Posted May 02, 2013

Ricketts won’t wriggle out of Wrigley Field, Cubs aren’t going anywhere

ballparks, Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field

A jumbotron in leftfield would be a jarring sight for many longtime denizens of the Friendly Confines. (Credit: Chicago Cubs)

“Well, the fact is, if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we’ll have to take a look at moving, no question.” That’s what Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told the media Wednesday morning at an event held by the City Club of Chicago referencing the team’s plans to renovate Wrigley Field adding advertising signs and a 6,000 square foot video board to the ballpark’s iconic outfield.

He was bluffing.

Of course he was bluffing. Moving the Cubs out of Wrigley Field because he can’t have a jumbotron would make Ricketts one of baseball history’s greatest monsters. What’s more, the Cubs were the most profitable organization in baseball last year according to Forbes, and Wrigley Field is an asset to the team, even though Ricketts likes to cry poor about the lack of ad placement in the ballpark and about the revenue generated by the exterior rooftop seating that they can’t get their hands on (though Ricketts admitted the Cubs are a minority owner in one Sheffield Avenue rooftop and Forbes reported that the team brings in $4 million a year from rooftop attendance). Last year, the Cubs lost 101 games and were still 10th in the majors in home attendance. This year, their on-field outlook is no better and their average home attendance is 11th in the majors.

Of course, ticket sales are just a small piece of the revenue pie for major league teams these days. Television money is the big slice, but the Cubs face some uncertainty with regard to their ability to cash in on that front. Their deal with longtime broadcast partner WGN expires after the 2014 season, but WGN broadcasts less than half of the Cubs games. The larger chunk of the Cubs’ TV rights belong to Comcast SportsNet Chicago via  a contract that lasts through 2019 and will keep the Cubs from hitting the kind of TV money paydirt the Dodgers and Rangers have in the past few years.

Then again, the proposed renovations to Wrigley Field are expected to occur over a five-year span, which means they’re unlikely to be completed long before the Cubs’ CSN Chicago contract expires, particularly given that the former have yet to be approved.

That approval is what prompted Ricketts’ comments Wednesday morning. The mayor, alderman, neighborhood, two city commissions and the city council have to approve the renovations and there has already been blowback about the changes to the outfield, particularly the video board that would dwarf Wrigley Field’s iconic manual scoreboard and block the view of  some rooftops on Waveland Avenue. The owners of those rooftops have threatened the Cubs with a lawsuit, and now that the official renovation mock-ups have been released there’s sure to be some outrage, which could influence the city, over the image at the top of this post.

Ultimately, all of this stems from the fact that the Ricketts family remains deeply in dept from their purchase of the team in January 2009, with Forbes estimating their remaining debt at $600 million. The Cubs are doing fine, but their owners need money, and they’re willing to deface their iconic ballpark to get it. There’s no argument that the guts of Wrigley Field, a ballpark that will be 100 years old next year, need to be brought up to date. The point of friction remains the iconic outfield.

Of course, Wrigley Field’s outfield hasn’t always looked the same. Here, for example, is a photo of centerfield from the 1935 World Series, two years before the ivy and six years before the clock. Still, a big, loud, busy video board would radically alter the feel of the ballpark, the last in the majors to give fans that lost-in-time feeling that is so valuable to baseball’s’ myth-making.

Ultimately, Ricketts will likely get his videoboard, because time marches forward and money talks, but his absurdly empty threat to move the Cubs out of Wrigley Field on its own seems unlikely to accomplish anything other than to further inflame those who were already determined to prevent it.

58 comments
Shel1159
Shel1159

The Ricketts are ruining Wrigley. They only care about making themselves richer. They don't care about the Cubs, the fans or Wrigley Field at all. The Cubs do need to move... to a new stadium. Rosemont offered the perfect solution; free land for a real stadium and parking. But the Ricketts can't accept that since it would infringe on their dream of owning a hotel in Wrigleyville. Funny, they want that but are willing to destroy Wrigley Field in the process. Move the Cubs to a new park, which they deserve. Leave Wrigley as it is. Then rent it out for special events like concerts, sporting events, corporate events, weddings etc. It can still be open for tours since it will always be a historic Chicago landmark for both baseball and football fans.

WrigleyRes
WrigleyRes

If you live in Wrigleyville, there is a survey about the planned development at www.wrigleyresidents.com

Please contribute!

sweetdaddyk
sweetdaddyk

Already determined to prevent it? From what I'm reading practically the entire Wrigleyville neighborhood and the whole city government of Chicago is telling the Cubs not to let the door hit them in the a$$. I cannot believe the grief the Cubs are getting about wanting to spend half a billion dollars improving their facility.

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

It is important to realize that the Cubs signed a contract with the rooftops and agreed to a neighborhood ordinance regarding night games. The Ricketts family is now attempting to breach both of these agreements. Not sure how the Billionaire family has become the victim, but this is Chicago and they have Billions....

JoseTavarez
JoseTavarez

Ricketts says all these things like he didn't know Wrigley was a legally preserved landmark when he bought the team. What a joke. 

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

As a longtime baseball fan, I would hate to see a move out of Wrigley. It at least feels like a ballpark instead of an amusement park that happens to have a ball game going on. Maybe the sight lines aren't great and the seats aren't comfty and the parking sucks, but you can enjoy the game without having your every sense assaulted by some amped-up entertainment director.

As a realist, I know the owner will do what he has to do. It's his club, his money, his right. For a certain generation, baseball lost its simple luster a long time ago. But times change, so you either move forward or get left behind, like the team that hasn't won a WS in over a century and hasn't appeared in one since the end of World War II.

jarobertson
jarobertson

And believe me as long as the Cubs stay put a Wrigley Field they are not going anywhere. The first time I saw Wrigley Field, well, it was a let down. What I saw was a old ball park way past it's prime. The baseball world has moved into a new century and Wrigley Field is stuck in the past. I know many like to hold onto the past, but when one is sitting behind a support stanchion, well that sucks. Standing water in the mens room does not make one clamer for a return visit. The score board, well it is not the latest technology. 

I made a visit to the newest ball park to open, Birmingham's Regions Field, a spectacular modern stadium, that when being built caused quite a stir among fans stating that the old stadium, built in 1988, was fine. Well after Regions Field opened that conversation has disappeared, and for good reason. 

Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are relics from a different era, and they don't offer what the new stadiums offer. They are old, dark, and stink. The fans in Boston and Chicago deserve better. After my first and last visit to Wrigley Field, driving back to Milwaukee I came to appreciate Miller Park a lot more than before my visit to Wrigley Field. And for good reason.

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

The Cubs/Ricketts are now being run by a PR firm. No one is saying they can't add signage inside the stadium, so long as it doesn't violate the contract with the rooftops.

Beyond that, they are looking to radically change the zoning laws and the entire character of the neighborhood. They freely admit that they want to put advertising everywhere OUTSIDE the stadium.

Also, the naivety of believing that Tom Ricketts just wants to win a World Series is bewildering. Sure winning would bring more money to the Ricketts' coffers, but maintaining the same mediocrity that has filled the stadium for the past 20 years would also yield a nice return based on his current demands. 

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

"Of course he was bluffing. Moving the Cubs out of Wrigley Field because he can’t have a jumbotron would make Ricketts one of baseball history’s greatest monsters. "

Uh, no, it wouldn't.  You might want to talk to some people from Chicago before you go making grand pronouncements.  Cubs fans are very much on board with the idea that Ricketts should be able to improve the ballpark however he wants, as long as he's spending his own money, and lots of fans wouldn't even mind if the Cubs moved out of the city proper to a western suburb.

Wrigley field is a fun place to see a game when you're an out of towner, or you just want to hang out in the bleachers and get drunk, but as an actual sports experience is sucks.  Sight lights suck, the seats are tiny, it's a pain to get in and out of the neighborhood and find parking, etc.  It was a very charming place in the 80s, when the nearby rooftops had an occasional resident grilling out on top, but the rooftop bleachers have turned the whole area into an eyesore.

They can disassemble the famous marquee and put it on a new stadium, and as long as the stadium has red brick and ivy in the outfield, no one will care if it's not Wrigley.  Many of us would actually prefer it.


Cubs fans want to see their team win a world series some time in their life, and that probably means maximizing revenues, having proper facilities to take BP, get treatment, or even meet with the media.  Wrigley is such a dump that it will require half a billion dollars just to make it presentable (and it will still have bad site lines and tiny seats).

Mike26
Mike26

1.  The renovations are to the WHOLE STADIUM, not just the outfield scoreboard area/video board area.

2.  Baseball long ago lost its soul and the Cubs included - remember Sammy Sosa's "memorable", steroid-enhanced 1998 season?  The Red Sox also have made many non-traditional upgrades to Fenway and nobody raised a stink about them - unusual in a baseball media that often treats NYC and Boston as the only two franchises that have professional baseball.  Why are the Cubs being jumped all over by fans and media alike?

3.  Most importantly:  WHY and HOW, on God's green earth (and manmade rooftops), do APARTMENT OWNERS feel entitled to FREE VIEWS of professional baseball games = all while making hefty sums from charging admission to their rooftops?  That's the most bass-ackwards thing I've heard in a while - which is saying something considering the worthless "leaders" at almost all levels of government.

It's the Cub's park - let them do what they please.  Fans ALWAYS have the option of not attending games - but 95 losing seasons in a row hasn't stopped them, so why would a new video board and self-entitled apartment owners stop them?

gbjames911
gbjames911

Im ashamed that you didn't do your proper research on this matter. There is no shame in the Ricketts family wanting to attain further financial revenues. The renovations also address the clubhouse, batting cages and further areas that not only provide better care for players but could be used as an attraction for future free agents. The people who say that the Cubs need Chicago more than Chicago needs the Cubs could not be more wrong. What is Wrigleyville without the Cubs? The rooftop owners would not have a business if the team were to move. What would bring baseball fans to Chicago in place of the Cubs? The White Sox? The White Sox, despite their new stadium( funded by a large amount of taxpayer money) struggles to draw fans as it is. This isn't a case of the Cubs trying to strong arm the city and Wrigleyville but the roof top owners attempting to strong arm the city and the Cubs. The Cubs know that the rooftop owners are also in debt and don't have the financial ability to withstand a drawn out lawsuit, thanks to all those shiny new bleachers atop their buildings. I would never want to see the Cubs leave Chicago and play anywhere but Wrigley, but if the rooftop owners and the city of Chicago want to play hard ball, lets see how they act when the Cubs have a brand new Wrigley replica in Rosemont. 

willkepper
willkepper

Bingo. A leveraged buy-out, where the collateral is the object of the buyout, once again is the cause for ruining something nice. Kinda like the Tribune, or the neighborhood bank.  Greedy MFs.

SandbagSix
SandbagSix

Could you put the Jumbotron in the batter's eye?  Obviously you could only put stuff on it between at-bats, but most stadiums are only showing balls and strikes on it at that time anyway.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@jasonflyen 

If they're in breech, then that's for the courts to decide.  They've been seen as "victims" because the rooftop owners, through their proxy, alderman Tom Tunney, they tried to use the landmark status of Wrigley as a roadblock to changing Wrigley, while trying to represent themselves as the voice of the neighborhood.

It's not really holding the Cubs to a contract that's the issue, it has more to do with the long standing fact that the Cubs as an organization have been handicapped in what they can or cannot do with their own property, largely because the last mayor was a Sox fan/Cubs hater who sought an adversarial relationship with the organization.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@JoseTavarez And he has every right to ask for that landmark status to be less restrictive or to have it removed, since the city gives no consideration in property, amusement or sales taxes for the owner of a "landmark site." 

That status was "awarded" as a punishment by the previous Mayor, because he didn't like the Cubs, and now that mayor is retired.

And if the people of Chicago, or their elected representatives feel that preserving the ballpark as a museum is so important, and they don't want to give any consideration to the owners of the ballpark, then the owners have every right to move the team some place else.

I suspect that when the Cubs are not playing at Wrigley, it will suddenly become much less attractive as a historical landmark.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Wriggled is a working ballpark and not a museum...that is what preservationists do not understand. This is private property and if the city will not allow them to do with their own property what they want, the should leave. Chicago does not respect liberty and freedom.

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@Vinny Cordoba I agree with what you are saying but there is absolutely nothing preventing the Ricketts' family from moving the Cubs to Timbuktu if they so desire(bud selig aside). So why don't they just move?

As many others have stated before, the Cubs need Wrigley more than Wrigley(ville) needs the Cubs.

Not to be redundant, but we have a billionaire family playing the "aww shucks" we just want to win card and the neighbors and govt will not let us. I love making money and I'm jealous I don't have as much as they do, but for everyone to buy into their PR campaign seems insane to me.

The Ricketts are only in this to make as much money as possible. Does anyone doubt this?  But somehow everyone else is supposed to bow down as they count their cash? How did it come to this?

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@jarobertson  You make fair points. Some people like history, some amenities. To each their own. So if the Ricketts have free land in Rosemont why aren't they leaving ASAP? The family is not made up of sheepish business folk.

 But for the sake of making more money they are ridiculing the residents, govts, businesses, and anyone else who took them at face value when they bought the team and said they would honor existing contracts and agreements. 

 

ChipWelch
ChipWelch

@jasonflyen Actually yes people are saying they can't sell ad signage inside the stadium.  The landmark status limits the changes that can be made to the ballpark.  The outfield walls and the manually operated scoreboard were both mentioned specifically.  The Cubs had to get permission from the Chicago historical society just to put up the Under Armour signs a few years ago.  

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

I just want to add also that Ricketts has been looking for a way to move this stadium deal forward ever since he bought the team years ago.  He has NEVER (until now) even left open the possibility of moving the team.    It's not a strong arm move, which is why most locals (even Cubs fans who love Wrigley) support him.

Opponents of the renovations do not have public support.  They don't even have neighborhood support.  They have a small group of rooftop owners who have been leeching off of the Cubs for several decades, and a few luddites who are still mad that they put lights on the stadium in '89.  

JoseTavarez
JoseTavarez

@Mike26  Maybe the entitlement comes from their contract and the $25 million they've paid to the Cubs for the free views. 

Sven
Sven

@gbjames911 I don't sympathize with the Wrigley rooftop owners, but you write that Chicago needs the Cubs more than the Cubs need Chicago. If the Cubs were to move to some suburb, they'd be just like any other team in America except Boston...a stadium built within a Walmart-style moat and little to do before or after games (and it would still be hell to get in and out by driving...all stadium parking has bottlenecks). They'd be exactly like any other team save two things...the Sox and Brewers are valid alternatives for Chicagoans to the Cubs, and the team hasn't won a championship since Butch Cassidy was robbing banks in Bolivia. I question how 'loveable' these losers would be if they were torn from the familiar and friendly confines and simply became the team that hasn't won anything in 100 years and plays in a giant parking lot by O'Hare directly below the path of loud landing aircraft. That team sounds far less lovable than even the Astros.

JoseTavarez
JoseTavarez

 @Bearsclone That's actually not true. From municipal tax incentives to tax credits at the federal level, there are several forms of consideration. The owner of the property also has the chance to decline at the time a property is nominated for landmark status. 

I get what you're saying, but it's harder for me to get behind when he purchased the property with full knowledge several years after the fact.

And of course he has the right to move the team anywhere he wants; but he's just an a**hole. 

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@RobSmithe  Rob, what is keeping the Billionaire Ricketts family from leaving Chicago? Nothing. If they want to leave, the city can do nothing to stop them. How is Chicago infringing on their "liberty and freedom" by asking them to work within the zoning laws and to honor previous contracts/agreements.

The only people asking for anything different are the Cubs/Ricketts. Further, no one is saying they are not going to get anything, but they showed their final plans only yesterday but somehow the government and neighborhood should already be on board?

Am I alone in not really caring about the outcome, but discouraged to see a PR firm hijack the process?

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@jasonflyen @Vinny Cordoba

"As many others have stated before, the Cubs need Wrigley more than Wrigley(ville) needs the Cubs."

Any one who believes that is, frankly, an idiot.

The residents of the neighborhood don't need the Cubs there, but the bars and hotels thrive in large part because of the Cubs.  The rooftops certainly wouldn't be worth a dime without the Cubs.  In fact, the rooftops lower the value of the property, because they're an eyesore, and musical acts don't want to play Wrigley because they don't get a cut of the rooftop revenues.

Do the Cubs need the bars?  Do they need the rooftops?  No and no.

Wrigley itself is only an asset if it can be maximized to provide better returns than a suburban ballpark, and without signage and a video board, it can't and won't.

It's got little to do with "Cubs PR" and everything to do with looking around baseball and seeing the kinds of dollars that can be made by a team with the regional and national appeal of the Cubs, and realizing that while Wrigley has been part of that charm and brand recognition, it's also holding the team back.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@jasonflyen  , I sure don't doubt they are in it for the money. But we've been down this road plenty of times before. In the end, money almost always wins. I hope not here. I hope the Cubs stay at Wrigley. And I'm a Cardinals fan....

JoseTavarez
JoseTavarez

@jasonflyen @Vinny Cordoba Yeah. I honestly can't believe that so many people are vehemently backing Ricketts on this. Why an entire city is so anxious to sell out such a rare place is beyond me. Do people honestly believe that a jumbotron is going to bring a World Series to the north side, especially considering this is one of the most profitable teams that has consistently churned out sub .500 teams despite one of the top payroll's in baseball? What about his plan to turn the neighborhood into a mini-Times Square? That's for the product on the field too? 

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@ChipWelch @jasonflyen  I know what you are saying Chip but the Cubs also received very generous tax breaks for playing by those "historic landmark" rules. 

Four years later, I think the Ricketts seem to want it all. Make any renovation that suits them, but still keep "a brick" in place for tax purposes. I guess I shouldn't blame the Ricketts for this but the system, however, their family politics make this point difficult to ignore.

 Politics aside though, they knew what they were getting into when they bought the team. They are the only ones now trying to change the rules. Maybe changing the rules is for the best, but at least acknowledge why there is some push back and not act all victimized in this situation. 

A billionaire family trying to cry foul, via a well orchestrated PR campaign is what has soured this issued for all parties involved. 

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@Bearsclone  So if the winds of change are fickle in the Ricketts family direction, then we should all pretend that the previous agreements they bought into don't exist? 

If life in Wrigley is so hard, that a perpetually losing team can still fill the stadium & the owner's coffers, then I can draw them a map to Rosemont and just wish my life was so fortunate.(btw, none of this anything against Rosemont. I've been there recently and the new entertainment district is cool).

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Sven @gbjames911 

Generally more Cubs fans go to Cubs/Brewers games in Milwaukee than Brewers fans since Miller Park was built.  The only time the Sox fill their stadium is when they're playing the Cubs or they're in the playoffs.

There's no real competition for fans.  Even though both of those teams are better than the Cubs, the Cubs will still get higher attendance at higher prices than either of them.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Vinny- as a Obama supporter that you seem to be he is a supporter of gay marriage. You stated that historic preservation is for " the common good". Funny because the very same thing is heard from gay marriage opponents.

The sooner people such as yourself, learn to mind your own business, respect private property (property the community or yourself do not own), the better off we will all be.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Ginny-you make me laugh. You seem to have a learning curve as I posted the definition of liberty and have explained tyranny. Eminent domain is a taking. Several states have passed laws as a result of misuse by municipal governments taking private property, under eminent domain for private development instead of for public use as it was intended. Prior to a plaza or library being built the property is? Private property!

If I own a 100 year old house in the state I am moving to, it can not have the historic overlay placed on it without my concent (this is a result of people such as yourself, who do respect private property rights). Like I said, expect to see more laws by the states like this to restrict historic overlays without the owner's consent.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@RobSmithe , before libraries and plazas become public property, they are private property first. They do not just spring out of nowhere. Before a road is built, it is private property first. Look up the term "eminent domain." It happens all the time. If you buy a home on a busy two-lane, be prepared to have your yard cut in half to make way for a four-lane road. If you live in a 100-year-old house, be prepared to have it designated as an historical property. If you buy a major league team with a century-old stadium, be prepared to face plenty of blowback if you want to tear it down and put up another one. That's just common sense, pal.

Beyond that, you are a caricature, a cartoon character going around tossing around terms like "tyranny" and "Liberty" as if you know the first thing about either.

Go to a tyrannical country sometime -- a real one, where rulers have absolute power, and where people can be jailed or murdered for their opinions. Tell the people there about your little private property issues, how some poor billionaire in Chicago can't do what he wants with his little ballpark. They will laugh you right out of the country.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Vinny, your comparison is not valid. What are public libraries and plazas? They are public property! We are discussing private property, property that belongs to individual property owners. I am fortunate to be moving to a state where laws were passed to restrict historic designation without the consent of the property owner. I promise you will see more of this in the near future as we see more people like yourself, who view private property as belonging to the community.

I want to be very clear on this: what you state with regards to historic overlays is "mob rule". Get a group of people together and place a historic overlay on properties in which, the owner may not want the historic zoning. This is not basic zoning restrictions. You are forcing an ideology on private property owners(property not belonging to the public).

Finally,you know nothing about me. I am for separation of church and state, am in favor of abortion when the mother's life is in jeopardy or has been raped, not in favor of late term abortions, in favor of gay marriage. The point is try your best to put me in a "group", you will not succeed. I am for liberty and freedom, not like communist sheep, who shall remain nameless. :)

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@Bearsclone   @jasonflyen , a lot of public policy decisions are arbitrary.  If I own farmland on the edge of town, and the state wants to build a highway through it -- with the full backing and support of private industry, which wants to build a distribution center nearby -- then that's an arbitrary decision to me. The government has decided that my farmland is better used as a freeway for industry than as a place for my cows. They have their opinion, I have mine. But at the end of the day, I have to sell it. Now I believe any property owner should be given redress when the government steps in. But I also believe public officials have a right to make decisions they deem to be in the public good, including designating a property as historic.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@RobSmithe , I can assure you I know a lot about zoning too, though, unlike you, I don't claim to know "all about it." I doubt you know "all about it," either, but that's another story....

I have covered zoning boards as a reporter. I have also covered historic commissions. The ones I covered are appointed by elected officials, and have the right to designate something as "historic" if they believe it is in the public good. They must go through public debate to get approved. They don't make decisions in a vacuum, on their own, without public input.

Likewise, Homeowners Associations have the right to make residents adhere to certain rules so the neighborhood doesn't fall into disrepair. This is not an "ideology," any more than providing public libraries or public plazas is an "ideology."

You throw around terms like "tyranny" when something happens that you disagree with. That's like all these people who call Obama a "tyrant" even though he was elected by a majority of the voters and is greatly restricted in terms of what he can and can't do.

Finally, we live in a nation where voters decide who is allowed to make public policy. That is a very key ingredient of any democracy. It is not "mob rule." There are plenty of checks and balances to guard against that. Stop foaming at the mouth already. You sound like the Tea Party.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@jasonflyen @RobSmithe 

I don't know what your property is or why you're restricted from turning it into a tavern.  I assume it's because of standard zoning, and you don't live in a commercial area.

Your situation doesn't apply to the Cubs though.  Wrigley field is a commercial establishment, in a commercial district.  No one is asking for the zoning to be changed.  They're not trying to turn it into an industrial site, they're not trying to turn it into anything except what it already is:  a venue to watch baseball and other events.

The restrictions on "landmark" sites are arbitrary.  If they're so good for the community, then the community ought to give something in return, like tax breaks, to compensate the trouble of maintaining a site within those restrictions. 

Whether or not those restrictions existed when Rickets bought the team is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not they ought to exist now, or whether they should have existed in the first place.

If the public REALLY cares about Wrigley as a historical landmark, then they ought to buy it via emminent domain, and maintain it at public expense.  Then Rickets can get some of his money back and move some place less "historic" where he can make money with his property.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Vinny- I assure you i know all about local zoning. First point is that we live in a constitutional republic and not a true democracy as you incorrectly state. This is an important distinction, as in a democracy you can have what is called "mob rule", where rights, freedom are trampled. This is true especially with whatever minority is living in the said democracy. Historic preservation is an ideology.

It is similar to saying "I like trees, therefore ever property in the city should have X amount of trees on it". I do not have the right to force my ideology on everyone else. Again this is not basic zoning being discussed. AGAIN what you forget is that we are talking about private property.

Being allowed to do what you want with property you bought and paid for does not make you selfish...it makes you an American with freedom and liberty.

Liberty: the state of being free within society from oppresive restrictions placed On one's way of life.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@RobSmithe , many historic designations are based on zoning, not some kind of arbitrary "tyranny" you seem so focused on. In many cities, older neighborhoods have been designated as "historic" by zoning boards and commissions as a way of preserving the integrity of the homes. Homeowners are not allowed to do certain things to the property -- because of zoning. On one street, they can't do it. The next street over, they can -- because the next street over is out of the zone. That's the way a democracy works. Just because one selfish prick decides he wants to do something doesn't mean he has a right to.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Let the rooftop owners sue the ricketts. If the contract is good the rooftop owners will win, the city has no business in that. If there is a contract with the city for a specified number of night games, I agree with you that it should be honored.

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

No, it really isn't like that at all. This isn't some sort of libertarian, big govt issue.


The Ricketts knowingly bought in to two agreements regarding night games and revenue sharing with the rooftops.

Is it not American or pro capitalism to honor contracts?

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Once again, not reading comments. Basic zoning laws prevent the kind of thing you bring up. Historic preservation is NOT basic zoning ordinances! Historic preservation is an ideology that us based on the aesthetics of the structure...not life safety or basic common sense. It is like me saying "I like trees, therefore every property owner should be made in the city to have X amount of trees on the property". I don't Own all the private properties in Chicago but I should I be allowed to force my ideology on others?

What happened to private property and minding one's own business?

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

Some do not read comments ! Never stated BASIC zoning laws were wrong. I stated they leave the property owner with great freedom and liberty, where historic overlays are a ideology shoved upon the property owners.

Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

@RobSmithe , "Tyranny?" Really? Because governments put historic designations on buildings, and there are zoning regulations? Dont you think you're overstating things by about 1,000 percent or so? If I buy a house next to yours, can I open up an all-night topless lounge there? Can I put a 24-hour cement plant there? After all, it's my "private property," I should be able to do anything I want with it, right?

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@RobSmithe If only it were that easy. Govt, business, pvt citizens, we all need to get along. 

I would love to turn my property into a tavern without the govt telling me different. However, exactly like the Ricketts family, I knew the rules when I purchased.

RobSmithe
RobSmithe

I have never agreed with the historic zoning overlay being placed on private property without the consent of the property OWNER. Basic zoning allows the property owner great freedom, while historic preservation is an ideology being forced down the throats of property owners. Private property belongs to individual owners and not the community as a whole. I am happy to see someone with the leverage (the ricketts), be able to get the message through to a city whom would like to operate with full tyranny and preservationists who do not respect private property.

jasonflyen
jasonflyen

@ChipWelch @jasonflyen Chip, Tx for the reply and I apologize for throwing out incorrect info regarding a tax break.

During the "historical landmark" process in 2004 the Cubs were able to expand capacity as a result of the negotiations, which has the net result of increasing revenue.

Nonetheless, I was wrong about the tax break as this was a completely different situation.

ChipWelch
ChipWelch

@jasonflyen @ChipWelch The Ricketts receive no tax breaks because the landmark status is through the city of Chicago.  The landmark was placed on Wrigley in response to bad press related to Mayor Daley ripping up Meigs Field.  The Chicago Historical Society has been very hands on, and restrictive, with the improvements because of what the Bears did to Soldier Field. The Cubs recently did apply for national landmark status to get those tax breaks similar to what happened in Boston.

Mayor Emmanuel wants a deal done and I think he is pretty much behind the Cubs because of the additional taxes through increased revenue streams and tourist dollars.  The team is having to negotiate with Tom Tunney who has taken significant campaign donations from the rooftop owners. 

I agree they knew what they were getting into when they bought the team.  


Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@jasonflyen @Bearsclone 

We don't need to "pretend" anything.  As a citizen, a contract between two private parties is their concern, and it's up to the courts to adjudicate if there is a dispute about what the contract means.

I'm not a lawyer, but it's hard for me to imagine that the rooftop association can't afford lawyers to protect their contract rights, if indeed those rights truly exist.  It's hard for me to believe that if the issues are truly that clear cut, they couldn't get a judgment to cover their losses as well as punitive damages.

gbjames911
gbjames911

@Bearsclone @Sven @gbjames911 You are absolutely correct. While I go to Wrigley for the historical field, I would rather go to Miller Park to enjoy the game. Its funny the amount of anger that the Ricketts are receiving when the same sort of anger was perceived when the renovations to Fenway were done. Would fans be upset if everything was done in similar accordance to Fenway. It seems that people think this is going to complete change Wrigley and it will not. This whole fight isn't about baseball at all but simply about money and greedy rooftops owners.