Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Source: Cubs to unveil Wrigley plans Sat.
By Bruce Levine
The Chicago Cubs will announce plans at the Cubs Convention this weekend to renovate Wrigley Field, according to a source familiar with the situation.
President of business operations Crane Kenney will present a detailed design at a seminar Saturday afternoon, the source said.
The team had to table work on the ballpark due to a communication breakdown between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Ricketts family late last summer over a controversial ad proposed by a political action committee reportedly funded by Joe Ricketts. A proposal of the ad, designed to challenge President Barack Obama in the presidential election, reportedly resurrected details about Obama's relationship with his former South Side pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, which was a story in the 2008 election. After some of Wright's controversial statements on race and government came out, Obama denounced the reverend and ended their association.
Emanuel was once Obama's chief of staff and denounced the reported proposal. Tom Ricketts distanced himself from the Super PAC and the proposed ad and phoned Emanuel, who refused to speak to him, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Cubs were close to a deal with Emanuel on the funding of a $400 million refurbishing of the ballpark, the source said. The money was to come from amusement tax on tickets sold that would be retired until the work at Wrigley was paid off.
The Cubs had hoped to have a renovation completed by 2014. At that point they would have petitioned Major League Baseball for the 2014 All-Star Game to help celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Wrigley Field.
The Cubs must get approval from the city of Chicago before they can do any significant renovations due to Wrigley's landmark status. The Cubs have not received the funding agreement to start the project, according to a source. With the 2013 season just 75 days away, any major work would not begin until the season ends.
The Cubs have been researching the feasibility of a giant electronic scoreboard that could be placed in the outfield or on a rooftop across from the ballpark. Any type of noise or light producing object must get the support and approval of the Wrigley area residents as well as the city and state before installation.