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respect wrigleyLast week, the Chicago Cubs dropped the mic on the Wrigley Field renovation: they’ll be started it after the season, regardless of their negotiations with the rooftops, and they’ll be seeking approval in early June for their “original” plan, which includes expanded bleachers, moving the bullpens to the outfield, a larger clubhouse, and more outfield signage. It was something of a “your move” moment in their stalled talks with the rooftops, but it was also regarded by those in the know as a serious, legitimate plan.

This week, we’re expected to get more details on the revised renovation plan, and the time line for moving it forward. Bruce Miles and Danny Ecker are already sharing some of the items, and it’s really interesting stuff:

I think the signs don’t look *too* bad. I don’t love having the second video board in right, but it does have a nice balance to it. Further, the fact that two of the seven signs are actually in foul ground in the outfield makes it seem like less signage out there. I dig that part.

That clubhouse one really struck me: starting work in-season? That’s fantastic news, given that the presumption all along has been that any real meat would have to be done in the offseason. I’m going to guess that the expanded clubhouse meant an expanded time line for getting it all done – they’re upping the plan from a 19,000 square foot facility to 30,000 square feet, one of the largest in the majors. It’ll extend underground into the triangle property (under the planned Plaza), so it’s a really major project. I could see why it would take a long time. And, since the clubhouse extends into the triangle property (outside of the ballpark), I can see why they can comfortably start in-season, without disrupting any games. Nicely done.

The caveat, however, to the mid-July groundbreaking, I assume, is the June 5 Landmarks Commission meeting at which the Cubs will seek approval for their revised renovation plan. Although there are good reasons to believe the plan will be approved (and, from there, it’s off to the races), you just never know with Chicago politics. Further, do the Cubs get sued by the rooftops as soon as a shovel hits the ground (or a permit is issued)? And if they get sued, do they stop work until the lawsuit is resolved for fear of creating more costs that they might have to undo?

You’d certainly hope not, but it’s another thing that we’ll just have to see. If the Cubs do continue work on the clubhouse even after being sued about the outfield signage, the Ricketts Family is going to get a hearty pat on the back from me, and probably most folks – because they’ll be footing the bill for the player facilities without knowing for certain that they’ll also be getting the various revenue enhancements on which they’re counting.

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