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posted: 7/19/2012 10:04 PM

Time to break the Wrigley Field standoff

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  • While Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has been working to get Chicago's help with a major renovation plan for Wrigley Field, the Cubs amd Mayor Rahm Emanuel remain far apart on how it would be financed.

      While Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has been working to get Chicago's help with a major renovation plan for Wrigley Field, the Cubs amd Mayor Rahm Emanuel remain far apart on how it would be financed.
    Associated Press/2011 file

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

So the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are posturing about who's going to pay for what, and when, and how much.

The big question: what responsibility should the city have when it comes to refurbishing Wrigley Field and the surrounding area?

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Now the mayor has a lot on his plate -- from school teachers to a murder rate that is drawing national attention. Plus he has an issue with Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the family, over a controversial ad he and a group were reportedly going to run, criticizing Rahm's boss and friend, President Obama.

As I was watching Sunday morning television, I saw the mayor firing on the president's opponent, Mitt Romney, and I said that's fine. But I found it odd he can dish it out, but can't take it.

Look, both sides need each other and we all know something will eventually get done. Why waste all this time and energy? Skip the garbage and go right to a solution.

With their billionaire father, the Ricketts family can buy a baseball team and plenty of valuable big city blocks. They have invested countless man hours and resources into the rebuilding plans, but they still have the mayor saying, "I'm not ready to talk to you."

It should be interesting to see who makes the next move.

Ozzie Guillen, former White Sox manager, said the other day that if you take a trip or vacation to Chicago, it is incomplete if you don't go to Wrigley Field. He didn't say if you don't see the Cubs, your trip is incomplete. It's the ballpark that draws attention, and the city promotes it as a tourist attraction.

Both sides have too much to lose.

If the team decided to move, the city would lose tax dollars, a franchise that is internationally known, plus businesses in the area would suffer or even close.

And do you want to be the mayor who lost the Cubs to the suburbs -- especially with all the other issues going on in town?

If Rosemont was approached by Joe Ricketts family, do you think city officials there would build a state of the art facility to accommodate the Cubs?

What about Hoffman Estates or Arlington Heights, where there happens to be a nice piece of land that was once considered a location for the Bears?

They would all jump through hoops to move the Cubs to their town.

Are you telling me the mayor of Chicago wouldn't be concerned? You'd be the big city mayor who told the Cubs to get lost. Maybe not good for your resume, and I believe he'd lose the next election.

Joe Ricketts just missed the 2011 Forbes list as one of the top 400 richest people in America, in part because of a decline in TD Ameritrade stock and because the Ricketts Family Education Trust is the equity holder of the Cubs and not Joe. According to a Forbes report, he could very well make the 2012 list, so the Ricketts family has the money to take care of it themselves.

At the end of the day, I think a compromise will be reached because if there's not a park on Addison and Clark everyone will lose.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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