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Quote of the Day: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the Wrigley Field renovation plans

Jan 23, 2013, 3:52 PM EDT

Wrigley Field

The Cubs released their dramatic Wrigley Field renovation plans the other day. The plans which, assuming the city agrees to allow the team to play more night games, erect more signage and to close off Sheffield Avenue on the weekends, the team’s owners will pay for themselves.

Carrie Muskat of got a comment from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about all of that:

“When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars,” Emanuel told reporters. “I said, ‘No.’ Then they said, ‘We’d like $150 million taxpayer dollars,’ and I said, ‘No.’ Then they asked if they could have $100 million in taxpayer subsidies, and I said, ‘No.’ Then, they asked about $55 million in taxpayer subsidies. I said, ‘No.’ The good news is after 15 months, they’ve heard the word, ‘No.’

Thank you. More of this please. From every public official who is ever asked to commit public dollars to a professional sports team.

  1. chacochicken - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    But what if they threaten to move the Cubbies to Des Moines?

    • theskinsman - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      It would be a shame if the Cubs do move away from Wrigley. But with Rahm busy patting himself on the back as his city swirls the bowl, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • jarathen - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      There is already a team in Des Moines called the Cubs. They’re roughly as good as the Chicago Cubs.

      • chacochicken - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        There’s always Sioux City.

      • jarathen - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        Thus displacing the Explorers. Cedar Falls & Waterloo only have a summer college thing going on; let the Cubs move there. Or maybe Dubuque.

    • uwsptke - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      You can’t move a team to Iowa, then Minnesota will want one too.

    • skids003 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:26 AM

      He is saving all that big money the city has to give to his voters, since none of them are working right now.

  2. echech88 - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    In almost every other case I agree with the idea of government not kicking in for sports arenas/stadiums…but this is a unique situation where the ballpark is classified as a historical landmark and the city has say on what they can and cannot do with it.

    I understand the owners were aware of this when they bought the Cubs, but still. This isn’t a case of Miami paying for a ballpark and Loria filling it with things most baseball fans are embarrassed by (CF sculpture, not just Hanley Ramirez). This is a little give and take and I can see where the owners are coming from with the conditions on their private financing.

    • seitz26 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      But in many cases, the city has an incentive to buy in to at least have some say over how things are done. Chicago doesn’t need to buy in for that purpose, so what the incentive for the city to give money to people who already have more than enough to make the changes they want to make? The City of Chicago already has all of the leverage it needs. And it can be reasonably certain that any threat to move out of Wrigley is a pretty empty one.

      Not to mention that many of the things the Ricketts’ are planning would tend to kill a lot of what people (not necessarily myself) find charming about Wrigley. Full disclosure, I live about a 10 minute walk from Wrigley, but am not a Cubs (or Sox) fan, so as far as I’m concerned they can do whatever they want to the stadium. I’d just prefer not to see city money go towards it.

  3. barrywhererufrom - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Hey Dead Fish what about those shootings in ChiTown that you happen every five minutes..who gives a crap about this hack..

    • cur68 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      Barry’s Dad, this comment of yours is particularly incoherent. To whom is it being addressed and what does it have to do with tax dollars NOT going to subsidize baseball stadiums owned by really rich guys? Please stop smoking crack.

  4. dcfan4life - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Thats quite impressive actually. I mean if he said no that hard for that long it means the Cubs owners don’t know how to bribe an elected official. And to fail at that, in Chicago, is equally impressive…

    • schlom - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Although it’s possible that Rahm is just holding out for more.

  5. jarathen - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Chicago has a litany of problems and needs every single penny. Good for Emanuel.

    • paepae805 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Chicago is the arm pit of the midwest.

  6. randygnyc - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    The godfather just hasn’t been paid yet. Corrupt scumbag.

    • El Bravo - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Rahm has been the opposite of corrupt. Have you ever paid attention to Chicago politics historically? He’s cleaning up a lot of bullshit here. Stop reading Drudge for your news silly.

      • sportsdrenched - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        but Breitbart is completely legit, right?

      • El Bravo - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Breitbart is a d to the nozzle.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Yes Bravo. We can believe everything ole’ Rahm says. Dude is 100% honest.

      • El Bravo - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        I love how non-Chicagoans have such strong opinions on the man yet know nothing about his tenure as Mayor here.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Great point about “Non-Chicagoans” not knowing a thing about his tenure as mayor.
        Most don’t. But living about (2 1/2 – 3) hours southeast of Chicago I happen to follow the goings on in Chicago far more than I want to. I know guns are “terrible.”
        Subsequent bans were/are incredibly important to stop the senseless killings.
        Yet…people are literaly dropping like the flies that hang around Rham and his cronies.
        Speaking of Rahm specifically…all we have to base our opinons on is his track record.
        Which happens to be horrible. That’s about all I know. All wrong I am sure. Way off base I am sure. Nothing to see here.
        But I still love you Bravo. We are in their like swimwear.

      • El Bravo - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        I have a lot to say of course, but I’m going to take puff and pass instead.

    • tslaw007 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      Apparently you forgot that Rahm committed millions of tax payers dollars to cellular field. Wrigley is one of the top tourist attractions in the city and brings people from all over the US thus bringing in money to the area. The cell can’t even average 30,000 fans during a World Series year. I know a lot of you are sensitive and won’t admit this but the cubs were on there way to getting those tax dollars until Ricketts Sr. Pissed off a certain Obama worshiper…….

  7. smoochytherhino - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Translation: “Who do the Cubs think they are, General Motors? No taxpayer dollars for groups I can’t then exploit for my own gain.”

    • 18thstreet - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Really? We’re going to litigate this? Here? Fine.

      The bailout of GM worked exactly as intended. The company was saved, the jobs were saved, and GM paid us back. I was opposed to the bailout; I was sure it wouldn’t work. I was wrong. It did work. GM was saved and then they paid us back.

      Go complain about Solydrea, or whatever the f@#! is on the cover of now.

      • tadthebad - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

        Did GM pay everything back? Did the US profit or take a loss?

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        given that the US still owns, like, 40 percent of the stock, we won’t know for years if we turned a profit on it.

        Then again, the income tax revenues from all those people who didn’t lose their jobs — at GM and its suppliers — probably easily makes up whatever “loss” the government may have taken (or will take) over a shorter budget window.

      • tadthebad - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        OK, thank you. Given the value of stock I’m skeptical that the whole thing was a success despite the income tax revenue you reference. Not looking to further the argument, just not convinced it’s that simple.

  8. drkincaid - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Makes it sound lime negotiations went like this scene from Bad Santa:

    Marcus: How much?
    Gin: Half.
    Willie: No f’ing way…
    Marcus: Just back off, Will, I got this. I got this! Okay, 30%. That’s three of us. 30%, that’s fair.
    Gin: Half.
    Marcus: I meant 33%.
    Gin: I meant half.
    Marcus: And 1/3.
    Gin: Half.
    Marcus: 35%.
    Gin: Half.
    Marcus: 40%.
    Gin: Half.
    Marcus: 42%?
    Gin: Half.
    Marcus: Um… 45%.
    Gin: [Thinks for a minute] Half.
    Marcus: 48%?
    Gin: [In British accent] Half.
    Marcus: 49%?
    Gin: Half.
    Willie: Well it’s only 1%

  9. senioreditor2 - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    One quick, “we’re thinking of moving to……..” and Rahm will assist the team with whatever they need…………..

  10. El Bravo - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I love the Godfather.

  11. mungman69 - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Just say no.

  12. cackalackyank - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Overall I think Rahm is just being used here. He is probably figuring that his “political capital” is best spent protecting the status quo in the Wrigleyville area. The Ricketts are probably counting on that. They probably already have been looking for places to put the new Cubs ball park. Once he goes on record as not being in favor of giving the Ricketts the concessions they have asked for, the dietarily challenged lady will finish her song, and Wrigley field will pass into history. You will notice he is not quoted on that just yet, just tax dollars being used,

    • kinggw - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Im not sure I understand what you’re getting at. I don’t see how the Ricketts could avoid dealing with Emanuel if they want to stay in the city of Chicago. Furthermore, I don’t think the threat of a new ballpark would go over well with the Wrigley faithful. Its one thing to propose renovations that update the park and keep it viable, its another to suggest leaving and getting a new one because you didn’t get the concessions you wanted. Kudos to Emanuel for making the Billionaires use their own coin.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        Exactly what I am getting at. The last time I checked Baseball is a business.. unless you are naive enough to believe that Loria is the only profit grubbing owner there is. There are big $ on the line here. Not just the 300 million the owners are offering to put into a 100 year old stadium. Are you so certain the Ricketts care about the Wrigley faithful more than they care about increasing the value of their investment? The point is it is VERY possible that they have gauged the political climate knowing that neither tax payer funding option or self funding with strings might work. So now they can always say that they offered to renovate the cities land mark but shucks they said no. ‘Now if we want to be able to be competitive and give our fans a winning tradition we have to look elsewhere for a venue’. Voila, drawings for a modern stadium, capacity 45,000 with luxury boxes, a parking lot, still near to mass transit and with great player amenties magically appear. Not a certanty but not unforseeable.

      • tslaw007 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        Is Reinsdorf not a Billionaire? Why was no one bitching about taxpayer dollars for an irrelevant ballpark? I’m definitely a glutton for punishment because I continue read and respond to idiotic comments. It’s not like Ricketts went into his bank and whipped out 800 million for the cubs. He had investors and numerous loans.

    • seitz26 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      I’m not sure people realize just how much the appeal of the Cubs in Chicago is directly tied to Wrigley field. Sure there are plenty of die hards who will move with the team. But this isn’t a team moving out of a dump like Three Rivers, or Riverfront. Fans aren’t clamoring for a new ballpark. Wrigley may be a dump, but that’s what many people find charming about it. That and neighborhood it’s located in, which can’t simply be re-created in a new location.

  13. tmohr - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Given our mayor’s usual colorful language, I assume all f-bombs were struck from the original quote?

    • jashton11 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      That quote is totally unbelievable. There’s no way Rahm said “No” that many times without an F-bomb preceding at least one of them.

  14. cackalackyank - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    You mean the way people did not understand the appeal of Tiger Stadium, Comiskey Park, and original Yankee Stadium? No, we are not talking about a cookie cutter/cement donut out of the seventies. What we are talking about is a very historic, quaint, charming, iconic, hallowed impediment to the Cubs competing financially with all but 2 other teams. Only the A’s and Rays may have stadiums that are more of an albatross than Wrigley. Fenway has been renovated, but not Wrigley. This quote emphasizes that tax $ are not coming. So it all comes down to this offer of owner funded renovation, with strings. Strings that can be rejected in part or in whole. I do not think the Ricketts bought a historical trust, they bought an MLB franchise..with the idea that they might be able to increase the value of their investment.

  15. cubfan531 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Which would be a valid point, if it weren’t for the fact that the Cubs have a totally privately funded stadium, yet are subject to an entertainment tax (as to play off things like the United Center and Chicago’s other MLB ballpark), and ridiculous restrictions. Since the Cubs have to have their fans pay said entertainment tax, I don’t really hold a problem with them asking for some of all those years of revenue back for the one place that is only passed by the Sears Tower as the icon of Chicago.

  16. jason1214 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    This is hilarious…Emanuel tells the Cubs to stuff it….other major cities get bent over a barrell. I’m a Cubs fan, but good for Emanuel and Chicago.

  17. tjg25 - Jan 23, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Don’t celebrate Rahm. I promise you he’ll end up finding a way to give them cash.

  18. makeham98 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    The Sears Tower was renamed in 2009. Iconicly.

    • gloccamorra - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      If you ask a cabbie to take you to Sears Tower, will he know where to go? There’s a reason nobody tried to rename the Chrysler Building or Rockefeller Center, and the Yankees and Red Sox never renamed their ballparks – and why Wrigley is still Wrigley.

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