<
>

Cubs await chance to pitch Wrigley plan

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs are ready to start their long-awaited Wrigley Field renovations, but they're respectfully putting the onus back on the city for approval to get started.

While the Cubs introduced their new radio partner at Wrigley Field, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks met at City Hall without the revised Wrigley Field plans on its agenda.

Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel halted the Cubs' newest plans to renovate Wrigley Field because the city didn't know about the changes the Cubs were making to the ivy-covered brick walls in the outfield, which are landmark-protected.

Now the Cubs find themselves waiting for a new hearing with the landmarks commission.

"At this point, the calendar is up to the city of Chicago," Cubs vice president of communications Julian Green said. "The next scheduled meeting could be in July. There are circumstances for special meetings. Again, but I certainly won't speculate on a date, because the city of Chicago is in control of the calendar.

"We're ready, the revised package is done. We've communicated that we're ready to take the bullpen doors [off the table]. I want to make that clear. There's been some confusion about the bullpen doors and the location of the bullpen. We're prepared to take the bullpen doors off the table for the landmarks."

Yes, a $575 million project is on hold because of a miscommunicated plan to double the size of landmark-protected outfield doors to allow Cubs relievers a better view of the deal. You can't make this stuff up.

In the Cubs' revised plan, released almost two weeks ago, they would add seats in the bleachers, additional outfield signs and a smaller videoboard to go with the previously approved videoboard and outfield sign. The plan also included an expanded clubhouse and moving the bullpens from foul territory to underneath the bleachers.

But those darn bullpen doors are said to be the problem, which is why the Cubs are fine ditching that part of the deal.

"As far as we heard, that was a sticking point for the commission," Green said. "We are prepared to keep the outfield doors just the way they are so we can move forward. Obviously, we can revisit some of those things later."

The Cubs maintain, again respectfully, that they told the city they were moving the bullpens and expanding the green doors, which currently have Under Armour ads on them, which would take away some space for landmark-protected ivy to grow.

"As I stated last week, the belief was is that they weren't called out," Green said. "I also share there were documents shared with the city. But if the city believes they weren't highlighted enough or we didn't do a good enough job in terms of calling it out or pointing it out, we absolutely bear the responsibility for that. Having said that, like we said, if the landmark commission has a problem with bullpen doors widening, doubling or tripling, we're willing to take that off the table."

The Cubs had planned to break ground on a new, expanded clubhouse in July by digging underneath the parking lot that abuts Clark Street and Waveland Avenue, but for now, that plan is on hold.

"We want to get our approvals first before we start construction," Green said. "That would be the plan."