Hell freezes over: Cubs decide to pay for Wrigley fix-up themselves | Bleader

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hell freezes over: Cubs decide to pay for Wrigley fix-up themselves

Posted By on 01.24.13 at 10:20 AM

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The Cubs paying for a Wrigley Field fix-up is as unlikely as this scenario.
  • Jason Howell
  • The Cubs paying for a Wrigley Field fix-up is as unlikely as this scenario.
The big news out of last week's Cubs Convention came when team owner Tom Ricketts announced, "The guy named Ben from the Reader's right—we don't need public money to fix up Wrigley Field!"

OK, well—he didn't really say that, or refer to the Reader or me at all.

But he has switched his tune and is singing a song that I can appreciate.

Instead of saying he really, really needs a handout or he can't fix up Wrigley Field . . .

He's saying—keep the money, Chicago. Just let me make more money by erecting some big advertising signs, staging more night games, and closing off Sheffield during games.

Or, as Ricketts put it, "Let us go about doing our business and then we'll take care of ourselves."

Let's be honest, folks, it was outrageous that the Cubs had the gall to ask for a handout in the first place. Especially when we're so broke we're closing schools—which seems to be the perpetual case around here.

They're a moneymaking machine with a fantastically loyal legion of followers, who are willing to pay top dollar to watch that wretched team play.

In fact, the other big news out of the convention is that the Cubs—coming off yet another last-place season—boasted they should have a competitive team by 2015.

It's only been 100 or so years since their last championship. What's another two?

Actually, my bet is that none of the sports moguls in town need the money we give them—not the Sox, Bears, Bulls, or Blackhawks.

Most of these moguls only ask for handouts 'cause they know they're probably going to get them.

Always looking to cut a ribbon, Mayor Rahm seemed eager to fork over a few hundred million to the Cubs. Just take the money saved from firing teachers!

You know our mayor's always happy when he's firing teachers.

Then the New York Times outed Joe Ricketts's involvement in a foolish right-wing scheme to unseat President Obama. And Mayor Rahm got really, really mad.

Though it's not clear whether he was mad at Papa Joe or at the Times for ruining his ribbon-cutting Wrigley Field photo op.

With the presidential race out of the way, it looked like Mayor Rahm was gearing up to give them the cash—then the Cubs pulled the plug.

Apparently, they don't want to miss any more construction seasons on their rebuilding job. And there's no guarantee that Mayor Rahm could make this deal in the current political climate.

I mean, even Chicago's electorate might not tolerate giving millions to the Cubs while closing schools and firing teachers.

So the Cubs are plowing on with their construction plans without a handout, as radical as that sounds.

"It's just a matter of [Mayor Emanuel] wants to protect the taxpayer," Crane Kenney, the Cubs' business operation president, said at the convention. "We understand that. This cannot have a negative impact on taxpayers, and it has to create substantial jobs. Everything we've talked about does both of those."

Notice the nice words for Mayor Rahm, looking out for the taxpayers. Sounds like Kenney was reading from a script written by the mayor's press office.

In any event, on behalf of taxpayers everywhere I want to thank the Cubs for not taking our money—unlike the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Sox, the Bears, and the developers over at River Point, and—well, you get the idea.

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