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updated: 4/7/2013 8:36 PM

Wrigley Field deal fine as long as fine print is too

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  • Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has played businessman hardball in negotiations to renovate Wrigley Field.

      Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has played businessman hardball in negotiations to renovate Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

No matter how many notes my nanny pins to my jacket, I still might drive to Rosemont by mistake Monday.

The Cubs are scheduled to play their home opener Monday afternoon, and rumors are that the game will be played in Wrigley Field instead of out here in the suburbs.

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Rumor also has it that a deal has been struck to renovate Wrigley Field and keep the Cubs in Wrigleyville for the next million years regardless of whether they ever win a World Series during that time.

Final terms might be announced Monday. They might not be. Nothing is certain until it's certain.

No matter how the negotiations turn out -- if they turn out at all -- it'll be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys in the struggle among the Cubs, rooftop owners, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, neighborhood activists and Alderman Tom Tunney.

Much stink will remain to go around in what has become a stench-filled process. Buffalo Springfield had it right when they sang, "Nobody's right if everybody's wrong."

Cubs ownership is odoriferous for trying to muscle out of a contract with rooftop owners. Rooftop owners are for clinging to an agreement they must know never should have been reached in the first place. Tunney is for pandering to campaign donors. Neighbors are for acting like they didn't know a ballpark was in Wrigleyville when they moved in. Emanuel is for letting this mess reach critical mass.

Rooftop owners especially have been vilified for blocking any Wrigley makeover that would block the view of their customers. What right do these people have to pirate the Cubs' product?

The right of a signed contract with the team, that's what right.

The question I haven't heard Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts address is, do you have legal grounds to ignore the agreement that rooftop owners negotiated with previous team owner Tribune Company?

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, despite his pleasant demeanor, played businessman hardball in this dispute something the team might want to try on the field for a change.

As someone tired of the Wrigley Field renovations dance, I hope that Cubs ownership gets as many Jumbotrons as they want inside the ballpark.

But as someone also tired of sports contracts too often not being worth the paper they're fibbed on, I hope the Cubs don't get their way if the agreement with rooftop owners is legitimate.

What would be next, the Ricketts refusing to honor the final year of Carlos Marmol's contract because he had a horrible first week of the season as Cubs closer?

As much competitive sense that might make, it doesn't make contractual sense. Nobody is justified in weaseling out of a contract unless it's a college coach slithering toward greener dollars.

Perhaps we'll find out Monday that the Ricketts family does have a technicality to stand on so they can step on the throats of rooftop owners. Then again, maybe we won't find out until lawyers settle the case in or out of a courtroom.

Only one thing is clear: Each party involved in this social, political and economic entanglement is looking out for its own best interests.

In a way it will be a relief when all the issues officially are resolved, but in another way it would be fun to see everybody involved have to squirm awhile longer.

Meanwhile, lunching in Rosemont on Monday and visiting the nearby Rivers Casino in Des Plaines might not be a bad idea considering the Cubs come home with a 2-4 record.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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