for some of Ricketts’ other comments, including thoughts on how to help Dominican players, and on how to use lulls in attendance as an opportunity to recruit new fans.