Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts had some interesting words to say today.
Ricketts, who has owned the Cubs since 2009, is not happy with the idea that plans for a new video screen might be blocked. Rickets grew up in Nebraska but became a Cubs fan in 1984 when he moved to the city to attend the University of Chicago.
Does Ricketts not realize that Wrigley Field is beloved to Cubs fans? He has already made plans to take the Cubs games off of WGN, a longtime carrier of Cubs games until the regional networks started to gain ground.
The problem with the proposed video screen at Wrigley Field is that it would block the view of those fans that watch the game from the rooftop bleachers.
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.
The rooftop businesses have been left out of discussions on the proposed upgrade, but they feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs. Legal action is a possibility.
The Mayor of Rosemont, a Chicago suburb close to O’Hare, has offered to allow the Cubs to move there. Will it happen? I don’t know.
Here’s where the Cubs are different from other cities. They aren’t located downtown or along the waterfront. They are in a neighborhood of the city. To the west, east, and north of the stadium are residents that live in the city. Just south on Clark Street is a block that is full of bars and other restaurants. I should know because I’ve made the walk plenty of times from Melrose Street to just south of the intersection of Clark and Addison Streets while living in Chicago. I have watched future comedy stars hone their craft at iO, which has been forced to find a new location due to the hotel and shops that are being built across from Wrigley. That hotel immediately becomes a waste of money if the Cubs are relocating to the suburbs.
For baseball’s sake, I hope he’s just bluffing.