Baseball season’s underway, and this is the first night with fifteen full games on the slate as every team was in action. Unfortunately the Cubs lost, but you can’t win them all anyway. Thankfully, you can’t lose them all either, no matter how hard you try. The rubber match is tomorrow and once we get past all the home openers, we’ll no longer have that stupid random off-day problem we had yesterday, except for the weirdo two-game series they have to sprinkle in to make all-year interleague play work. Silly MLB.
We rejoice that baseball has returned, but at some point in late October the season will end and we’ll pine for baseball yet again. However, the team doesn’t stop working just because there are no more games on the schedule for the time being. The more interesting news off the field for the Cubs involves the renovation plans for Wrigley Field. We’ve blogged about this ad nauseum as the Cubs battled the city and the neighborhood for the right to renovate the stadium as they saw fit, and then about the possibility of them moving to Rosemont (yeah, right). We pretty much know that their best bet is to stay right at Wrigley and work out a much more favorable deal than was possible in the Tribune years, when nobody seemed to give a ****.
There are numerous blogs out on the webz already and I encourage you to read them, but I’m going to focus on Dave Kaplan’s report that was shared right in the middle of the Cubs’ offensive fail tonight. In this report, Kaplan explains what we already pretty much know in that the Cubs have extended the deadline for negotiations with the city to next Monday, the home opener at Wrigley, because enough progress has been made. Let’s look at some relevant details:
Several stumbling blocks to a deal still remain, with Alderman Thomas Tunney of the 44th Ward recently asking the Cubs to consider building a very large parking garage north of the stadium that would help to ease the parking problems that plague the Wrigleyville area.
“They have a big lot, a cemetery lot, that if you look at Google is as big as the stadium,” Tunney told the Chicago Tribune. “Can they build on that? Building is expensive, I understand that, but it’s also part of the neighborhood concerns.”
“They’re exploring all their options here,” Tunney said when asked if Cubs officials are amenable to building a garage at Clark and Grace. “And I think primarily from the combination of certain additions in the community and a more robust remote parking plan.”
Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for the Ricketts family, declined to discuss specifics, but said that “parking has certainly been a topic the team has been working hard to resolve.”
I bold/underlined the “cemetery lot” part mostly so I can show you this:
Lulz. Anyway, the construction of the parking structure would definitely alleviate some of the parking issues, and would cost a lot but would also set up lots of work around the area for a couple years while the new structure was erected. There’s a catch:
[Kaplan] learned Wednesday that the cost of a major parking structure which could accommodate a significant number of cars would be very expensive, but is something that the Ricketts family is willing to fund if, and only if, they get a majority of the concessions that they desire regarding renovations. Those include signage, a jumbotron and a significant number of additional night games and concert dates.
This suggests that the Cubs are definitely playing hardball here. You want your extra police and parking and other neighborhood crap? Fine. Let us do what we want to our building. (Speaking from the position of the Cubs, here.)
In addition, sources who have spoken to the mayor’s office confirmed to me tonight that Emanuel’s office wants this negotiation brought to a positive resolution quickly because of the huge amount of money that is at stake for the City of Chicago.
The Cubs’ economic impact is enormous. They are the third-largest tourist attraction in the state and that isn’t because they have such a good team or because they have rooftops overlooking the park.
Sounds here like the mayor cares more about placating the Cubs than the rooftops or the neighborhood, particularly when the former can generate tons of revenue and jobs for a struggling economy. Bonus points for the Cubs here.
There is also speculation that some in Cubs ownership/upper management including Ricketts’ siblings — Peter, Todd and Laura, who are all on the Cubs’ board of directors — have grown tired of the political hardball that they believe Tunney has been playing and they are urging Ricketts to open discussions to see what options are viable for the Cubs to consider before they agree to any deal with the City of Chicago.
Dude…they’re not moving to Rosemont. If the city is going to cave on Cubs demands, especially if the team is already catering to Tom Tunney’s demands for additional parking, then there’s no reason for them to move. They’re going to stay right where they are, they will build their outfield signs and erect a Jumbotron and do everything they want. They’ll probably pull out of the rooftops agreement and tell the rooftops to just keep their money already, because the Cubs can generate more with in-stadium revenue streams.
This is exciting. Can’t wait for Monday, for many reasons.