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updated: 4/9/2013 5:58 AM

Cubs would never go for this win-win-win solution

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  • Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, right, and general manager Jed Hoyer watch the team's batting practice before Monday's home-opener at Wrigley Field.

      Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, right, and general manager Jed Hoyer watch the team's batting practice before Monday's home-opener at Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press

  • A Cubs fan takes photos of an empty Wrigley Field after Monday's loss to Milwaukee.

       A Cubs fan takes photos of an empty Wrigley Field after Monday's loss to Milwaukee.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • A hot dog vendor peddles his wares at Wrigley Field during Monday's home-opener.

       A hot dog vendor peddles his wares at Wrigley Field during Monday's home-opener.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Oh yeah, almost forgot, baseball also was played at Wrigley Field on Monday.

The real game, however, continued to be Cubs ownership's ongoing attempt to negotiate an agreement that would allow them to renovate Wrigley Field.

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"We're moving closer," club chairman Tom Ricketts said prior to first pitch.

I thought I had an idea that would unsnarl what appears to be the most snarled issue among a gaggle of snarled issues. It would solve the dispute between the Cubs and rooftop owners while providing more parking in the neighborhood.

My goodness, who would have thought that more parking would be in dispute?

Ricketts said when asked whether he was surprised at a Wrigleyville group's objection to more parking, "Honestly, we haven't had public hearings on that. I'm not sure what the objections are."

My plan would address the contract that building owners across Waveland and Sheffield avenues have with the Cubs for 11 more years.

Ricketts was asked whether the Cubs discovered a loophole in the agreement: "None that I'm aware of," he said. Then he added, "It's a really awkward contract. I don't know if anybody has looked at it." Then, "I think we'll be all right there."

The issue sounded more mystifying at that point. The question that wasn't asked or answered was whether the Cubs plan to overpower the rooftop owners or buy them out.

"I think it'll all work out," is all that Ricketts would say.

Maybe his plan is what mine was last week as I walked back to my car after lunching at the Salt and Pepper Diner on Clark Street.

A solution to the bickering between the Cubs and the rooftoppers is an updated version of what should have happened soon after Tribune Company -- the Ricketts family's predecessors -- bought the team three decades ago: The buildings behind Wrigley Field on Sheffield and Waveland should be knocked down and parking garages be put up.

Whether the narrow strips of land could accommodate such a project seems like a minor technicality when fantasizing a cure for the disease that is the Wrigley Field renovation negotiation.

The proposal sure looked like a win-win-win.

Building owners would retain ownership of the property and replace rooftop revenue with parking revenue. The Cubs could install any amount of advertising signage that they want because Buicks and Hondas don't care that their view of the field is obstructed. Finally, fans would benefit from the novel concept of additional parking right across the street from the ballpark.

Ah, but then another bit of craziness woke me from my daydream: A neighborhood group already is objecting to the potential of a parking garage near Clark and Grace because it would increase congestion and pollution from more Cubs' fans driving autos to games instead of, say, riding in on rickshaws and water buffalo.

Silly me for thinking more parking would help Wrigleyville. Instead a "Don't turn Lakeview (the neighborhood's real name) into a parking lot" petition was circulated.

Suddenly a win-win-win proposition became a win-win-win-lose proposition.

So that's it. I'm done trying to work things out for the process' myriad conflicted parties. They're on their own now.

By the way, not that it matters, but the Cubs lost again.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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