Maybe Wrigleyville not so special anymore
Sorry, suburbs, you lose.
The Cubs' plan to renovate Wrigley Field and the surrounding area is all but assured to receive final Chicago approval in the City Council, perhaps as soon as today.
All that will remain is to steamroll, uh, make that settle with the rooftop owners despite their contract with the Cubs.
At least the Ricketts family, owners of the team, had the decency not to use the burbs as leverage like the Bears did to get something done in the city. The White Sox did genuinely want to land in Addison back in the 1980s, but suburban politicians didn't have the foresight to make it happen.
Anyway, it's pretty much official now as if it ever wasn't: The Cubs won't be relocating from Wrigleyville to Rosemont or DuPage County or anywhere else out here.
Fair enough. But the Ricketts should commission a study to determine why there was more public fascination with than resistance to suburban proposals.
When Rosemont initially recruited the Cubs, the public conversation concerning the possibility, as improbable as the possibility was, was accompanied more by "hmmm" than "harrumph."
Over the past few decades if anybody dared to suggest that the Cubs should leave Wrigleyville, posses would be formed to round up, capture and dismember the blasphemers.
This time it was more like maybe there's some merit to this idea. The positive responses certainly exceeded the zero percent that ownership might have expected.
The nostalgic Ricketts family wants to preserve the creaky old ballyard by paying $500 million of its own money to remodel it and build a hotel across Clark Street.
What they should investigate first is that Cubs fans might be tired of more than just falling concrete and infected restrooms.
Maybe they're tired of Wrigleyville, too. Tired of the distance and difficulty it takes many season-ticket holders to get there from the suburbs. Tired of the cost of parking in private lots.
Yes, tired of the overall experience.
Cubs fans will continue to put up with it all because they're used to roughing it and they're addicted to the Cubs and so many simply don't know how to kick the habit.
But the mention of a Rosemont option a couple of months ago and later a DuPage option was enough to conjure visions of modern conveniences in a modern facility, not just a modernized facility.
The Ricketts makeover plan promises to provide everything a fan could want in Wrigley Field. Artist renderings are promising, although that might be merely because what will be has to be better than what is.
However, curiosity surrounding the Rosemont and DuPage flirtations with the Cubs indicates the Ricketts plan inspires a measure of skepticism. Maybe fans want a written guarantee that there will more comfortable seats, negotiable aisles, a complete view of the field from all sections and better access for the disabled.
You know, the necessities that customers enjoy in Comiskey Park to the south and Miller Park to the north but traditionally have been luxuries in Wrigley Field.
Right now the Ricketts deserve the benefit of doubt on the makeover. However, the real problem could be that Clark and Addison still would be hard to get to and harder to park at, unless you're arriving on a bus from Iowa.
Maybe, just maybe, Wrigley Field being in Wrigleyville isn't held in as high esteem by a large number of fans as legend and TV cameras lead you to believe.
The Cubs might be the losers by staying in there instead of coming out here.
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