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Gov. Blagojevich weighs in on Wrigley

Friday, Mar 28, 2008

* After returning from spring training in Arizona, Governor Blagojevich talked a little baseball with the press:

“The Yankees tore down Yankee Stadium,” Blagojevich said. “The Cubs oughta play baseball at Wrigley Field forever.”

He then added that as a Cubs fan, he would he’d love to see Mark Cuban take over the Cubs:

“Look, I like him as an owner,” Blagojevich said. “I think he’d be a very hands-on owner who cares and would spend money to put a winning team out there.”

* The governor also said that the stadium is a top tourist attraction. While he says he is concerned that the stadium should stay, he also believes that the state shouldn’t use tax dollars to make it happen.

Blagojevich also said that if there is a deal, the stadium’s name should stay. A spokesperson for the Illinois Sports Authority, which owns and runs the White Sox’s US Cellular Field, says discussions are ongoing.

* Additionally, many Cubs fans are buying a local company’s “Keep It Wrigley” T-shirts to wear to Monday’s home opener.

The “Keep It Wrigley” shirt is the brainchild of Chris Festa, who launched the company five years ago with the shirt “In Dusty We Trusty.” He also designed the popular “(773) For-Ever/I’ll Never Move to Naperville” and “South Side/You Wouldn’t Last A Day Down Here” shirts.

“Keep It Wrigley” is his best-selling sport shirt since “In Dusty We Trusty,” he said. He has shipped the anti-name-change shirts to Cubs fans in North Carolina, Arkansas and Florida.

The Sun-Times is having a contest where they will be giving away 100 “Keep It Wrigley” shirts to the best limerick authors:

The limerick, popular with rugby clubs and men from Nantucket, is a five-line poem where the last words of lines one, two and five rhyme (hint: Trib, bib, crib). Lines three and four should end in a separate rhyme (think Sam Zell and more cowbell).

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - Frank Booth - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    Yankee Stadium was no Wrigley Field.
    New Yorkers show up for the team, not the experience.
    As mentioned here many times by many people, the true value of the Cubs (and Red Sox) is the stadium.
    Move ‘em to Gary and see if you pack 35,000 trustafarians into the stadium on a Thursday afternoon to drink beer and talk on their cell phones.
    I imagine the real motivation here is the governor is going to start saying that if lawmakers don’t approve a capital bill then the Cubs will leave Wrigley.

  2. - From Dan Curry - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is pushing hard for public funding of Wrigley Field renovation. It may be his most brazen hustle yet.

    As we all know, Blagojevich is on Disneyworld boat ride toward a corruption indictment—he can’t get off and we all know where the boat lands. His once vaunted (and illegal) campaign money raising operation is finally starting to sputter and his legal bills are rising. In the last six months of reporting available, 39.7 cents of every dollar he raised went to Winston & Strawn, the downtown law firm headed by former Governor Jim Thompson. Big Jim happens to head the public agency putting together the Wrigley plan.

    If the trends continue, Rod will be out of money to pay his legal bills as the feds close in on him. What is the one thing that kept his campaign treasury flush over the years? Promises of high returns for investors. What does the Wrigley Field public financing plan include? About $350 million in bonding and plenty of legal work. In other words, lots of no-bid contracts to hand out to “investors.”

    So Rod and Big Jim are pushing a plan that will put taxpayers on the hook for a Wrigley Field renovation that will happen anyway. And they are pushing for an outcome that will help Rod raise campaign cash to pay Big Jim’s law firm.

    Even by Illinois standards, the brazen-meter needle is traveling to new territory.

  3. - Wumpus - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    Yeah, who cares how the team does? AS for Cuban, we all know how many championships they have won in Dallas, while he continues to be an attention who-a.

  4. - Shelbyville - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    The Cubs seem to pack a stadium, almost anywhere they go. It isn’t Wrigley. It is the team.

    Now, it you want to call them Redbirds, there would be a problem.

  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    It’s bread and circuses. Not doing too well on the bread front these days, so bring on the circus.

  6. - Q-C Transplant - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:43 am:

    Last time I checked, Yankee stadium was still standing. I know this is the last season for the stadium before it comes down but at least the Governor could get his facts straight.

  7. - Levois - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    The governor is all about the circus.

  8. - Dirt Guy - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Well, Rod is a clown.

  9. - I is a poet - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    Don’t be feeling so down
    About our Governor being a clown
    For he loves him some Cubs
    Whether they do good or make flubs
    So don’t turn his Cub joy into a frown

  10. - The Doc - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 11:29 am:

    Well said, Dan Curry. What always jumps out to me is the idea that without state intervention, the Cubs will somehow be forced to move from the beer garden. Thompson, Zell, and the bunch are little more than glorified extortionists.

    Secondly, why should we entrust the management of Wrigley the organization that butchered Soldier Field and is losing money at Comiskey Park? And does anyone believe the estimate that renovation costs would be $350-$400 million? We can’t rehab a couple of brown line El platforms for that much loot.

  11. - Independent - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 11:31 am:

    I’d love for the new Cubs ownership to offer Blago an exective position or even a George Costanza “Assistant to the Traveling Secretary” spot. I think he just might accept it.

    In this job he would actually enjoy going to work. He would not have to go to Springfield. He could even form productive relationships with co-workers. Best of all his blunders would only affect the Cubs and not the taxpayers.

  12. - Anon - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 11:54 am:

    “I is a poet” is to poetry what G-Rod is to governance and the Cubs are to baseball.

  13. - Another Limerick - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 12:18 pm:

    Inspired by another post today, and I tried to keep it clean as possible:

    There once was a Gov from Nantucket
    Whose foes wore blue shirts saying he suck’d it;
    He sought loads of folk’s cash
    To buy an old stadium, trashed
    So that others in blue shirts could keep muck’n it.

  14. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 12:20 pm:

    The only way that the taxpaying public will not be paying for the stadium and renovation is to keep its mitts off the process.

    The same lack of logic the Governor has been selling advocating for the lease of the lottery applies here.

    If the field goes to Thompson’s Sports Authority, who will fill the property tax void? - the taxpayers

    If a TIFF is used, diverting neighborhood property tax money (now without Wrigley;s portion) from the city and schools, who will have to make up for the revenue loss? - the taxpayers

    If a sales tax district is created and diverts money to the stadium, who will be paying for it? - the taxpayers.

    Seems to me we need to start looking for an attorney to represent the taxpayers and sue the Governor, ex-Governor Thompson and others involved in this corporate welfare.

    Does anyone else wonder about the relationship between the Gov. and Winston Strawn? Hundreds of thousands of dollars going the Big Jim and friends regularly from the Gov’s campaign chest and Big Jim magically spends his time working on this hare “hair :’)” brained idea to provide millions to those who are already rich. It appears to me that this is just another form of pay to play.

  15. - Sick Of It! - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 12:50 pm:

    Hmmm, Anybody think Rod R Blagojevich Park at Wrigley Field sounds good? Bet there is one guy in the state who dreams of it!

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 1:26 pm:

    There once was a governor named Rod
    Whose reformer claims were a fraud
    He plundered the state with his cronies and hacks
    But now old Pat Fitz is hot on their tracks
    And nothing can save them, save God

  17. - Kevin Fanning - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 1:44 pm:

    Not bad. As an Irishman I approve of the limerick.

  18. - Hickory - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 2:48 pm:

    Left Wing Cuban is not what we need in Illinois.
    Please check him out.

  19. - Downstater - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 3:39 pm:

    No wonder that Blago wants Mark Cuban to take over the Cubs. He is a far left loon same as Blago. If by some chance Cuban buys the Cubs, I will cease being a life long Cubs fan.

  20. - The Mad Hatter - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 3:52 pm:

    I love the irony here. Unindicted Official A-Rod, the state’s biggest grandstander, wants Mark Cuban, the sports world’s biggest grandstander, to buy the Scrubs, the losingest franchise in history, so we can keep them in Chicago. I say we’ve had enough of all these losers and have a different suggestion: Cuban buys the Flubs, moves them to Texas, hires Unindicted Official A-Rod as general manager and makes Jim Thompson special assistant to the team president. The toxic waste dump that is Wrigley Field is torn down and replaced with a desperately-needed Wal-Mart. We bring back Ron Bartman to manage it and everybody lives happily ever after.

  21. - What can I say? - Friday, Mar 28, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    Am I the only one wondering about his free time. Shouldn’t he be trying to track down how 900K was overpaid or is that not important enough to merit his time? I know there’s not much else going on because he runs such a tight ship.

  22. - Disgusted - Saturday, Mar 29, 08 @ 8:11 am:

    The state is broke, can’t pay its bills. Milarod is on his way to federal court. The workers who get services to the people of Illinois are losing their jobs right and left. The national economy is helping by tanking also. And Milarod’s biggest problem is who will own Wrigley Field? This man is certifiable.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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