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updated: 8/7/2012 10:04 PM

While Cubs wait, it's a go for Dodgers

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  • Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, right, celebrates as he runs toward Hanley Ramirez after he scored on a walk off single by Ramirez and Cubs catcher Welington Castillo, left, walks off the field Sunday.

    Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, right, celebrates as he runs toward Hanley Ramirez after he scored on a walk off single by Ramirez and Cubs catcher Welington Castillo, left, walks off the field Sunday.
    Associated Press


Owning the Cubs is too much fun for the Ricketts family to have buyer's remorse.

Not even over Ryan Dempster's 5-and-10 rights, Matt Garza's injury or Alfonso Soriano's contract.

Ah, but then there's the green elephant in the room.

Wrigley Field.

The Ricketts have to be frustrated over that. Heck, I'm frustrated and I don't even think the Cubs should bother renovating the dump.

Perhaps Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts also felt pangs of envy Tuesday morning if he punched up

"The new Dodger Stadium: Aggressive plans under way; planner hired," a headline read.

The Dodgers created a position for Janet Marie Smith, a ballpark design specialist whom the Cubs consulted in the past.

Smith, who worked on the Fenway Park renovation that the Cubs consider a model for Wrigley Field, views the political climate much more agreeable in Boston than in Chicago.

Anyway, a good guess is that the Dodgers won't take as long to redo their ballpark as it'll take the Cubs to redo theirs.

The Dodgers have the land, the finances and maybe a healthier facility, too.

The L.A. Times article mentioned nothing about government involvement, so this must be a private project. Every article about Wrigley Field centers on tax dollars.

The Dodgers were sold this year to a group that includes former basketball star Magic Johnson and longtime sports executive Stan Kasten.

The sale price was $2.15 billion with the real money coming from controlling partner Mark Walter, chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, and a collection of other wealthy investors.

Walter, by the way, is a Chicago resident with Cubs season tickets. Apparently he felt that the Dodgers at more than $2 billion were a better investment than his hometown Cubs were at less than $1 billion.

That's a lot of cash for the Dodgers, but there must be more than enough left over to modernize Dodger Stadium. Either the Ricketts aren't that flush or that willing to part with more of the family fortune.

The Cubs cost "a mere" $840 million, but ownership is groveling for public money to modernize Wrigley Field.

So, no, don't bet on the Cubs having the facility they need before the Dodgers have the facility they want.

Bids already are being taken for infrastructure improvements at Dodger Stadium, and they could be completed as early as next off-season.

Later changes, according to the Times story, could include more restaurants and bars, kids areas, relaxation areas, history displays and interactive areas.

You know, all the upgrades the Cubs would like at Wrigley Field if they had the money and room for them.

Kasten said the Dodgers have given Smith "a list, and she's taken that, refined it, expanded it, and then of course she'll tell me all the things she sees."

Meanwhile, the Cubs are scrambling just to find common ground with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over political and social issues, to say nothing of economics.

The Ricketts knew when they bought the Cubs that they wanted the city's money, but they didn't seem to understand how things get done here.

Here's another fascinating piece of the L.A. Times story: Kasten wouldn't rule out the possibility of "some day building an entirely new stadium in the parking lot."

Dodger Stadium is nearly a half-century younger than Wrigley Field, yet L.A.'s ownership might erect a new ballpark before the Cubs renovate their old one.

Something's wrong if the Ricketts don't envy that.

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