Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts Addresses Wrigley Renovation Issues As Start Date Nears
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts yesterday "took the opportunity of the first public viewing of the team's new spring-training facility" in Mesa, Ariz. to "make another pitch to move along talks for Wrigley Field improvements," according to Dave van Dyck of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Ricketts was asked if there was any "irony in the Cubs having what will be the best spring-training facility and one of the worst major league facilities." He responded, "You can't be a first-class organization with third-class facilities. We've addressed the issue in the Dominican (with new facilities), we addressed the issue here with the help of our good friends from Mesa. We'd like to take some of that momentum into Wrigley and get that project started too." Ricketts said there are a "handful of issues" to be worked out with Chicago aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and neighboring rooftop owners. He added, "We're hopeful we'll get some resolution soon. If we're going to be in the ground in October, we have to get to some resolution in the next few weeks" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/14). In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer notes the Cubs organization is "barely two weeks away from what it has said is a rough deadline for starting the process in time to break ground on the project in October." Ricketts "made it clear the club has no intentions of committing to its 2013 timeline until it gets the concessions it wants to allow street closures and more ballpark signage" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/14).
A WIN-WIN PROPOSITION: Ricketts said of the Cubs' new Spring Training site, "This is a big win for the team to get this started. It's a big win for our fans who go to Spring Training, it's a big win for the city of Mesa, it's a big win for economic development for the whole area, to be honest, so everybody's winning. It also translates into literal wins. When I look out, I see 'W' flags. We have to build a foundation of first-class facilities throughout our organization." MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports there are "three separate projects combined: commercial space, the Cubs space and city space." The facility will include "a park to be used by Mesa residents." Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said, "This is much more than a baseball stadium, it's an experience." Muskat notes the Mesa facility, "for now, is called Wrigleyville West" (MLB.com, 3/14).