The Wrigley Saga: Another Silly 'Cubs Move' Idea

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Yet another suburban politician thinks he can get the Cubs to move to his turf. He's wrong, but here's his story.

These stories are getting tiresome, but they also need to be reported, so here goes.

Yet another suburban entity is proposing that the Cubs move there. Here's a report from the Tribune:

Add DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin to the list of suburban politicians angling to lure the Chicago Cubs to his turf if there's an unlikely collapse of the city-sanctioned framework plan to renovate Wrigley Field.  

Citing what he described as a lack of progress in the team's efforts to get City Council approval of its $5OO million plan, Cronin said Wednesday that he's instructed his county's economic development board to scout locations for a "replica" Wrigley.

So... unlike Rosemont, which had a specific (if ludicrous) location for a proposed "replica Wrigley", the DuPage County folks don't even have that. Further:

Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for the Ricketts family that owns the team, said the Cubs continue working to secure approval of final plans to renovate Wrigley based on the framework that emerged in mid-April after weeks of intense negotiations among Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th.

"Tom (Ricketts') focus and the focus of the Ricketts family is to achieve the Chicago framework," Culloton said. "So there are no plans at this time to listen to any other presentations."

An article on this same topic in the Sun-Times quoted Cubs spokesman Julian Green, saying essentially the same thing:

"Our goal is to stay here in Chicago. That’s the commitment we made. As part of that commitment, we need to go through the planned development process. When we do, hopefully we’ll find that the city is just as committed to us," Green said.

"At this time, we are not interested in competing offers. We’ve invested a lot of time, energy and resources in the planned development process. Our focus is on getting the necessary approvals so we can invest $5OO million to renovate Wrigley Field and develop the surrounding community. Things get tweaked. We can’t expect nothing will be changed. But, we need flexibility."

As Green notes, the Cubs simply can't expect that their proposal, revealed two months ago at a Wrigley Field news conference, will be accepted exactly as laid out. "Tweaked?" Well, perhaps more than "tweaked", as the Cubs found out recently when the Chicago City Council approved a night-game ordinance that didn't give the Cubs exactly what they wanted. It's likely that some of the other things in the proposal will be changed, too.

I don't think I have to go over the reasons why it would be beyond stupid to move the Cubs outside of the city of Chicago. Cronin mentioned a "replica Wrigley." Does he not understand that most, if not all, of the value of Wrigley Field is its location? Sticking a "replica" in the middle of a suburban parking lot is... well, let me put it in all caps, Mr. Cronin: NOT. THE. SAME. THING.

Then there's the traffic. See the photo at the top of this post? That's there for a reason. If you stick a sports stadium in one corner of a metropolitan area and play games mostly in the evening, you are going to create a traffic nightmare. Do you want to try to get to DuPage County from the north side of Chicago, or the north suburbs, during rush hour? Me, either. The Phoenix Coyotes have discovered this, to their everlasting regret. You'll also want to re-read this post I wrote in March, which lists the locations of the 21 major-league stadiums built since 1992.

Just two of them are not in a central location, and both have a very good reason for that -- Rangers Ballpark was built in the parking lot of the old Arlington Stadium, midway between Dallas and Ft. Worth, the two cities the Rangers franchise represents, and Miller Park was built in the parking lot at Milwaukee County Stadium. Even in the case of Miller Park, it's located just four miles from downtown Milwaukee, and there were calls at the time it was being discussed that the Brewers should have moved to a downtown location instead.

The Cubs aren't moving to DuPage County, or anywhere else. The Wrigley renovation deal with the city of Chicago will get done. It requires compromise, which almost no one in modern society seems to be able to understand actually means you don't get every single thing you ask for.

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