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Volume 24 No. 117


The Cubs on Thursday "got the go-ahead" to move the brick wall behind home plate "three feet closer to the field to make way for 56 premium-priced seats that will shrink the size of foul territory" at Wrigley Field, according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved the latest in a series of renovations at the venue, "but not before a pair of commission members demanded that the Cubs abandon the piecemeal approach to renovating Wrigley." Commissioners John Baird and Mary Ann Smith "pointed to a series of changes the commission has been asked to approve in recent years." Those changes include "a 1,791-seat bleacher expansion and three rows of seats behind home plate; advertising signs behind home plate, along the left-field line and on the outfield walls; construction of a Budweiser Patio and electronic sign in right field and the infamous Toyota Sign in left field." Smith said, "We really would like to see the Cubs bring us, to the best of our ability, how you foresee moving forward with the stadium over the next five years or 10 years. ... You might hear someone say something (to the effect that), ‘We move to not hear any further Cubs issues or permits or anything out of this commission until we get a big-picture discussion.’ That could happen." Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano said that the team "would like nothing more than to nail down an elusive, $300 million renovation plan that would preserve Wrigley for the next 30 years" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/5). 

AFTERNOON DELIGHT: In Chicago, Sullivan & Mix report the Cubs "are hoping to return" to 3:00pm CT game times. Sources said that the team is "lobbying for city approval to change the ordinance preventing the later starts." The Cubs "believe it would help local businesses and give the players a chance to recuperate after road trips" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/5).

The MLS Earthquakes are “exploring three Bay Area college football stadiums as potential sites to play host to the MLS Cup” in the event team reaches the league championship in December, according to Elliott Almond of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Potential options include “Spartan Stadium, Stanford Stadium and Buck Shaw Stadium,” but team officials are working on "contingency plans because all three options have shortcomings.” MLS changed the playoff format this year “so the highest-seeded team could hold the title game in order to generate hometown interest.” AT&T Park was considered, but Earthquakes President David Kaval said they rejected it “because it’s too far out of our territory.” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop previously has “voiced preference to play at 10,500-seat Buck Shaw,” where the team has not lost since last August. But that stadium, on the campus of Santa Clara Univ., “doesn’t have luxury boxes or adequate press facilities to accommodate MLS sponsors and national media," and would need additional seating. San Jose State Univ.’s Spartan Stadium has a capacity of 30,000, but it “lacks a grass field, which is a deal breaker for the Earthquakes.” Kaval said that the team “is working with Soccer United Marketing, the league’s group that puts on big games, to solve the problem.” The Earthquakes “need to have a plan in place when the MLS playoffs begin the first week of November” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/5).