SBD/June 6, 2013/Franchises

Cubs Approved For More Night Games; Team Not Happy With Provisions

Cubs execs were unhappy with Saturday night games being capped at two
The Chicago City Council yesterday "gave the Cubs the go-ahead to play 46 night games per season, start six Friday afternoon games at 3:05 p.m. [CT] and stage four concerts," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. However, neither the Cubs nor local residents "were satisfied." The team claims that four provisions will "tie the Cubs' hands and, potentially cost them money." The provisions would require the Cubs to "foot the bill for security and sanitation costs tied to more than 40 night games per season and forfeit a night game after any season that includes more than four 'non-baseball events,' including concerts or college football games." The Cubs were "equally unhappy" with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision to "cap the number of Saturday night games at two per season and give the city 'unprecedented' control over when rained-out games are rescheduled." The ordinance approved yesterday will raise the 30-game ceiling on the number of night games "to 40 next season, but the Cubs would schedule just 35 of those dates." The other five "would be held in reserve for night games dictated by" MLB or its national TV contract (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/6). In Chicago, Byrne & Dardick note the Cubs this season "will be allowed to move the first pitch of six Friday games" to 3:05pm from 1:20pm. Emanuel said of the ordinance, "It may not be exactly what you want, but that's what an honest compromise is" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/6).

STRIKING OUT ON RENOVATIONS: In a special to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Cheryl Kent writes Wrigley Field may "be battered, but as it approaches its centenary, it is still authentic." So it is "strange to see plans from the Cubs that would undermine Wrigley's best, enduring qualities by cocooning it in a suburban design and by fudging the line between what's real and what's not." The Cubs clearly want to "harvest the cash being gathered in their name by the neighbors, including the rooftop owners." There is "nothing wrong with that, especially when the area is being upgraded in the process." They also are "after advertising revenue." However, the Cubs "deserve credit for the breadth and ambition of their plan." It could be "transformative." But the "trouble is the Cubs are also pitching a plan for a kind of baseball theme park that pretends to authenticity while proposing to damage the integrity of the real deal." The scale and size of the proposed hotel and mixed-use buildings "are good." They will "fit in without overwhelming the neighborhood." But the designs "affect an embarrassing historicism, presumably meant to evoke the early 20th century when Wrigley was constructed" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/6).
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