Cub’s owner Tom Ricketts made news Wednesday when he threatened to move the team from Wrigley field if renovations to the stadium stalled. The idea was floated around by Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens in March, but the Cubs never publicly commented about moving, until now.
“The fact is that if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we’ll have to take a look at moving — no question,” Ricketts told reporters on Wednesday.
Those words are clearly directed towards those pesky rooftop owners. The ones who have been stealing product for the last 30 years. Part of the proposal for renovations calls for a 6,000 square foot Jumbotron that would block some views from the rooftops. While the rooftop owners may have a contract with the Cubs, they should have no say in Ricketts improving the quality of a glorified run-down shack.
Wrigley is in desperate need of renovations. It has been for years. Remember when concrete was falling on top of fans during games? The renovations will not only improve the experience for fans, but also for the players. In today’s day and age, being able to attract players during free agency has as much to do with winning and money as it does with facilities. If Cubs fans really want to see an improvement in the on-field talent, no one should even be whispering about standing in the way of these renovations.
The threat by Ricketts may seem hollow, but it should be taken seriously. The majority of people will believe that there is no way the Cubs will play anywhere other than Wrigley. They may be right. But Ricketts is going to do what’s best for the franchise, not the fans. If that means moving the Cubs to somewhere other than Wrigley, you better believe that Ricketts is considering it.
There are plenty of arguments as to why the Cubs will never leave Wrigley. There are also plenty of counter-arguments to those.
Argument: The Cubs will never move to the suburbs because no one will go to the games.
Counter-Argument: Plenty of people make the trip from the suburbs to attend games at Wrigley daily. And if the Cubs are the franchise that they think they are, won’t fans pay to see them play anywhere?
Argument: Wrigley field is the best park in America.
Counter-Argument: Have you seen a modern baseball stadium lately? Just go take a look a New Yankee Stadium and tell me that Wrigley is still better. If the Yankees were willing to tear down ‘The House That Ruth Built,’ why shouldn’t the Cubs consider leaving?
There are plenty more arguments out there. Ask a Cub fan and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of different reasons why the Cubs shouldn’t renovate or leave Wrigley. The only reality that matters is that Ricketts is the owner and if he says he’s thinking about moving, people should pay attention.