Chicago Ald. Tunney: Ricketts Made Mistake When He Threatened Moving Team
Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney on Thursday said Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts “made a mistake” born of “frustration” when he threatened to move his team out of Wrigley Field and Chicago if he does not get the outfield signs he needs to bankroll a $300M stadium renovation, according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Tunney said that he “doesn’t believe Ricketts is serious, nor will the ultimatum force him or his constituents to give the Cubs carte blanche.” He said, “It’s all about compromise. We all have to compromise. The idea of saying, `All or nothing’ -- that just isn’t good negotiating.” Tunney “scoffed at the notion that Ricketts would actually entertain the notion of leaving 99-year-old Wrigley.” Ricketts has “insisted on a 6,000-square-foot Jumbotron that would be triple the size of the iconic centerfield scoreboard.” But Tunney said of the rooftop business concerned of an impeded view, “We’re gonna try … to assist the rooftops in every which way we can in terms of the placement and the ultimate size” of the jumbotron. He added, “I’m not ready to sign on to any numbers until I get more feedback from our community. They’ve got to gather support like every other developer” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/3).
NOT GOING ANYWHERE: The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said Ricketts “is not going to the ‘burbs, he’s staying where he is." But he has "every right to do what he wants with his ballpark and he has no obligation to the people either on Waveland or Sheffield Avenue.” Columnist Kevin Blackistone noted the threat to leave Wrigley is “just a negotiating ploy.” Blackistone: "This is the most profitable team in baseball, fourth-most valuable according to Forbes. He’s going to get what he wants because the economics have changed" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/2). White Sox analyst Steve Stone, who played and was an announcer for the Cubs, said, “There’s a deal to be (done) there. It doesn’t involve the Cubs moving anyplace. It would be a gigantic mistake to move them and I think in his heart of hearts, Tom Ricketts loves Wrigley Field." Stone added, "As a businessman, I feel you need all the revenues you can possibly get. ... I guess it comes down to how many rooftops are you going to interfere with and the fact that you did sign a 20-year deal, which apparently is just binding on the rooftop owners” ("Sports Talk Live," CSN Chicago, 5/2).
PROGRESS MADE WITH ROOFTOPS? In Chicago, Paul Sullivan wonders is there a “thaw in the feud between the Cubs and the rooftop owners.” Rooftop owner Beth Murphy said, “I no longer believe the Cubs want to block us. I wasn’t sure before, but I no longer believe that. I truly am optimistic they want to work this out.” Murphy said that the owners “had a meeting” with Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney on Wednesday. She said, “The meeting with Crane was just surprising. It was great.” Murphy said that the two sides are “closer after the meeting” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/3).