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Cubs Get Proposed Wrigley Renovation Tweaks From Rahm

Chicago's mayor introduced some minor changes in the Wrigley Field renovation agreement to the City Council Wednesday, including cleaning up the language regarding night games.

Jonathan Daniel

They haven't put any shovels in the ground to begin the Wrigley Field renovation project this offseason, and they aren't likely to. No new building permits have been applied for by the Cubs from the city, so the Wrigley Field you enter next April will look substantially like the one you left last month.

That doesn't mean things aren't happening. There have been some minor changes, proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the City Council, to the agreement hammered out between the city and the Cubs, according to Hal Dardick in the Tribune:

Under the measure, the Cubs would be allowed to play up to 43 regular-season night games instead of the 46 approved a few months ago. Thirty-five night games would be scheduled prior to the start of the season and another eight would be games that national TV broadcasters ask to be shifted from day to night games. Up to three of those rescheduled games could be played on Saturdays.

Emanuel's proposed change also would remove a requirement that the Cubs get city approval to change the game times after Cubs officials said those provisions could be a deal killer. In addition, the mayor is proposing the Cubs get to put up already-approved new signage with minimal further red tape.

As part of the deal, the team would eliminate a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street linking a hotel to the ballpark and adjacent plaza, move the hotel entrance from Patterson Avenue to Clark, and remove a hotel balcony at Clark and Patterson. That's good news for neighborhood groups.

These all sound completely reasonable. In fact, according to the pocket schedules for 2014 that the Cubs passed out during the last homestand, 35 night games have already been scheduled. That would leave flexibility for Fox or ESPN to ask for further night games to be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays.

As noted, neighborhood residents on Patterson Avenue (just north of Addison) west of Clark were vehemently opposed to having the proposed hotel entrance on their street, just steps from homes. Moving this will be a positive thing for the neighborhood.

There's also news about the proposed Jumbotron and right-field sign:

The Cubs also would get city land to push back the exterior right-field wall by seven feet and the left-field wall by 16 feet. Although a city spokeswoman said in July that the mayor would ask the Cubs to pay for that land, Emanuel spokesman Sarah Hamilton said Wednesday that the mayor has agreed to accept $4.75 million in previously pledged neighborhood investments as compensation.

So while there is no specific payment for that specific land, it appears the neighborhood is getting at least something from the Cubs -- $4.75 million might barely pay for a league-average outfielder these days, but in terms of neighborhood improvements, it could be quite a bit of cash.

There's one final potential fly in the proverbial ointment:

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, who worked with the mayor to hammer out a renovation and redevelopment agreement with the team, said he needed time to review the latest changes.

Oh, joy. The tinpot dictator needs to "review" what's going on. I wonder what sort of roadblocks he'll try to throw up this time.