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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley

COULD THE LAS VEGAS CUBS BECOME REALITY????

The owner of the Chicago Cubs threatened Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.

It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium that Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts has threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of Wrigleyville.

‘‘The fact is that if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we’ll have to take a look at moving - no question,’’ Ricketts told reporters after outlining renovation plans to Chicago business leaders.

He added that he remained committed to working out a deal.

By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over left field, as seen in many major league ballparks. The difference is that Wrigley Field - the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston - is surrounded by privately owned clubs with rooftop bleachers whose owners object to any changes that could block their bird’s-eye views into the stadium.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 01, 2013 at 04:07 PM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, tom ricketts, wrigley field

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   1. Gamingboy Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4431015)
COULD THE LAS VEGAS CUBS BECOME REALITY????


No.
   2. Into the Void Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4431017)
The Arlington Heights Cubs has a nice ring to it.
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4431019)
I'd love for the Cubs to leave Wrigley. I want both sides to lose in the Cubs vs. the rooftops battle, and the team moving the suburbs is the most obvious route to mutual self-destruction.
   4. Shredder Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4431027)
Good riddance. Seriously, does anyone really take these threats seriously?
   5. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4431033)
If the Cubs leave, you get to go to Wrigley without having to watch the Cubs play their version of baseball. Everybody wins.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4431041)
Cubs leave Wrigley, Rays move into Wrigley. :-)
   7. Bob Tufts Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4431042)
Wrigleyville would become a series of empty bars with a baseball problem.
   8. salvomania Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:45 PM (#4431046)
Let em leave. The White Sox will become the city's baseball king, and, once the novelty wore off (about 10 seconds) there'd be zero reason to drive out through the suburban sprawl to see the Schaumburg Cubs.

What a bunch of clowns. "I WILL GET RID OF MY TEAM'S SINGLE GREATEST ASSET IF I DON'T GET MY WAY." Go ahead.
   9. Swedish Chef Posted: May 01, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4431052)
This calls for a Solomonic solution. The Cubs can erect their video screen, but they have to make it double sided so the peeps on the rooftops get something to watch too.
   10. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4431067)
[8]These rants are becoming tiresome.

1. It's an empty threat and Ricketts knows it. He's said repeatedly that the Cubs will stay in Wrigley.
2. HIS WAY that he's looking for is for ####### leeches to leave him alone and let him spend his own money renovating a building he owns.

ETA: Why in the #### would Chicago become a White Sox town??
   11. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4431070)
Meh. Much ado about nothing. The rooftop owners are the last holdout, and he's using the tools he has - including public pressure - to get this finalized.

And because I have to repeat this in every thread: THE CUBS ARE PAYING FOR EVERYTHING THEMSELVES. And the rooftop owners have little to no claim or rights here. I think the Cubs have done a great job of trying to address the actual residents' concerns while not catering to the "neighborhood groups" that are just fronts for the rooftop owners.

BTW, I absolutely love all the renderings of the remodeling, including the jumbotron.
   12. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4431072)
well the article leftout interesting things such as that the cubs bring in around 600 million to the city in money spent around the park the renovation would increase it by 94 million
   13. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4431076)
This calls for a Solomonic solution. The Cubs can erect their video screen, but they have to make it double sided so the peeps on the rooftops get something to watch too.


And then they cut Starlin Castro in half.
   14. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4431083)
Moses Taylor hits everything on the head(s).

The most recent jumbotron rendering looks reasonably sized and fits with the rest of the park (according to the rendering, of course).

Generally, modernization of ball parks is a universal plus unless:

a) the public is forced to pay for it;
2) it involves loud-non-organ-generated music at Dodger Stadium.
   15. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4431086)
And then they cut Starlin Castro in half.
I would watch that show.
   16. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4431092)
The Rays would find a way to squeeze some value out of half a Starlin Castro.
   17. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4431100)
The proper term for that halving procedure is "Castro convertible."
   18. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4431113)
“The question was asked, ‘What would you do if the rooftops sue,’” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. “And his response to that was if we’re not able to put the signs up in the outfield that generates the revenue to put back into the team, then we have to consider looking elsewhere. In that context, yes, we would consider moving.”
   19. Shredder Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4431119)
And the rooftop owners have little to no claim or rights here.
I'm not sure any of us can say that for certain if we haven't seen the contracts. The Cubs tried to obstruct the views before to get the rooftop owners to pony up. When the Cubs got their cut, presumably there was something written into the contract that said "you can't do what you said you were going to do now that we're paying you".

Figure out a way to build the thing on top of the building with the United advertisement. Pay the owner of that building what he used to get selling the ad on the roof. Ricketts gets his jumbotron, the rooftops remain unobstructed, and the thing still sits closer to the field than most jumbotrons at other stadiums.
   20. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4431125)
This whole fiasco is surreal.
   21. cmd600 Posted: May 01, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4431127)
Good riddance. Seriously, does anyone really take these threats seriously?


Sacramento played chicken about as long as possible before taking them seriously enough to keep their team.
   22. StHendu Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4431144)
Which is worse for Cubs' fans? 105 years without winning or 5 years with a scuzzball like Ricketts? They make lots of money from their loyal fans and he still sh*ts all over them.
   23. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4431158)
Sthendu no idea what your talking about there, as moses pointed out he is paying for it him self that ads di t hurt the fans do t take away from from them they only help the team. And I for one, want this cubs team to have all the revanue they can get, it will only help the team.
   24. Spahn Insane Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4431163)
Which is worse for Cubs' fans? 105 years without winning or 5 years with a scuzzball like Ricketts? They make lots of money from their loyal fans and he still sh*ts all over them.

What in the world are you talking about?

EDIT: Coke to Meatwad.
   25. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4431174)
What would you do if the rooftops sue?
They'll be given a cushy view
I say it's Wrigley's only choice
Throw up your hands and raise your voice
Jumbotron!!!
Jumbotron!!!
Jumbotron!!!
   26. StHendu Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4431180)
Hey, if you are ok with a billionaire threatening to move 'his' business unless the city can provide him with an opportunity for more profit then you will be happy to know that tactic usually works.
   27. Spahn Insane Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4431186)
I don't get the scare quotes, 26.
   28. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4431195)
deleted
   29. StHendu Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:48 PM (#4431204)
"I don't get the scare quotes, 26."

Not sure what you mean, but it has become standard for large businesses to threaten to move if they don't get concessions. The concessions take different forms like tax breaks, law reforms, publicly funded stadiums or whatever. The states or towns or cities are not as powerful as those companies, so they have to give in.

Here is what Sears got from Illinois by threatening to move:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/us/15cncgreising.html?_r=0

There are so many stories like this. I don't think it is good for our society.
   30. McCoy Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4431212)
So? The Cubs are threatening to move if they are not allowed to spend their own money on their own property to enhance their own product. What bastards those Ricketts are!
   31. McCoy Posted: May 01, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4431214)
If you want to hate on the Ricketts hate on them because they tanked this team and the team is going to suck for years but don't hate on them because they are actually trying to renovate Wrigley with their own money.
   32. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4431216)
Not sure what you mean, but it has become standard for large businesses to threaten to move if they don't get concessions. The concessions take different forms like tax breaks, law reforms, publicly funded stadiums or whatever.

I don't disagree with this on general principle - but which of these things are the Cubs asking for? They want to spend their own money to make improvements to their own property.

Edit: Coke to McCoy... and several other people in the thread.
   33. zonk Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4431222)
Honestly, if the whole landmarks commission decision was done purely on the intent -- this scoreboard does cross the supposed line on which they're supposed to decide such things. It's honestly one of the first thing that strikes me going to other parks -- when you're used to watching a game without the big jumbotron, you notice it when you visit a park that has one.... and this thing is 3 times bigger than the CF scoreboard, which I still always think looks massive when you walk into the park even though I know in relative terms, it's not. Add all the faux-antique charm you want, it changes the character of the park and the park is deservedly a landmark.

I also think the Cubs are more hostage to the neighborhood than the neighborhood is hostage to the Cubs. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the character of Wrigleyville will change, but it will be one of more sports bars to wine bars than bars to barren wasteland. You've got Lincoln Park immediately south, the lake to the east, the rapidly gentrifying Buena Park/Uptown north, and nice neighborhoods like St Bens and Roscoe Village west. There are individuals like the 5 or 6 rooftop owners that will be screwed (and that's just relative to what they've probably spent on the rooftop 'clubs'), but everyone else will simply adapt.

OTOH, the Cubs will lose a huge chunk of the draw that ensures them 2 million and good media rates whether they thrive or suck. It's entirely possible that in the foreseeable future - the new revenue streams more than compensate for any instability in attendance or whatnot, but longterm, I think moving from the city to a suburb takes away a fair bit of 'brand cachet' from the team.

That said, I'm fairly certain Tommie will get his scoreboard, someone will line the rooftop owners pockets enough, the Cubs will stay in Wrigley, and Starlin Castro will still have his head up his ass far too often.

Anyone read/have an opinion on the Rachel Shteir brouhaha?

Personally, I think it's kismet that we recently passed the 30th anniversary of another famous rant, so I'll just let Lee speak for me....
   34. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: May 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4431275)
It's such a knee-jerk reaction to automatically paint the owner as the bad guy, so I understand the impulse. Of course, it's totally misplaced and borderline stupid here.

I'm not sure any of us can say that for certain if we haven't seen the contracts. The Cubs tried to obstruct the views before to get the rooftop owners to pony up. When the Cubs got their cut, presumably there was something written into the contract that said "you can't do what you said you were going to do now that we're paying you".

Sure. And as I said in other threads, can you imagine the Tribune company signing a deal so lopsided they have no recourse? Perhaps it was less than idea - they get a cut of the rooftop business and the Cubs don't block their view. Seems simple enough (yes, overly simple that it's not this black and white) that the Cubs don't get money if they block the view. The Cubs don't own the rooftop owners anything.

The only thing that kept the Cubs from blocking them before was because they got the money - there was nothing else the rooftops could do. I don't imagine it being significantly different now.
   35. Shredder Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4431303)
I don't imagine it being significantly different now.
I do. I imagine the rooftop owners basically "we will give you 17% (or whatever the number is), and we'll agree to adhere to major league rules (no beer after the 7th, etc.) for the next X years so long as you don't obstruct our view for the next x years." I doubt they would sign a deal that would not in some way restrict the Cubs from restricting their view at the Cubs' whim. The Cubs may feel it's in their best interest to breach that contract, as they might feel that whatever damages they will have to pay are less than their potential benefit from no longer having to deal with the rooftop owners, but I highly doubt that the rooftop owners didn't get the Cubs to agree to some term of years that extends well beyond 2014. If they decide to break that deal, you better believe they'll owe the rooftop owners something.
   36. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4431308)
Anyone read/have an opinion on the Rachel Shteir brouhaha?


I thought the review was terrible, mostly because it focused a lot more on Rachel Shteir than on any of the books she was supposedly reviewing. As far as her taking shots at Chicago, well, people do that, although it's generally not people who live there. The (over)reaction seemed more cringeworthy than the review.
   37. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4431319)
I highly doubt that the rooftop owners didn't get the Cubs to agree to some term of years that extends well beyond 2014. If they decide to break that deal, you better believe they'll owe the rooftop owners something.

I thought that it was a 20-year contract, but only guaranteed in the first 10. Which are now up. I've felt that is why the Ricketts are making noise now, because they can.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4431331)
. . . I highly doubt that the rooftop owners didn't get the Cubs to agree to some term of years that extends well beyond 2014.

Hasn't it been reported that the Cubs promise to not block the rooftop views was for a relatively short period? It's not like the rooftop owners had a strong case - more like your voyeur neighbor complaining when you close your bedroom curtains - so there really wasn't any reason for the Cubs to make a long-term commitment.
   39. Rough Carrigan Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4431341)
Yes, Theo Epstein, the people running the business side of pretty much every team are jerks. It's not just Larry Lucchino.
   40. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4431352)
We've been over this many times, the Cubs agreement to protect the rooftop owners views has expired. The rooftop leeches only leverage now is political, not contractual, which is why they fund their fake neighborhood groups and their sleazy politicians. That's the way they forced the Cubs to sign that contract the first time.
   41. Shredder Posted: May 01, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4431354)
I thought that it was a 20-year contract, but only guaranteed in the first 10. Which are now up. I've felt that is why the Ricketts are making noise now, because they can.
I stand corrected.
   42. SuperGrover Posted: May 01, 2013 at 10:46 PM (#4431389)
ETA: Why in the #### would Chicago become a White Sox town??


Well, not many city dwellers are heading to the suburbs to watch baseball. A move would certainly enhance the appeal of the CTA-accessible White Sox over wherever the Cubs would land.

They certainly aren't going to move of course. Eventually the rooftop owners are going to lose out as they should. The rooftops are a joke anyway; you can barely see the game and the environment is that of a happy hour (i.e., no one pays attention to the damn game).
   43. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4431409)
What a bunch of clowns. "I WILL GET RID OF MY TEAM'S SINGLE GREATEST ASSET IF I DON'T GET MY WAY." Go ahead.

That's about it. Rooting for either the Cubs or the rooftop owners is like being forced to pick sides in the former Iraq-Iran war. That rooftop squabble should have ended years ago with the Cubs telling the owners that they'll never obstruct their views as long as you don't charge admission to watch games from the roof.
   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 01, 2013 at 11:35 PM (#4431425)
That rooftop squabble should have ended years ago with the Cubs telling the owners that they'll never obstruct their views as long as you don't charge admission to watch games from the roof.

Really? Both the team and the rooftop owners should forgo revenue to preserve the 1965 status quo? Really? Who benefits by that? Nobody.
   45. Good cripple hitter Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4431448)
That rooftop squabble should have ended years ago with the Cubs telling the owners that they'll never obstruct their views as long as you don't charge admission to watch games from the roof.


Would that be enforceable at all? It reminds me of an anecdote from the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. One team was trying to get around the 'no baseball on Sundays' laws, so instead of charging for admission, they let everyone in for free then sold them scorecards. The prices of the scorecards just happened to vary depending on where you were sitting when you bought one.
   46. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:28 AM (#4431459)
I'm pretty sure the Ricketts could build the Wrigley Wreplica somewhere in a suburb and have no problem with MLB approving it.
   47. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:02 AM (#4431558)
Why don't they just put the jumobtron in left field instead?

I mean literally left field. It could replace Alfonso Soriano, thus making him available.
   48. The Pequod Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4431575)
Regardless of the rooftop owners' rights, I'd be bummed if this results in much fewer seats (hard to tell from the drawings). They're unique and an interesting way to experience a game (but not necessarily watch it).

On the other hand, I welcome the video board. It's pretty annoying to be at a game and not have easy access to the information they typically put on there (lineups, substitutions, a batter's previous results today, etc).
   49. Spahn Insane Posted: May 02, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4431601)
Not sure what you mean, but it has become standard for large businesses to threaten to move if they don't get concessions. The concessions take different forms like tax breaks, law reforms, publicly funded stadiums or whatever.

Um, yes, but as has been pointed out a billion times, the Cubs aren't doing that here. The remaining dispute is strictly between private parties, with the Cubs spending their own money. The Ricketts crew is pretty much the worst example you could pick to make the point I think you're making.

EDIT: It's such a knee-jerk reaction to automatically paint the owner as the bad guy, so I understand the impulse. Of course, it's totally misplaced and borderline stupid here.

Or, what Moses said.

   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4431629)
That rooftop squabble should have ended years ago with the Cubs telling the owners that they'll never obstruct their views as long as you don't charge admission to watch games from the roof.

Really? Both the team and the rooftop owners should forgo revenue to preserve the 1965 status quo? Really? Who benefits by that? Nobody.


Well, what have we gotten from the existing situation? A bunch of greedy speculators trying to cash in on an accident of location, and an ownership that wants to #### up the integrity of one of baseball's few remaining crown jewel ballparks.

--------------------------------------------------------

Would that be enforceable at all? It reminds me of an anecdote from the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. One team was trying to get around the 'no baseball on Sundays' laws, so instead of charging for admission, they let everyone in for free then sold them scorecards. The prices of the scorecards just happened to vary depending on where you were sitting when you bought one.

Right, as if that sort of transparent dodge couldn't be thought of in advance and sent to the abortion doctor for a quick injection of saline solution that not even snapper would object to.

--------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, I welcome the video board. It's pretty annoying to be at a game and not have easy access to the information they typically put on there (lineups, substitutions, a batter's previous results today, etc).

A much smaller board could easily provide all that information. Plenty of them did that before Jumbotrons came along. Providing basic information is the last thing that the Cubs have in mind in wanting to build a Jumbotron. All they're thinking about is the typical array of moronic bells and whistles that appeal to the lowest common denominator of fan, so that they can then sell enough advertising to make it profitable.

Sure, if you look at it as a purely business proposition, it makes perfect sense. It's just the latest of many copycat gimmicks that erode the ballpark experience for those whose primary interest is in the game itself and not the cartoonish distractions. The only good thing about it is that it ##### the rooftop owners, but that bit of schadenfreude isn't enough reason to sympathize with the ####### Cubs. As I said above, it's like having to choose sides in the war between Saddam Hussein and the Mad Mullahs. Thanks but no thanks.
   51. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4431641)
45: It's enforceable in that the Cubs can build a barrier if they think the rooftop owners aren't complying in spirit.
   52. zonk Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4431650)
Um, yes, but as has been pointed out a billion times, the Cubs aren't doing that here. The remaining dispute is strictly between private parties, with the Cubs spending their own money. The Ricketts crew is pretty much the worst example you could pick to make the point I think you're making.


Technically speaking, they are getting some unspecified 'tax incentives' -- which may not be direct funding, but neither is it really 'free'...

Anyway, beyond the wholly misguided belief that Tom seems to have about the 'Cubs' still being the 'Cubs' even if they were in Rosemont -- I'm not saying they're villains either. I know I'm being stuck in the past here, but when I see the mockups with that big honking jumbotron, I cannot help but think 'monstrosity'... Wrigley survived lights, so I guess it can survive a jumbotron -- but at least from my POV, it will make a game at wrigley seem a little less special and just a bit more like every other park in the nation.

We've been over this many times, the Cubs agreement to protect the rooftop owners views has expired. The rooftop leeches only leverage now is political, not contractual, which is why they fund their fake neighborhood groups and their sleazy politicians. That's the way they forced the Cubs to sign that contract the first time.


While I'm sure there are groups that astroturfed, I think it goes too far to call them all 'fake'... No one had anything to gain financially from opposing the installation of lights -- yet, back in the 80s, you still had plenty of groups like C.U.B.S (Citizens United for Baseball in Sunshine) that managed to stymie the installation of lights for a fair bit of time.

I wholly understand and appreciate the Ricketts perspective... they bought something, they want to maximize revenue from that thing they bought... but it's a mistake to think the only people concerned about a bit of the specialness of Wrigley being lost are those with a pure financial stake in opposing it.


I thought the review was terrible, mostly because it focused a lot more on Rachel Shteir than on any of the books she was supposedly reviewing. As far as her taking shots at Chicago, well, people do that, although it's generally not people who live there. The (over)reaction seemed more cringeworthy than the review.


The city feels naked without a Mike Royko or Studs Terkel to craft a proper response... Steinberg is too sentimental... Kass is a suburban jackass... Rahm does a very poor Daley (M or J) impersonation... and bloggers are just bloggers.

What we really need is a good Slats Grobnik response along the lines of "parking meter costs? Who pays for parking meters? You take your two pre-boot list freebie tickets then hide of Revenue Dept vans the rest of the time" or "What does she mean there aren't enough cafes? Just last week, I was forced to sit in a cafe with no TVs and they charged you for the pretzels.... and the only thing on tap was wine..."... "Yeah Slats, I think you were actually in a wine bar... you can tell by the ratio of ferns to patrons."
   53. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4431655)
45: It's enforceable in that the Cubs can build a barrier if they think the rooftop owners aren't complying in spirit.

Exactly, and it's impossible to believe that the Cubs' lawyers wouldn't be farsighted enough not to incorporate that allowable response into any agreement.
   54. Shredder Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4431657)
Really? Both the team and the rooftop owners should forgo revenue to preserve the 1965 status quo?
I don't disagree with your point, but it's really more like the 199x status quo. I'm not sure when the first bleachers will built on rooftops, but I have pictures from a game I went to in the summer of 1997 with almost nothing on the rooftops, at least in left field.
I'm pretty sure the Ricketts could build the Wrigley Wreplica somewhere in a suburb and have no problem with MLB approving it.
Have you ever been to Wrigley? I don't think the appeal is so much the looks and dimensions of the stadium, though that's part of it. It's mostly the neighborhood and the atmosphere around it. That's nearly impossible to recreate in the suburbs.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4431676)
I'm pretty sure the Ricketts could build the Wrigley Wreplica somewhere in a suburb and have no problem with MLB approving it.


Have you ever been to Wrigley? I don't think the appeal is so much the looks and dimensions of the stadium, though that's part of it. It's mostly the neighborhood and the atmosphere around it. That's nearly impossible to recreate in the suburbs.

You're 100% right about that, but I doubt if that'd stop MLB from approving it. Of course the "threat" to move is nothing but a big bluff, and everyone knows it, for the simple reason that the Cubs fully recognize the truth of what you just wrote.
   56. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4431682)
Anyway, beyond the wholly misguided belief that Tom seems to have about the 'Cubs' still being the 'Cubs' even if they were in Rosemont -- I'm not saying they're villains either. I know I'm being stuck in the past here, but when I see the mockups with that big honking jumbotron, I cannot help but think 'monstrosity'... Wrigley survived lights, so I guess it can survive a jumbotron -- but at least from my POV, it will make a game at wrigley seem a little less special and just a bit more like every other park in the nation.

As usual, Zonk gets it right. I think the jumbotron and more night games will take away the unique aspects or Wrigley Field and be a long-term money-loser, but this is America, and as long as he's not violating any laws, the owner is allowed to be stupid.
   57. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4431697)
This is why we can't have nice things.
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4431709)
Andy said it better than I will, but the Cubs make plenty of money without the stupid jumbotron and the fan experience will forever be altered and homogenized with the stupid jumbotron.

Why is "it isn't necessary to alter this historic landmark in such a fundamental way" the end of the discussion?(*) These superficial renovations simply aren't necessary. If Ricketts's purchase price factored in the silly jumbotron, he ###### up. Them's the breaks.

(*) Obviously, any structural renovations to maintain the integrity of the physical plant should be approved without haste.
   59. BDC Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4431724)
I don't think the appeal is so much the looks and dimensions of the stadium, though that's part of it. It's mostly the neighborhood and the atmosphere around it

Yes, plus the historical value of being on the spot where memorable things happened. Granted that at Wrigley they've mostly been memorable things that happened to the Cubs, but … basically you can go to two major-league ballparks (anymore) and say to yourself, "Babe Ruth hit a home run here." The value of that is impossible to quantify precisely; all you know is that it's irreplaceable.
   60. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4431728)
As usual, Zonk gets it right. I think the jumbotron and more night games will take away the unique aspects or Wrigley Field and be a long-term money-loser,

I think you're wildly, wildly overstating problem. Putting a jumbotron in Fenway didn't kill that experience. Wrigley will still have the ivy. It'll still have some of the rooftops. It'll still even have the old scoreboard. It'll still be distinctive and unique. Only now it can also give replays.

More night games will be a long-term money loser? Puh-leeze. The big bridge to cross was adding lights in the first place. That didn't exactly kill the fan experience. That hasn't been a money loser. Putting games at times when it's easier for people to attend games has proven to be a successful idea for every team that's ever tried it in all sports.
   61. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4431747)
I don't disagree with your point, but it's really more like the 199x status quo. I'm not sure when the first bleachers will built on rooftops, but I have pictures from a game I went to in the summer of 1997 with almost nothing on the rooftops, at least in left field.


My recollection from growing up watching the Cubs in the 1970s was that the rooftops would generally have only six or eight people on them, especially for weekday games. It was a terrible place to see the game from, but at least it was free.

Is the infamous 1979 Cubs-Phillies game available on the new MLB YouTube channel? I watched that game on Baseball's Best, but I can't find it now. There would be a lot of shots of the rooftops in that.
   62. The Pequod Posted: May 02, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4431774)
All they're thinking about is the typical array of moronic bells and whistles that appeal to the lowest common denominator of fan, so that they can then sell enough advertising to make it profitable.

DAAAAAY-O!
   63. zonk Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4431845)
I don't disagree with your point, but it's really more like the 199x status quo. I'm not sure when the first bleachers will built on rooftops, but I have pictures from a game I went to in the summer of 1997 with almost nothing on the rooftops, at least in left field.



My recollection from growing up watching the Cubs in the 1970s was that the rooftops would generally have only six or eight people on them, especially for weekday games. It was a terrible place to see the game from, but at least it was free.

Is the infamous 1979 Cubs-Phillies game available on the new MLB YouTube channel? I watched that game on Baseball's Best, but I can't find it now. There would be a lot of shots of the rooftops in that.


The rooftops as clubs is a relatively recent thing -- I think one or two buildings added actual seating/bleachers in the 90s, but the explosion where virtually every building along Waveland/Sheffield didn't really come until the late 90s/early aughts. Around 2001 or 2002, the Cubs sued the rooftop owners/threatened to put up screening, and that's where the revenue deal came from.

Prior to that, you pretty much had to know someone living in the buildings to get up to the rooftops. My first time on a rooftop was 93-- and it was just because a college buddy had an older sister living in one of the buildings (it wasn't one of the club-style rooftops -- it was, well, just a building rooftop... a few residents had lawnchairs, but they didn't 'sell' access or anything). It was on Waveland/LF -- my recollection is that one of the buildings nearby had bleachers, but they weren't full by any stretch and if memory serves further, I think only one other building had any sort of formal viewing/seating.

The views are - still - terrible... Again, I understand the team perspective and the fact that someone is making a dime off of their 'product' -- but the rooftop clientele really isn't going there for games. It's a haven for bachelor parties and other large group outings where the game is sort of background... it's not like the rooftops are sucking paying customers out of the park - people that pay for a rooftop ticket are generally interested in the 'rooftop experience'.

I think you're wildly, wildly overstating problem. Putting a jumbotron in Fenway didn't kill that experience. Wrigley will still have the ivy. It'll still have some of the rooftops. It'll still even have the old scoreboard. It'll still be distinctive and unique. Only now it can also give replays.


I just fundamentally disagree -- it won't "kill" the experience, like I said, the park will survive, I'm sure -- but it will just feel worse... somehow more plastic and "big boxey". I've never stopped to count, but I suspect I've been to somewhere in the neighborhood of a 100 or so games over the last 20-25 years at Wrigley and I still get chills coming up from one of the walkways and taking in the field in total. It's just going to look wrong with this loud, flashing monstrosity dwarfing the old CF scoreboard. I almost feel like they ought to just replace the old girl with the jumbotron rather than leave it. I lay no claim to having some strong sense of architecture or the aesthetic -- but it just seems to reduce the charm the thing brought. It will make it feel like a GD TGI Fridays -- where the walls are decorated with the finest faux-antique stuff one can find in the catalog of Acme Crap Chain Restaurant Supply.

You can't fake character -- it either is or isn't... and once you fundamentally alter the landscape, keeping the ivy, the old scoreboard, etc feels more like faking it. It feels like the worst sort of hipsterism -- like having a stack full of vinyl just because it's 'cool', even though you've already got every track digital in your itunes library or whatever.
   64. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4431859)
What we may be missing is that Ricketts' threat is simply giving cover to pols who want to do favors for him for various reasons. The dividing line between the wealthy and politics is essentially non-existent. Now any politician who otherwise couldn't survive a vote favoring the Cubs has cover to do so. Just a thought, but it never hurts to follow the money. I doubt any pol involved takes the threat seriously but thousands of deals get cut after someone says, 'okay, you have my vote, just do x so I can point to it as my reason for backing you'. It worked for Steingrabber and Giuliani to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Fwiw, I don't see why the Cubs couldn't move to the 'burbs. Wouldn't they be able to draw more people to a bigger stadium and charge the same ticket prices? Wouldn't they be able to sucker some locale into paying for a new stadium?

You can't fake character -- it either is or isn't... and once you fundamentally alter the landscape, keeping the ivy, the old scoreboard, etc feels more like faking it. It feels like the worst sort of hipsterism -- like having a stack full of vinyl just because it's 'cool', even though you've already got every track digital in your itunes library or whatever.


Sad to say, this is America. We don't really do architectural character. I agree with you, but if it means squeezing a few more dollars out of the machine, multiple Gigantatrons it shall be.


   65. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4431861)
The rooftops as clubs is a relatively recent thing -- I think one or two buildings added actual seating/bleachers in the 90s

I first went to Wrigley in 1990. One or two places already had bleachers.
   66. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4431865)
Fwiw, I don't see why the Cubs couldn't move to the 'burbs. Wouldn't they be able to draw more people to a bigger stadium and charge the same ticket prices? Wouldn't they be able to sucker some locale into paying for a new stadium?

That would go against the recent trend of downtown ballparks and would be kind of a shame. One of the best things baseball can offer is a community around the stadium in a way other sports can't quite match.
   67. Shredder Posted: May 02, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4431906)
Fwiw, I don't see why the Cubs couldn't move to the 'burbs. Wouldn't they be able to draw more people to a bigger stadium and charge the same ticket prices? Wouldn't they be able to sucker some locale into paying for a new stadium?
No, and probbaly. I mean, sure, they'd have games with more tickets sold than they get in a sellout now, but they'd have A LOT MORE games with far fewer in attendance than they get for a typical game now, or at least that's what I'd bet on.

   68. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4431929)
That would go against the recent trend of downtown ballparks and would be kind of a shame. One of the best things baseball can offer is a community around the stadium in a way other sports can't quite match.


Oh, absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Just looking at it from the view of a venomous rich guy.

@67: I see the Cubbies drew 3m+ in 2011, and still drew 2.88m despite not actually playing baseball in 2012. I have no idea how it would work so this is just an innocent question: Is it the case that without the cachet of Wrigley the Cubs could end up drawing 2m in the bad years?
   69. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4431940)
That would go against the recent trend of downtown ballparks and would be kind of a shame. One of the best things baseball can offer is a community around the stadium in a way other sports can't quite match.

I think the Cubs need to stay at Wrigley..

But.. the Dodgers and Angels still draw quite well and the communities that surround both stadiums quite frankly are crap. Petco is a much better experience (in stadium and out of stadium) but the other teams still draw way better.
   70. BDC Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4431942)
Wouldn't they be able to draw more people to a bigger stadium and charge the same ticket prices?

Maybe, but again, it's a little like asking "couldn't they move the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to a big new arena in Metairie?" The Cubs have to be careful to factor their location and venue into their balance sheet. (Which is one reason why people are dissing the Jumbotron, of course. Nobody's putting a Jumbotron into Preservation Hall.)

The Arlington Heights Cubs (#2, :) might do great for a year or two and then futz along trying to draw 2M a year, even if they're playing .500 ball. The current Cubs have managed to draw >3M when they're terrible.

Edit: Jack & I think alike again and he is welcome to Coke
   71. zonk Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4431972)
@67: I see the Cubbies drew 3m+ in 2011, and still drew 2.88m despite not actually playing baseball in 2012. I have no idea how it would work so this is just an innocent question: Is it the case that without the cachet of Wrigley the Cubs could end up drawing 2m in the bad years?


Eventually.

I grew up about 2-3 hours east of Chicago -- and we'd trek 2 or 3 times a year to visit Wrigley. I'm sure there are plenty of folks through the midwest, fed by WGN, that did and still do the same -- even the other night walking around sniffing out some cheap tix, I talked with at least half a dozen family caravans from Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and downstate IL.

Of course, people will still come to 'see the Cubs'.... but it won't be the same draw.

Put it out in the burbs and taking in the Cubs game would have all the charm of going to mall... I mean, who travels to Chicago specifically to shop the mag mile when the same stores are available at the local megamall? No one - it's just something you do when in town for other reasons. Folks from out of town will still attend, but not at nearly the same rate. It will become just a possible component of a Chicago trip.

Add to that - you just don't have the same accessibility to foot traffic, etc... How's DePaul's attendance since they moved to burbs 30 years ago and began sucking?
   72. zonk Posted: May 02, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4431979)
But.. the Dodgers and Angels still draw quite well and the communities that surround both stadiums quite frankly are crap. Petco is a much better experience (in stadium and out of stadium) but the other teams still draw way better.


Nothing against southern california (OK, lots against southern california) -- but it's a different locale.... Those areas are just tailor made for massive, freeway connected, endless suburbs. Everyone drives everywhere. Chicago is closer to an east coast city in that it grew up before the vehicular revolution... Sure - that makes it a pain for folks to drive in from out of town, too... but the problem is that a suburban location does nothing to ease that pain (all you're doing is dealing with different clogged expressways) while taking away one of the unique draws.

   73. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4431983)
It's a haven for bachelor parties and other large group outings where the game is sort of background... it's not like the rooftops are sucking paying customers out of the park - people that pay for a rooftop ticket are generally interested in the 'rooftop experience'.

I don't think that's true. 3 years ago my company planned a summer outing. Going to a Cubs game won the vote. Then we figured we'd splurge a little bit. We investigated renting a skybox and doing the rooftop thing. Got costs and everything for both. We ended up with the skybox, but it was close. I have to imagine that there are plenty of people who go the other way.

Now, in our case, half the people in the skybox weren't paying attention to the game, either, so that part is true. But the Cubs certainly do lose some paying customers to the rooftops.
   74. BDC Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4431994)
Dodger Stadium is interesting because, on the scale and structure of southwestern cities, it is basically downtown: not as close as Minute Maid is to downtown Houston, but closer than the Astrodome. Much closer to the Library Tower, in fact, than Wrigley Field is to the Sears Tower. An interesting thing about the history of some of the classic urban parks is how far out they were when they were built. Addison was pretty far north in 1914, just as Shibe Park was remote from Center City Philadelphia and the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium from midtown Manhattan. But that's where the land was at a given moment. Chavez Ravine is just a phenomenal location: central, suburban, and beautiful too.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4432021)
Chavez Ravine is just a phenomenal location: central, suburban, and beautiful too.

Especially after O'Malley got rid of those pesky Mexicans who were cluttering up his urban paradise. (/history lesson)
   76. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: May 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4432055)
Maybe, but again, it's a little like asking "couldn't they move the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to a big new arena in Metairie?"


You, sir, have crossed a line.

Yeah, I was in no sense recommending a move to the burbs, but I do lurk a bit in Cubs threads and you lot are an interesting bunch. I think it's fan envy, as for some reason Mets fans here aren't particularly knowledgeable, and the current conversation is bogged down over the issue of why a ml catcher with over 2000 plate appearances in 7 pro seasons and with a career obp of 285 should not suddenly be on our radar after 51 pas this season, pas that include a single game, yesterday, that bumped his obp a hundred points--otherwise he was in the process of turning in his eighth dreadful year in the Mets system.

s'Frustrating.

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