Wrigley Renovations: Smaller Boards, Tunney Still Upset

Courtesy Chicago Cubs

We're getting closer to final decisions and agreements on the renovations to Wrigley Field. But guess who's still standing in the way?

Later today, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks is expected to give final approval to the changes the Cubs want to make to various parts of Wrigley Field.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, there have been some changes in the sizes of the signs and Jumbotron that the Cubs want to install:

Instead of building a 6,000-square-foot video score­board in left field, the Cubs have settled for 4,500 square feet. The Jumbotron will be 95 feet wide, down from 100 feet, meaning five feet less of rooftop blockage. The back will be tailor-made to blend in with the 99-year-old stadium’s restored exterior.

Instead of putting up a 1,000-square-foot see-through sign in right field that might move or rotate, the team will get a static 650-square-foot see-through sign.

And while the team has held out the possibility of setting off fireworks to celebrate home runs — just as they do at U.S. Cellular Field — sources said City Hall will not authorize pyrotechnics at Wrigley.

All of this seems quite reasonable, and as I have written here before, it never seemed as if the Cubs' original requests were anything more than a wish list. They appeared to leave room for compromise, and this sounds like a fair compromise for everyone involved -- the team, the rooftops and the neighborhood. (Pyrotechnics? Shudder. Unnecessary, and not in character with the area, and not a revenue generator. Glad they turned those down.)

At 4,500 square feet, the Cubs' video board would be 16th-largest in MLB, in between the 4,811 square feet at Nationals Park and the 3,800 square feet at Fenway Park. Here's a chart of all the current scoreboard sizes.

One man, though, continues to stand in the way -- and you know who I'm talking about, the Tinpot Dictator of the 44th Ward:

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, remains opposed to the latest version of the plan, despite receiving a call from Mr. Emanuel yesterday offering a few tweaks, sources close to the alderman say.

Mr. Tunney wants the size of the signs slashed nearly in half and is pressing for other concessions. He is expected to charge that the Cubs are not paying what they should to acquire the city-owned sidewalks.

But multiple sources say that despite his opposition, and barring a last-minute surprise, the commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor, will give its assent. That will leave only approval by the Chicago Plan Commission, another body appointed by the mayor, and the City Council, which already has approved the Cubs' request for more night and late-start games.

Seriously, it's time for Tunney to stop moving the goalposts, to use a metaphor from another sport. Every time he gets the Cubs to move a little bit on something he asks for, he makes more demands. They're starting to border on ridiculous. The Cubs have already given in on the size of the Jumbotron -- which, I believe, will still give the Cubs a large enough video board in left field to produce the revenue they're looking for -- as well as made other concessions. Tunney really needs to stop. He's not helping anyone but his campaign contributors. This would be a big win for everyone if he'd just get out of the way and let this project get going.

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