Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is locked in a battle with the Chicago government over renovations to Wrigley Field. Ricketts has proposed a $300 million renovation of Wrigley that would include a large increase in restrooms, an expanded concourse, upgrades to the clubhouses, changes to the outfield that would allow more advertisement space, and a video scoreboard.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said two weeks ago that there was a framework of a plan that would include “more night games, a video scoreboard in left field and additional advertising throughout the ballpark.” But apparently, that framework isn’t enough for Ricketts as he upped the ante Wednesday morning when he threatened to move the team from Wrigley if he doesn’t get government approval to add more signs to the outfield.
“I’m not sure how anyone is going to stop the signs in the outfield, but if it comes to the point that we don’t have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield then we’re going to have to consider moving,” Ricketts said at Wednesday morning event at the City Club of Chicago where he was the guest speaker. “It’s a simple as that.”
Ricketts’ comments came in response to a guest asking him, “What if opponents stop the signs in the outfield?” Ricketts tried to clarify his answer when asked about it by reporters later.
“The fact is we are committed to try to work this out. We’ve always said that we want to win in Wrigley Field, but we also need to generate the revenue we need to compete as a franchise. Having the ability to put video boards and signs in the outfield is very important to us.”
Of course, this is just an idle threat from Ricketts. There’s no way he would ever move the Cubs from Wrigley.
Or would he?