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A hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

* Actually, he didn’t threaten to do anything except to consider the idea

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for the first time threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if it doesn’t receive government approval for more signs in the outfield, including a giant video scoreboard.

“I’m not sure how anyone is going to stop the signs in the outfield, but if it comes to the point that we don’t have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield then we’re going to have to consider moving,” Ricketts said at Wednesday morning event at the City Club of Chicago where he was the guest speaker. “It’s a simple as that.”

Plus, he was responding to a hypothetical question of “What if opponents stop the signs in the outfield?” The various sides hashed out a framework a couple of weeks ago that includes signage.

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And, besides, if they did move, who would go to the games to just watch that team play?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Deep South - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    Let ‘em move. Probably be the best thing for the Cubs….if they wanna start contending for the Series again.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    The Cubs have no leverage when it comes to moving.

    Yankee Stadium cost $1.5 billion. The Mets new ballpark cost $850 million.

    If you think you can draw 3 million tucked away against the runways and railyards in Rosemont, have at it.

  3. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    Wrigley will still be a landmark if the Cubs move, right?

    So, there will be baseball played, right?

    There will be a ton of minor league or independent teams that would love to play in Wrigley.

    Tickets would be cheaper.

    And the team would probably be one of the best in its league.

    The Cubs are a dysfunctional franchise. Leaving would be a blessing.

  4. - The Muse - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    I read somewhere that one of the main reasons Wrigley Field sells out (not lately though) is because of tourism it draws. It being the 2nd oldest ballpark certainly helps with attendance and a cookie cutter “Miller Park South” would not be beneficial to the Cubs. The businessman in Ricketts certainly knows that.

  5. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    = And, besides, if they did move, who would go to the games to just watch that team play? =

    Rich, we understand the concept of selling tickets is still foreign to the Sox.

    To the post: I might have taken the threat of moving the team seriously if the family had not invested in the northwest Clark & Addison property beforehand.

  6. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    They’re not moving.

  7. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    I created a petition to Tom Ricketts asking him to move the team.

    It would be good for Chicago to have the Cubs leave.

  8. - Mason born - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    I personally am no fan of the Cubs prefer Cards. but that being said a Ball Game at Wrigley is twice as good as anywhere else. If they move then they are slicing their own throat. Rich is right if you kill the nostalgia who is going to go to see a team that almost never makes it to October.

  9. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    He has no leverage, but this isn’t the last time he threatens to leave. Keep threatening to leave–> get concessions from local government. It has worked successfully for many team owners in many cities and states.

  10. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    Wrigleyville without the Cubs would be Uptown.

  11. - wndycty - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    I wonder how much the value of the team drops without Wrigley. I think a significant amount of the Cubs value is tied to Wrigley.

  12. - votecounter - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    22 year season ticket holder and I say lets Move!!! I am tired of getting screwed by the city you could buy up Lake side land in North Chicago Waukegan area and build the exact same thing there. As many night games as they want. Highway and Trains the park would be packed. the old days of young college girls in the bleachers are gone after day of game tickets left. screw Wrigleyville. BTW the Reader had a great story claiming the sox pay nothing for rent and keep all of the money.
    rahm the Mayor who lost the CUBS and the Cell would still be empty

  13. - nieva - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    Move them to St. Louis. We can support two teams and could probably win a WS within a few years.

  14. - sal-says - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    Rich boy finds a way to kill off storied baseball franchise.


  15. - Wensicia - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    Neither the Cubs or Wrigley Field can continue without the other. They’ll always be together.

  16. - Amalia - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    they are not going anywhere, not that I care if they leave or stay.

    and wrigley is no Fenway.

  17. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    Wrigleyville was invented by the Tribune. I have lots of friends who grew up in the neighborhood in the 60s. It was working class two flats with the immigrant parents in the upstairs flat and my friends and their immediate family downstairs. They’d get out at St. Andrew’s and run to the ballpark–admission was free after the 7th (I think) inning and there were plenty of seats available. They watch an hour of mediocre baseball and then go home and eat supper when Dad got home from work.

  18. - Mouthy - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    Empty Bluster.

  19. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    Gee, where are all the traders going to go after work now?

    Like many of those who don’t live in the city, I can say I am more likely to go to a game in Rosemont than Wrigley Field. Once you are on an el, Rosemont is not really any harder to get to than Wrigley.

    Everything from the parking to amenities are substandard.

    The fields is beautiful, but that’s where it stops.

    No more public money to circuses like sporting leagues. If someone wants to spend their own money, then government should get out of their way.

  20. - Stones - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    Ricketts is just playing the game. This is another negotiating chip in the process and I doubt seriously that the Cubs would move.

    Some recall the 11th hour deal for New Comiskey Park (now US Cellular). Reinsdorf threatened to move to Tampa so that the Governor had the leverage to get the deal done. I heard a subsequent interview with Reinsdorf who admitted that he actually had no intention of moving the team.

  21. - Nickypiii - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    I’ve got a very close friend who has many acres in Kendall County!

  22. - reformer - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    If the City plays too much hardball in restricting the Cubs, then Ricketts might feel he has no choice but to seriously consider an alternative where the local government would be friendly and the team would have a much lower entertainment tax.

  23. - reformer - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    Rosemont would be easier for many if not most Cub fans to get to. Parking would also be easier. I was at the game Monday night, and I must admit traffic from the ‘burbs into the City was unusually light. It’s usually stop-and-go.

  24. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    I am a lifelong Cub Fan. I have been in many big league ball parks and in quite a few club houses. Wrigley is the worst!!! I say move to the burbs and lets get a state of the art ballpark. I would still go, and actually it would probably be more comfortable. Go Cubs!

  25. - Huh? - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    My first thought after reading that they were thinking about moving was - Bye.

  26. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Several years ago, the long-time car wash at Addison and Ravenswood was going to close and there was talk of it being the perfect place for another stop on the Metra north line to accomodate Cubs fans from the suburbs and those who could take the train from the loop. It never happened and a real estate developer built multi-unit condos.

  27. - Rudy - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    Ricketts was provoked by the question, briefly flared, and took the bait, making headlines. The media wanted this story; they may have been the ones that manufactured it. I don’t think the statement was indicative of Ricketts’ intentions. Rahm is trying to let all the actors voluntarily come to an agreement, but will step in and give orders (and make some enemies) if necessary to save the deal.

  28. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    Corporate welfare taken from middle-class and poor taxpayers and given to mega-rich professional sports teams is beyond disgusting and needs to end throughout all levels of government. The Peoria Chiefs / Cardinals are about to get another bailout after the city helping pay to build the imported palm tree lined stadium. And they are considered “non-profit” for tax purposes while enjoying a protected monopoly. Its all disgusting and if most of us weren’t all idiots, we would stop it.

    The Welfare Sox / Reinsdorf should be ashamed at how much they have taken from the people to subsidize their wealth. Too bad they didn’t leave town 20 years ago, Chicago would have saved truck-loads of money to be used for things that should be a much higher priority.

    The Cubs might as well leave, cause it’d take decades of “favors” for them to get the same treatment as filthy rich Reinsdorf and the Bears and …

  29. - Joe from Joliet - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    If they moved to the ‘burbs, could they build the new ballpark to give you virtually the same visual from your seat? Of course, better sight lines, video screen and a few more rows of seats. But if the field view looked the same as now, would you go?

  30. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    Probably a similar number that go see the White Sox play–not many.

  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    The Sox do not have to sell too many tickets as long as the team is taxpayer subsidized and has a sweetheart leasing agreement that allows them to play virtually rent free.

  32. - Living in Machiaville - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    His team, his park, let him work it out. I’d continue to root for the Cubs if they moved to burbs. I love going to Wrigley but have not much the last few years because ticket prices do not match product on the field. I like the nostalgic sense at Wrigley but its really about the action on the diamond.

  33. - cunobarragan - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Even with signs there are 3 major things he needs to do to his outfield. A leftfielder, a rightfielder, and a centerfielder. If he is finally laying a foundation to move I have a new respect for what I have always thought was a bleacher fan intellect.

  34. - bored now - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    i strongly believe that they could play little league/babe ruth at wrigley and fans would be fine with it. they don’t come to watch a professional baseball team — cubs fans will tell you they come for the experience. as long as they sold beer, who would notice?

    ricketts is in a weak negotiating position. and if the cubs left (there are lots of places they could go and find a substantial fan base), the city of chicago could root for a team that’s won the world series in the last decade…

  35. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    –(there are lots of places they could go and find a substantial fan base), the city of chicago could root for a team that’s won the world series in the last decade…–

    I’m not so sure.

    Building a new stadium in a cornfield is a very expensive proposition: infrastructure, ingress and egress. Most new stadiums are built in the parking lots across from the old stadiums.

    Of existing sites, Arlington Park probably makes the most sense. I’m not sure the Rosemont site is for real. I don’t think the Hawthorne site would draw.

    The markets in the rest of the country are spoken for. Maybe San Antonio or North Carolina could be options. Las Vegas is out because of gambling.

    Do any of those spots get you close to a 3 million gate with a 100-loss team? I don’t think so.

  36. - OldSmoky2 - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 3:29 pm:

    “Wrigleyville without the Cubs would be Uptown.”

    Actually, a lot of people believe it would be more like Lincoln Park as far as residential property values go.
    And while Ricketts owns Wrigley Field, he doesn’t own the whole neighborhood, and it really rubs people who’ve lived here a long time the wrong way when he acts like he does by demanding it’s his way or the highway.

  37. - ProblemChild21 - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    If the main consensus in this discussion is that people watch the Cubs because they play in Wrigley instead of quality major league play, maybe its time to demote the Cubs from the majors to the minors. Then a minor league team will be playing in Wrigley, requiring less modern facilities, and Chicago will retain its loveable losers.

    No, really… As a Cardinals fan who has lovingly hated the Cubs since I was a child, what would the Cardinals do without the Cubs as a nearby neighbor and sometimes rival? It’s time for the Cubs to get serious about TALENT and MANAGEMENT. Just changing the field or location won’t solve their problems. Just ask the Marlins…

  38. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    Who cares? Take the Flubs back to Cheeseheadland if you want, Junior.

  39. - Belle - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    Threat Threat Threat…ooooohhhhh…who cares

  40. - ZC - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    I’ve actually been warming to the idea of a video screen in the stadium. The old school atmosphere is great but a ton of the game of baseball takes place in that batter’s box, and it would enhance my appreciation of the game, while at Wrigley, if I could actually see what was going on.

  41. - Independent - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    The Cubs have leverage. Would Rahm want to be known as the mayor who let the Cubs go? Even if it weren’t his fault I believe he would get stuck with that tag.

    As for no one going to Rosemont don’t be so sure. Sure, those interested in the Wrigley experience would go to far fewer games. But there would be suburbanites who dread the hassles of Wrigley there to replace them. Whether there would be enough to make attendance a wash is anyone’s guess.

  42. - Responsa - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    Why not have the Sox and Cubs share Comiskey Park aka the Cell? It’s a great stadium and facility, and the city already has money invested. Between road trips and day/night games why couldn’t it work?

  43. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 5:26 pm:

    ===I’ve got a very close friend who has many acres in Kendall County!===

    I think we are “good” friends, not necessarily “close” friends, but to each his/her own.

    To the Post,

    Too late in the game to try the leverage angle; you negotiated, got agreement, the City and the Ball Club announced, now do the “Work” in the City Council, with Rahm, to get it done.

    ===Rich boy finds a way to kill off storied baseball franchise.===

    Most Insightful Post, the Nominees “Are” …

  44. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    @FakeJasonPlummer - Tom Ricketts is showing his Dad he can do the job. I can relate. I smell promotion, Tom! #SonsShowingDadTheyrule

  45. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 6:26 pm:

    @FakeJasonPlummer Can we buy the Cardinals, Dad?

  46. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 6:33 pm:

    - Arthur Andersen -,

    “Here endth the lesson!”

    Well played, well played.

  47. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 6:50 pm:

    How bogus–like a big Crybaby whinin’ about how if he doesn’t get his way, Rahm, then “I’m not going to PLAY in YOUR Neighborhood anymore!” Ridiculous. Wrigley is a treasure and everybody, Ricketts included. What a lot of hot air–playing the “Initimidation” Game/Card.

    The bottom line is he’ll get a lot-and almost all of what Mr. Big Shot “must” have or else-but a couple of the Rooftop Owners will sue them over the huge new Scoreboard and for the few million it’d cost them to pay oh, what, a THIRD of Soriano’s ANnual Salary for one, measly year, they’ll settle with those people and move on…

    But really, Tommy, the “Do it or else” Approach is something out of the Bugsy Moran/Al Capone Era, is lame, unappreciated, and truly raises the question of your level of loyalty to Cub Fans and the entire Cubs’ “Experience”–cheering at, around, and IN Wrigley Field being a significant part of said experience. I kind of liked the guy before–ya know, the whole “I cheered every game in the Bleachers and met my future Wife there” line, but this is a real turn-off…!

  48. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 6:52 pm:

    …Meant to read above…”and everybody knows it, Ricketts included.”

  49. - 22skidoo - Wednesday, May 1, 13 @ 11:07 pm:

    Amazing how many congeners just ignored the original statement that this was a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. And bad baseball teams can be turned around by good management. The Cubs stink today largely because of Sam Sell–er, Zell. Tom Ricketts isn’t Sam Zell, or P.K. Wrigley, for that matter.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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