There hasn’t been much on the Wrigley Field renovation front in the last couple weeks, as everyone seems to legitimately be waiting for the next Landmarks Commission meeting – which isn’t until July 10 – to say or do much.
As you may recall, the Cubs announced that they would move forward with the renovation/expansion of Wrigley Field even without an agreement with the rooftops not to sue (which they are likely to do eventually), but that renovation/expansion plan was modified from what the City approved last year. Being that there was no agreement with the rooftops, the Cubs decided not to compromise on what they’d wanted all along (including seven outfield signs instead of just two). In the process of alerting the City to their revised request, there was a snafu in the communications with the City about the plan to move the bullpens under the bleachers and widen the outfield doors.
That’s where things stand this week, as Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts continues to say only that the Cubs are “looking forward to moving forward” once the Landmarks Commission process plays itself out. Those were his remarks at a recent conference, according to the Tribune. (Read that piece for some interesting organization-building stuff, though I wouldn’t put too much into it because we don’t have much context for the comments. Generally speaking, yeah, the focus is younger, cost-controlled players, and yeah, the Cubs pay their expenses and put the rest of their revenue back into baseball operations.)
All in all, it sounds like we might not hear much until that Landmarks Commission hearing on July 10. The Cubs had previously stated that they wanted to break ground on the first stage of the renovation (the clubhouse below the triangle property (which will become the plaza) west of the ballpark) in mid-July. If approval doesn’t come until July 10, is that timeline still realistic? I’ve actually heard that it is, but, like all things renovation, I’ll believe it when I see it. And I’m sure as heck not going to get cocky about approval at that July 10th meeting. You just never know in this town.
Speaking of which, remember when the Mayor’s Office got so PO’d about the bullpen relocation plan? About how they were not informed about it (the Cubs say it was in the documents that were submitted, but maybe it wasn’t called out enough or highlighted appropriately)? We’ll never know how much of that was legitimate anger and how much was mere political theater, but outgoing Rahm Emanuel aide Matt Hynes, who was closely involved in the multi-year negotiation process, doesn’t sound all that angry anymore.
Here’s a portion of a Q&A Hynes had recently with the Sun-Times:
Q: How frustrated are you with Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and the fact that, with all you’ve done to deliver, he kept you in the dark about enlarging the bullpen doors and altering Wrigley’s ivy-covered brick walls?
A: That was a minor setback, but one that can be overcome. I don’t think it was an intentional effort on the Cubs part to sneak the goods through customs. But once it came to the mayor’s attention, he made his opinion pretty clear. But you’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s important to have the Cub investment in the park and in the community go forward. So you move past it. There’s not a whole lot to be gained from harboring bitterness when you’re trying to get a deal done.
Hopefully Hynes’ sentiment is shared by the Landmarks Commission. That Sun-Times piece has some interesting additional Cubs/politics bits.
And, lastly, since the renovation storyline has been something of a bummer lately, how about something light?
BN’er Miggy is having a little fun in Italy right now, and thought he’d share some of that fun with us:
— Miguel Ramirez (@miggy8035) June 26, 2014
It took 10 years to build the Colosseum and then 15 years to renovate it, so maybe the Cubs are right on schedule.