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Tom Ricketts is ready to move forward with Wrigley upgrades … if the city will

Feb 18, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

We talked a few weeks ago about the Cubs’ new and improved (i.e. privately financed) Wrigley Field renovation plans. Tom Ricketts spoke to MLB.com and it sounds like they’re set to begin. They’re just waiting for city sign-off on the aspects of it that require approval, such as an increase in the number of night games, allowing advertising to block the rooftops across the street and allowing the closing of Sheffield Avenue for weekend games. About all that:

“There’s a lot of things we have to deal with at Wrigley Field that other teams don’t,” Ricketts said on Sunday. “Whether that’s signage restrictions, rooftops, other people selling Cubs gear right outside the park — all of that is great for [the city], but it doesn’t help us. We have to get those resources back into the team so I can give those to [president of baseball operations] Theo [Epstein] to put on the field or to get those resources into improving and preserving the third-largest tourist attraction in the state.”

With all of the time I spend slamming team owners for wanting public handouts, this point, with respect to the Cubs anyway, does get neglected from time to time.  I realize that the Cubs have gotten a lot of goodwill from the rooftops and the neighborhood and things like that — and I know that in recent years the team has even gone into business to some extent with the rooftop owners — but the Cubs are sort of treated like a public good more than other teams are.

What’s more, they’re expected — mostly out of tradition — to give away an awful lot. Views and ticket revenue to the people across the street, nighttime revenue to the bar and restaurant owners.  I don’t think that mandates public financing or anything, but I think it does make their challenges somewhat unique and demands a bit more flexibility on the part of the city so the team can remain competitive.

  1. hojo20 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Night games at Wrigley suck.

    • RickyB - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Partly due to the fact that the lights themselves are the worst in the big leagues. Darkest games on TV in either league. They flat-out need to improve the lighting.

  2. cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    GASP!!!!! You called the Cubs a Public GOOD! HOW DARE YOU! You monster!
    oh the humanity…
    /sniffles

    • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      So American-like in conviction. A perfect reading of the lines. Synergistic delivery. Bravo.

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I been taking night classes. American Outrage 101.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        I would’ve thought a drama program, but okay.

        My neighbors are ACTORS! Brilliant! Thank you! And, they are currently in a production of Annie Get Your Gun. They practice out-singing one another at 11:00pm. It’s awful.

  3. jcmeyer10 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Half of Chicago would disagree with the Cubs being a “public good”, har har. In all seriousness, citizens need to stand up to tax dollars going to these things.

    • seitz26 - Feb 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Which half? You might get the whole city to agree, albeit for different reasons.

  4. dadawg77 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    One, the cubs should be free to restrict views into the park as they see fit.

    However the fact two sporting goods business operate across the street isn’t something the cubs should be able too control.

    Night games if they end before 10, it should be up to the Cubs how to handle. After 10 noise ordinances come into play thus a need for an agreement.

    • alang3131982 - Feb 19, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Why exactly should the subs be free to restrict views into the park? Last I checked most buildings have to file work plans before they are created and public hearings are conducted on their height and whatnot.

      What if these billboards and signage are complete eyesores? you’re ruining the value of people’s homes. And, for what? So the cubs can get a few more fans a year? I think the Cubs are doing fine monetarily, they should not be allowed to destroy people’s property values.

  5. kiwicricket - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    And the largest tourist attraction in Illinois is…..taaaa daaaaa….. ‘Woodfield Mall’.
    Yep. A mall is the largest tourist attraction in the state of Illinois. I am even upset with google for telling me that, let alone my distaste for Illinois.

  6. Jonny 5 - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    So, what you mean is they deserve more than the Marlins do? Or the Marlins deserve less than the Cubs? I think that’s about right.

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