Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Reactions from a Variety of Quarters, Including Rooftops and Tunney

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Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Reactions from a Variety of Quarters, Including Rooftops and Tunney

Chicago Cubs

respect wrigleyWhat, you thought that just because the general parameters of a deal were in place that the obsession would end? Silly rabbit.

Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Alderman Tom Tunney announced that they’d come to an agreement on a deal that would allow the Cubs to proceed with their renovation of Wrigley Field. That deal, of course, is contingent on the Cubs/City/Alderman moving through the necessary Planned Development/Landmark Commission/City Council Ordinance processes. Here’s an exhaustive look at the Wrigley renovation deal, as the Cubs would like it to be, as well as what’s to come in the process.

Obviously there were a number of interesting reactions to the Wrigley deal revelation …

  • The Rooftops immediately issued a press release, which was easily the friendliest in their recent deluge of correspondence. They did, however, remind everyone that they want a voice in this process, by any means necessary: “We are pleased the Chicago Cubs will participate in a community process to flesh out these details more in-depth. However, no community process, city ordinance, or agreement without our consent can or should dismiss contractual rights granted to us by the Chicago Cubs in 2004. Rooftop owners reserve the right to use any and all means necessary to enforce the remaining 11 years of our 20-year contract.”
  • Alderman Tunney released a statement (h/t Mike), which praised the Cubs and the Mayor for coming to an agreement, but cautioned that there’s still a process ahead. His statement reads, in part: “I must stress, however, that there remains a great deal of work to do, especially with regard to community input. As the statement notes, the plans, with many more specifics detailed, will be reviewed as part of the Planned Development, Landmarks and City Ordinance processes. The Cubs started the process with a comprehensive list of desired elements and outcomes. While I am committed to the framework released earlier today, there is no doubt that community input is vital regarding several elements that would most affect the quality of life for neighborhood residents and businesses.” As I said yesterday, the contours of the Cubs’ proposal are likely to change slightly as the community’s input is memorialized, but I don’t anticipate the final deal not looking a great deal like the Cubs/Mayor/Alderman have proposed.
  • Crain’s Danny Ecker got reactions from a variety of neighborhood folks/groups, and it sounds like the bump in night games – from 30 to at least 40 – is the most unnerving part of the plan. That’ll be an aspect to watch, when the new night game ordinance is introduced at City Council at some point in May.
  • Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times notes the discrepancies between the Cubs’ proposal released yesterday and the joint statement released late Sunday night. She’s also got the react quote from the Mayor, but it’s relatively generic, rah-rah stuff.
  • Jon Greenberg wrote a long, witty take, as he does. I couldn’t quite ferret out the thesis, but I have increasingly found that Greenberg is among the more enjoyable reads these days, so long as you enter into it with the right perspective: he’s going to snark, he’s going to dump on the Cubs/ownership a bit, he’s going to make a handful of good points, and he’s going to make you chuckle.
  • Paul Sullivan wonders why the Cubs have been hiding the ball on the JumboTron. Obviously it became clear over the course of the last couple months that the JumboTron has always been an integral part of the Cubs’ renovation/funding plan, and was planned for 2014. So, if that’s true, why not announce it at the Cubs Convention with all the other planned improvements, especially if the JumboTron is at least half about improving the fan experience? These are fair questions that Sullivan asks. I suspect the answer is simply a combination of (1) it’s a sensitive issue, given the tradition element, and the Cubs wanted to roll it out slowly, and (2) it’s one of the few aspects of the renovation that was seriously imperiled by outside forces. Why announce plans for a JumboTron, rile up half of the fan base, and then ultimately have the plan scuttled by the rooftop owners and Alderman Tunney? That was a risk the Cubs didn’t think worth taking until they knew for sure they could get the JumboTron.
  • I think it’s worth emphasizing something Tom Ricketts said in his comments yesterday during the press conference: if the renovation plan goes through as the Cubs have proposed (and the Mayor/Alderman have agreed), Ricketts said, the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series at Wrigley Field. It’s big talk, and something you’d normally just chalk up to an owner being an owner. But Ricketts knows how impactful those words are to Cubs fans, and he knows he has a role in making it come true. In other words, his previous claims that every dollar that comes in the door will be put back into the organization will be further put to the test as revenues grow. When he says that the Cubs will win the World Series, I expect the Ricketts Family to back that up with dollars.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.