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respect wrigleyNot 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.

  • DarthHater

    “how to use lulls in attendance as an opportunity to recruit new fans.”

    So this is what the University of Chicago Business School teaches, eh?

    • Pat

      “Would you say that the popularity of the club is waning”

      “No, no, no, no, no. It’s simply that their appeal is becoming more selective.”

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Who said that spin doctors only work for politicians.

  • Edwin

    I get what Tom is saying about the attendance thing, but it still seems like a strange way to look at it.

  • Jon

    “And we have this opportunity right now where we do have a few seats open from time to time. ”

    lol, a few, you know ten to fifteen thousand or so.

    • Brocktoon

      Maybe he was talking to Joel Osteen when he mentioned bringing in church groups

      • Jon

        Not a bad strategy to bring in more of the “flock”

  • Blackhawks1963

    The large-scale renovation of Wrigley isn’t going to happen. It just isn’t. Not within the next several years at least. Ricketts seems to be content to engage in a badminton match with the rooftop owners and special interests of Wrigleyville instead of taking a flamethrower to things. His milquetoast leadership style is being taken full advantage of by the rooftoppers. And now the Ricketts aren’t quite sure they can cough up all of the $500 M commitment that was to go into the renovation project and hotel build?!? This thing is going backwards folks.

    Sigh.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      One of these days you’re going to have to videotape these meetings you’re sitting in on so that we can all benefit from your high-level access.

      • JB88

        I like snarky Brett. I request more snark in response to some of the posters on this board, please.

        • Jon

          Q: What’s the difference between a brown-noser and a sh*thead?
          A: Depth perception.

          • JB88

            Lot of experience with the topic?

        • Cubbie Blues

          If you have been following Ace for any amount of time, there is plenty of snark to go around.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        I have a feeling it might involve a sort of “tea party” with each of the dolls wearing a name tag and representing members of this conflict. I personally love the creativity of having the stuffed goat be Beth Murphy.

      • 5412

        Hi Brett,

        I see a different approach. You give the other side enough rope. When Ricketts does come out of a meeting pissed and red in the face two things will happen.

        First he will be armed with data on how they did not honor their commitment. When that happens you can no longer negotiate in good faith.

        Second is no one in their right mind would call his bluff because he has the horsepower to see it through.

        As IL continues to deteriorate financially, the unions and suburbs have much to gain from a new stadium.

        Time is on his side and only a couple buildings are marginally affected by the new signs. I can’t imagine the owners, who are also competitors, will stay in lock step because their game is over when the deal expires. If they try to pull the same stuff that happened last time he goes.

        My guess is there is a day, maybe in 2015, when they start plans. A clock is ticking, just taking much longer than it should.

        Regards,
        5412

        • Brocktoon

          How did the rooftops not honor their commitment?

          • 5412

            Hi,

            I am not saying they have backtracked yet! What will put them over the top is when they agree on a negotiation point and then reverse their position. Now that will be what Ricketts will react to I would imagine.

            There is going to come a point in time where there will be an insurmountable impasse. I cannot imagine the rooftop owners are totally in synch. What happens if they agree but then a single owner sues anyway and refuses to sign on to the deal? Then all hell breaks loose.

            Remember the rooftops are a committee, Ricketts has total control on his side of the table.

            Regards,
            5412

    • mjhurdle

      I would love to take this post seriously, but I’m still waiting on your statistics that show that Latino pitchers don’t break down as often.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Actually I think Eskimo pichers break down the least as I’m sure that statistics will show.

        • Funn Dave

          Wrong. Pitchers with brown eyes break down the least. It’s in the bible–it’s a fact.

      • CubChymyst

        Verducci mentioned in his latest article about the over use of young pitchers that of the 20 MLB pitchers who have had tommy johns this year only 1 of them grew up in Latin america. Not sure how this holds up year to year, but there is at least one data point for it.

        • mjhurdle

          true, but that discrepancy is not that great when you consider that a large majority of pitchers are white. If the injuries were directly broken down by ratio, out of 20 pitchers you would expect that 15 would be white, 4 would be Latino, and 1 other.

          And that is just going off the overall percentages. It doesn’t take into account starting vs relieving which might skew it more.

          I’m not even saying it isn’t possible. My point was that BHawks stated earlier that statistics prove that Latino pitchers break down less often. If it is just an opinion, that is fine (though it should still be able to be supported); but when you start claiming things are factual, then I would think that it wouldn’t be hard to bring up the proof.

          [img]http://s29.postimg.org/rb4kccc6v/Demographics3.jpg[/img]

          • DarthHater

            “when you start claiming things are factual, then I would think that it wouldn’t be hard to bring up the proof.”

            It’s hard when the proof doesn’t exist.

            • mjhurdle

              that seems to happen a lot when it comes to BHawks

              • DarthHater

                There’s a zero percent chance that the proof will be produced.

      • King Jeff

        It’s nothing definitive, but there does seem to be a large disparity between American and Latin American pitchers on the TJ surgery list.
        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApDc5PGsBzgVdFpGbk84WnhNZlZ4VlFEY3pDVkFzNnc#gid=3

      • Blackhawks1963

        Reading is fundamental. Facts are fun. Try reading Tom Verducci of CNNSI for the analysis of pitcher injuries over the last several years. It is a statistical fact that only 1 of the current 20 pitchers currently on the shelf with Tommy John surgery is Latino. It is also the validated hypothesis from Verducci that American-born pitchers are throwing very hard and at near max level in high school, whereas you don’t see that from the Latino pitchers at a similar age. You also see more American-born pitchers with dubious mechanics and a focus on being flamethrowers.

        Thanks for playing our game. Vanna will give you a parting gift on the way out.

        • mjhurdle

          it is funny because even when you try to produce facts, you still swing and miss.

          The only fact you just listed was that, this year, 1 out of 20 pitchers getting TJS is Latino. That means absolutely nothing. The rest of it is just “i heard something on the radio, thought i understood it, and am now going to repeat a poorly remembered version of it:

          Now, if someone could show a statistical trend over multiple years that show a lower ratio of Latino pitchers getting surgery vs their representative % of pitchers overall, then THAT would be something that would support that idea. THAT would be what you claimed to have, not some afternoon drive-time radio show or magazine article.

          I guess i’ll keep waiting for those statistics that you claimed to have, but im not very hopeful.

          There is a 0% chance you actually produce statistical backing for this, 20% chance you bring more ground-breaking stats that involve a whole 20 players over the span of less than a year,. and 80% chance you forgot what is going on and think we are talking about Tanaka again

        • DarthHater

          The fact about throwing hard proves nothing. Whether the hard throwing causes more injuries is the question, not the answer. The 1 of 20 current pitchers figure is the only factual support you have. It is consistent with your hypothesis, but is an insignificantly small sample size and, therefore, proves nothing. It’s like saying that we should consider Bonifacio a .050 hitter because he recently went through a 1-for-20 streak at the plate.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I have said it before. This is a classic example of doing nothing, is worse than doing the wrong thing.
    Every day of delay hurts the team.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      So if the Cubs blew up Wrigley Field, that would be better than their current situation?

      • DarthHater

        If the current team was inside when the detonation occurred, then yes. :-P

    • Cubbie Blues

      I disagree, if Hitler did nothing, everyone would be better off.That is an extreme but, still true.

  • Jon

    To me the most troublesome thing is the low level fruit, the right field sign. It has to be very frustrating that they can’t get that erected.

    • Brocktoon

      Wasn’t that approved by all parties and is delayed due to “design issues?” That sounds entirely on the Cubs

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        I had never heard that it was approved by all parties, have a link to this? Last I heard on it was that the Cubs filed for the permit.

        • Brocktoon

          This is the Budweiser sign right? I’ll google a bit memory may be faulty

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Ya the Budweiser sign, thanks. I just hadn’t heard anything on it in a while so it would be news to me

          • Brocktoon

            I’ve got this link saying the permit was applied for in January but the cubs dropped their pursuit of it

            http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-cubs-wrigley-field-parking-20140317,0,3358220.story

            And then Greenberg tweeted this around opening day.

            jon greenberg ‏@jon_greenberg 19h
            FYI: The Cubs Bud sign delay is for design reasons, doesn’t have to do with rooftops. Adding that to my story.

            *all credit to nsbb for making it easy to search for this stuff.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Interesting, I hadn’t seen that. I don’t know if I trust Greenberg but that just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • cubmig

    “Can we divine anything from Ricketts’ comments, vis a vis the rooftop battle?”

    For the time being, nothing……though it’s good to remember that when a “politician” says nothing, he says everything. In this case, Ricketts has dropped a message at the feet of the rooftop owners—-which is an unlit “bomb” that he can lite if he so chooses down the line..

    My opinion? Too much history left to be written at Wrigley for Ricketts to move. He’ll stay put.

  • itzscott

    Everyday delayed is a day of lost additional revenue from what the renovations are anticipated to bring in.

    I’m wondering at what point the money being lost due to the negotiations/delays begins to supersede what the rooftop owners are asking for either in concessions or buy outs (if they are)?

  • DarthHater

    “We can bring people in and give them the Wrigley experience. And as we get better, those opportunities will be harder to come by.”

    Come see us while we still suck!

  • mosconml

    Brett, this may sound like a silly question, but what makes you so sure that there’s too much value in Wrigley and its present location to seriously consider moving?

    I would think the ad space, the upgraded stadium capacity, and the almost-inevitable tax breaks could provide quite a favorable comparison vs. Wrigley, the rooftops, and Chicago politics.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope they stay where they are and things are worked out. But I’m personally disappointed Ricketts hasn’t pushed for more leverage with using the suburbs, because I’m of the opinion that a move could actually be financially attractive.

  • jonred

    How hard is it for Ricketts to sit down with the two rooftop owners who will have their view obstructed, explain that they have a limited time to generate revenue until the contract expires and offer them a deal that compensates them for the revenue over the remaining life of the contract and a nice premium on the property? This delay has to be costing the Cubs more than buying the property would.

    • Cubbie Blues

      If only it were that simple.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Nah. Jon red is just a genius and Ricketts is just a dumb ass.

  • T

    On a side note: I know some Cubs who keep saying that once the Cubs get their TV deal things will great. The team will receive billions of dollars from this, and will be able to become an elite team. That may or may not be the case.

    What I do know is that this country is in trouble when a guy who lives in Chicago cannot watch just a few games for free (btw-there are commercials) of his hometown team on frickin TV without paying for cable or satellite. Really? It’s not enough to make money off of advertising, but now I will have to pay to watch that very advertising. Pathetic! See below on an excerpt regarding the Dodgers TV deal.

    “” The kicker: for the first time ever you can’t use rabbit ears to pick up Dodgers games over the air. You have to subscribe to a cable or satellite provider, and even if you do, you may not get your Dodgers if that carrier doesn’t have the channel. The Dodgers will still get their money — Time-Warner has guaranteed it — but how Time-Warner can make money on this without getting others to go along is an open question.””

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