The idea of renovating Wrigley Field has been a topic of discussion for many years, and many arguments have been made on both sides of the fence about whether or not the Ricketts family should do anything to change the park. You have the traditionalist Cub fans who do not want the Ricketts family to touch their beloved Wrigley Field and to leave things as they are, and to preserve the park for all of the history that is embodied within. Then you have the Cub fans that, while they love Wrigley Field, are okay with making changes that help to keep Wrigley standing for generations to come. Face facts, Wrigley Field is crumbling and needs a facelift if you want your children, and your children’s children to be able to watch Cub games there.
Those debates are fine. Nothing wrong with two sides of the fan base debating about what is the best move for the Ricketts family to do with their ball park. After all, their debate is based on love. Whether the love they are fighting for is for the stadium they went to as a child, not wanting anything to change, or for the love of the team and wanting them to stay in the city, and in that ball park while understanding updates are long overdue. However, there is one group who has absolutely no business joining this discussion. That would be the rooftops owners who would lose business if the proposed changes go through, which they almost certainly will.
Some Cub fans will side with the rooftop owners, because the rooftop watchers have been a part of the backdrop of Cubs games for generations. My memory is filled with Harry Caray calling Cub games and making several mentions of the fans in lawn chairs and a grill watching the game unfold. In those days, the imagery was magical. They were the loyal, passionate fans watching from a view point that a select few had the privilege to enjoy. At that point in time, all the viewers were the residents of the building, as well as some family and friends. However, that magical image of the building residents is long gone. Now, all that remains is the heartless business that is capitalizing on a product that they have no right to.
After some business moguls realized the potential goldmines those buildings could be, they were all bought up, and bleachers were built. The building owners started selling tickets to Cub fans who wanted a party atmosphere while enjoying a Cubs game. The rooftops were still filled with fans watching the game, but some of the magic had vanished.
Gone were the days of the carefree fans relaxing and having a picnic on a warm summer’s day while enjoying a game from their own property.
These businessmen are now one of the lone roadblocks to the Cubs getting final approval for all of the proposed renovations because the plans would damage their business. The other roadblock (the more important one) is Alderman Tom Tunney who is the local politician who controls the Lakeview area and can make the life of the Cubs a living hell. The rooftop owners line Tunney’s pockets with cash to keep him happy and to ensure that their business will continue to run smoothly.
Forget that their business is based solely on stealing the Cubs product, repackaging the 81 home games as their own entity and selling tickets to watch an event that they have a privileged view of. They feel that they are entitled to make money off of the Cubs product, solely because they have the privileged view of the games.
Yes, the Cubs currently have an agreement with the rooftop owners and receive a small portion of their proceeds, about 17% I believe. That measly deal does not make what those crooks who own the rooftops are doing any less wrong any less wrong. If you say the Cubs have given up any right to complain because they allowed this to go on for so long, there is not much they could have done to prevent this thievery without coming off as the bad guys. So, they accepted the current deal which is in place and started to bide their time. That time is quickly approaching with the new renovation plans.
The deal will get done, even if Tom Ricketts has to grease the palms of Alderman Tunney. The negotiations have already begun. All that is left is to see how much of a campaign donation the Cubs and the Ricketts family will need to make to seal the deal.