A break in your regularly-scheduled draft coverage for a quick minute to be frustrated about the Wrigley Field renovation.
Yesterday, while announcing the new radio deal with CBS/WBBM, the Chicago Cubs were asked about the status of their efforts to have the City’s Landmarks Commission consider their revised renovation plan for Wrigley Field after the bullpen door controversy set the process back this week.
Unfortunately, the Cubs seem to be completely at the mercy of the Landmarks Commission’s leisure, despite getting the Wrigley work going being good for the City, as well as the team.
Although business president Crane Kenney said that there has been dialog with the Commission now that the Cubs have offered to take the bullpen door issue (the widening of the outfield doors in the landmarked outfield) off of the table for the time being (CSN). But that doesn’t mean a meeting is scheduled.
“At this point, the calendar is up to the city of Chicago,” Cubs vice president of communications Julian Green said, according to ESPN. “The next scheduled meeting could be in July. There are circumstances for special meetings. Again, but I certainly won’t speculate on a date, because the city of Chicago is in control of the calendar. We’re ready, the revised package is done. We’ve communicated that we’re ready to take the bullpen doors [off the table].”
So, the Cubs wait.
In the meantime, the Sun-Times spoke with one of the members of the Commission, and Mary Ann Smith indicated that, despite public appearances to the contrary, she’s not down with the new arrangement in the outfield, which would include seven signs, instead of two. Among Smith’s comments about possibly “killing the golden goose” that is Wrigley Field, she told the Sun-Times, “The biggest question in my mind is, if [the Cubs] really understand the competitive edge they have with Wrigley Field and the historic elements there? Do they really understand how much fun people have and why people from all over the world … come and one of the top things on their list is to go to Wrigley Field? They don’t want to go to something that’s gonna be the same thing they see every place else in the country. People are hungry for authentic experiences. They’re just gonna squander part of the competitive edge that they have.”
I’m sure that the Cubs appreciate the business advice, but I’m also sure that they’re in a pretty good position to know whether or not they’re risking “the golden goose” with this plan. They’ve got charts and calculators and everything.
At first, Smith’s comments – coupled with the Sun-Times’ take that she planned to vote against the revised renovation/expansion plan – really troubled me. Here we go again, I thought. But then I vaguely remembered that I’d seen her name before, perhaps last year when the Cubs were dealing with the Commission the first time around. A little digging, and I found this Sun-Times piece from last July, when the Cubs won unanimous approval at the Landmarks Commission for their renovation plan at the time. A snippet, presented without comment:
Former Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th), a Tunney friend, tried to “stir it up,” as she put it, by suggesting that the vote be postponed until there’s an estimate of how much revenue the outfield signs would generate for the Cubs.
All right, then. Hopefully the revised renovation/expansion plan gets before the Commission in time for the Cubs to break ground in July. But the politics never stop.