In the game of liar’s poker between the Chicago Cubs and the City of Chicago, the latest gauntlet has been thrown down in the battle for Wrigley Field renovations. At the Cubs annual gathering of fans, team owner Tom Ricketts (pictured above) said the Cubs were planning on a five-year $300 million dollar renovation to Wrigley Field and the surrounding areas.
However, the Cubs now want Chicago’s help. The Cubs want the city to lessen restrictions on night games, concerts and signage around the park. They’d also like to set up a little mall outside of the park on Sheffield Avenue (the street that runs along the first base side through the right field bleachers) into a similar mall-type environment to Fenway Park‘s Yawkey Way.
Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn’t been overly receptive to renovations at Wrigley Field. Angered over comments made by Ricketts’ father against the Democratic Party (Emanuel is a strong democrat) has soured the whole process along with the Cubs being perceived as unreasonable in their requests. The most ironic part of this whole thing is Emanuel is a Cubs fan.
Meanwhile, the city has been helpful to the Chicago White Sox and renovations at the white elephant known as US Cellular including an interest free and eventually forgiven loan to help upgrade the dump on the South Side. The Cubs have always been one of the city’s biggest tax revenue producers. Businesses in the Wrigleyville area along with property values are strongly helped by the presence of the Cubs. All the White Sox do is not draw fans and there’s little-to-know economic impact by the team.
Ricketts isn’t unreasonable in his demands from the city. What makes all of this comical is the resistance by some of the neighbors to the ballpark including several local businesses. Really? If you bought a house near Wrigley Field you’re going to complain about the team? And local businesses? Get otta here! There’s a reason why these people have chosen to move in that neighborhood.
Frankly, if the city is unwilling to work with the Cubs, I think the team should move. Why should the Cubs kowtow to the city when the city doesn’t give them anything in return. It has to be a two-way street.