The Wrigley Dilema

The Chicago Cubs open their 2013 season this week without a deal in place to renovate the historic Wrigley Field. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported that the Cubs and the city were close to agreement on a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field that includes a $200 million hotel across the street. This comes on the heels of the news that the Mayor of Rosemont was offering land for the Cubs to relocate.

Has there ever been so much resistance to renovating a collapsing building? While Wrigley Field holds a lot of nostalgia for fans, let’s call it what it is, a dump. Opened in 1914, the stadium has long been an iconic part of the Chicago landscape. But the stadium has been dying for a face lift. Crammed spaces, lack of modern amenities and deteriorating infrastructure are nothing new for the building on the corner of Waveland and Sheffield.  Yet, despite these glaring problems, the fight to allow Wrigley to remain the same comes from fans and the city alike. The reasons have ranged from maintaining the integrity of the stadium to the problem of raising the appropriate funds. Now that the Ricketts family has ponied up the funds, they’re still seems to be a hold up.

“The mayor [Rahm Emanuel] and the mayor’s office has been terrific,” Tom Ricketts told “Carmen & Jurko” on ESPN Chicago 1000. “They’ve been really helping us coordinate and helping us push the deal through. We’ve got the alderman [Tom Tunney] who has been very productive; we’ve been working with him to kind of lock down some of the issues and really focus on some of the community-oriented issues. It’s a process and we’re 100 percent committed to it and we want to see it get through.”

Thanks to Chicago politics, a process that should’ve been completed years ago continues to be held up. Anyone with one eye and half a brain should be able to see that Wrigley needs help, no ifs, ands or buts. But what is really comical is that somehow the rooftop owners seem to believe they have some right to be apart of the negotiations.

While the rooftop owners have a contract with the Cubs, the idea that their feelings should be considered at all in the negotiations is laughable. The rooftops have essentially been stealing product for years. While they split some of the profits with the Cubs, the idea that they receive any profit is a joke. Name one other professional sports stadium or arena where those not inside the stadium are able to view the games. I’m pretty sure that you’ll have a hard time finding one. So while the rooftop owners will continue to moan and complain, the Cubs should tell them where to stick it.

Instead of worrying about the product that the Cubs are putting on the field, which is terrible, people are worried about how these renovations will affect them. The big picture is that the renovations are desperately needed and anyone who continues to fight them needs to get lost.

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