Skip to content

The Ricketts family takes a new tack to get Wrigley Field renovated

Jan 21, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

Wrigley Field

Since the day they bought the Cubs, the Ricketts family has been trying to get Wrigley Field renovated. For over two years their efforts were focused on getting public funds to do so. This has gone nowhere, mostly because the Ricketts seem to be awful at politics.

Their first attempt was to ask for state money. This despite the fact that the family patriarch, Joe Ricketts, heads a PAC dedicated to ending public wasteful public spending. Public officials in Mesa, Arizona didn’t mind the disconnect, giving them money for their new spring training facility, but politicians in Springfield were not buying it.

When the state told them to pound sand, they asked for the city of Chicago to divert amusement tax money to the ballpark. This was being negotiated for some time and actually looked like it may work. But then Joe Ricketts’ PAC hatched a plan to run racially-tinged anti-Obama ads (they were to feature “a literate black man” so as to deflect accusations of racism). Which, hey, free country. Unfortunately the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, is Obama’s friend and former chief of staff and he was livid about it. That pretty much killed off any city cooperation.

Now Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the Ricketts have a new plan. This one is different. It presents the possibility of no public funding at all, as long as they can do whatever the hell they want to Wrigley Field and the surrounding area:

The lobbying efforts will revolve around asking the city to ease restrictions on the ancient ballpark, and not begging for public assistance, which had become such a non-starter, especially during a bitter presidential election … The negotiations will center around allowing the Cubs to put up more advertising signage, a move that would take aim at the rooftop owners, and schedule games at times that would maximize revenue … “We’re not a museum,” Ricketts said. “We’re a business.”

This is somewhat logical and less offensive than asking for tax dollars. It’s the Ricketts’ ballpark and the Ricketts’ team. While they were certainly aware of the historic nature of the property they were buying, that property does house a competitive modern business and they should be allowed, within reason, to exploit it for revenue-generating purposes. That “within reason” part seems, at least at first blush, to be being honored inasmuch as Ricketts is claiming that they’re not asking for Wrigley Field’s landmark designation to be revoked and, within that context, there are limits to how radical they can be. It may anger purists to see more advertising and jumbotrons and stuff, but the purists don’t have to pay Edwin Jackson, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.

Of course I’m still a bit dubious here. I’m wondering if this is less of a real push to do the Wrigley renovations on their own and more of a high class extortion job: “You got a nice, historical ballpark here. Be a shame if someone commercialized it and used it in a way that disrupted the neighborhood and pissed off the neighbors a lot. Yep, a real shame. Too bad we can’t do anything about it …”

Latest Posts
  1. Brewers minor leaguer suspended for drugs

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT

    Police Blotter

    Looks like he picked the wrong week to not stop doing amphetamines.

  2. A’s lose Craig Gentry to broken hand, call up speedster Billy Burns

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    Craig Gentry A's AP

    A’s outfielder Craig Gentry began the season on the disabled list with a back injury and now, after hitting just .264 with zero homers and a .625 OPS in 80 games, he’s going on the shelf again with a broken hand.

  3. A lost Red Sox World Series ring leads to some good things for a Yankees fan

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.43.30 PM AP

    Do the right thing and good things happen. Not always, but here, yes.

  4. Yankees designate Jeff Francis for assignment

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

    Two weeks ago the Yankees acquired Jeff Francis from the A’s as a roster reinforcement, but now they’ve designated the journeyman left-hander for assignment.

  5. So maybe Cole Hamels is available after all

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    cole hamels getty Getty Images

    After a couple months worth of reports that Cole Hamels is not on the market . . . maybe he’s on the market.

  6. Rays activate Joel Peralta, designate Erik Bedard for assignment

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Joel Peralta AP

    Bedard was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen three weeks ago, but has barely pitched since then and at age 35 could be nearing the end of the line.

  7. Andrelton Simmons made another incredible play

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    andrelton simmons getty Getty Images

    At this point I’m almost convinced that the ground balls are purposely doing strange things just to test the limits of what Simmons is capable of.

  8. Dodgers acquire Darwin Barney from Cubs

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Darwin Barney Getty Getty Images

    Last week the Cubs designated infielder Darwin Barney for assignment and now Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that they’re close to trading him to the Dodgers.

  9. Oswaldo Arcia Bo Jackson’d his bat after a strikeout

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT

    Oswaldo Arcia AP

    Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was unhappy about striking out yesterday against the White Sox, so he snapped his bat over his knee, Bo Jackson-style.

  10. Ray Rice is awful, but let’s not pretend baseball has a great record on domestic violence

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT

    Milton Bradley angry

    The NFL weighed in on domestic violence and concluded “eh, no big deal.” MLB has tended to avoid the matter altogether.

  11. Jason Heyward leaves game with back injury

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Jason Heyward Getty Getty Images

    Braves right fielder Jason Heyward left this afternoon’s game what the team is calling lower back soreness.

  12. Phillies release Tony Gwynn Jr.

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT

    tony gwynn jr. getty Getty Images

    Gwynn had a brief run as a regular for the Padres and Dodgers, but he profiles strictly as a backup outfielder at this point and at age 31 will likely have to prove himself at Triple-A for a while after hitting just .163 in 67 games for the Phillies.

  13. “If The Boss Was Still Alive” Watch: George Steinbrenner was absent from Joe Torre’s Hall of Fame speech

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.55.47 AM

    Soon we’ll be praying to Steinbrenner before every meal and thanking him for all that He has bestowed upon us.

  14. Before and after: Dmitri Young lost a TON of weight

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    John McDonnell / TWP and via @Nationals) John McDonnell / TWP and via @Nationals)

    During his 13-year MLB career Dmitri Young was one of the largest players in baseball, often struggling with his weight while being listed at 6-foot-2, 295 pounds.

  15. Ubaldo Jimenez set to begin rehab assignment (again)

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Getty Images

    Ubaldo Jimenez was scratched from his scheduled minor-league rehab start last week, but now the Orioles right-hander is slated to start Tuesday at Triple-A as he comes back from an ankle injury.

  16. Bill Simmons’ depressing take on “Bull Durham”

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT

    Bull Durham

    Sportswriting’s biggest star around reduces one of the most interesting and well-drawn female characters in all of sports movies to “a tramp.”

  17. Rangers drawing lots of trade interest in Alex Rios

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Alex Rios AP AP

    With an MLB-worst 41-64 record the Rangers are obviously looking to sell at the trade deadline and right fielder Alex Rios seems likely to be moved before July 31.

  18. Felix Doubront tells the Red Sox: Start me or trade me

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Getty Images

    First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp has asked the Red Sox for a trade and apparently left-hander Felix Doubront wouldn’t mind leaving Boston either.

Featured video

Three legends off to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches