Jim O'Donnell: If the Bears abandon Arlington, what about the Cubs and an alternative Wrigley Field?


But the longer the Bears allow the land that once housed Arlington Park to lie barren, the more rumors will ripple that Tom Ricketts and family are eyeballing a plan to purchase the 326 acres.

In the grand scheme, the Cubs would continue to play the majority of their games at Wrigley Field Classic and transfer a lesser number to a new Wrigley Field Northwest.

The high-tech stadium would replicate as much of the historic Wrigley Field as practical with futuristic ivy amenities.

Those upgrades would include: more suites, a hotel and condos overlooking the park, an expanded field surface behind the foul lines to more easily accommodate football and soccer games and a retractable roof.

And much more fan-friendly parking.

THE ALTERNATIVE FACILITY WOULD ALSO allow the Ricketts family and associates tremendous latitude to push further imagineering and upward profits at both sites.

Among other things, game days and especially nights in Arlington Heights would allow the legacied ballpark to be used for high-grade new-mill watch parties with live entertainment enhancers.

Complete with $20 IPAs and an atmosphere that would rival anything else in Our Town.

The pressure would also be ratcheted up on Jed Hoyer and whomever else is to come in the organization's baseball ops department to produce perennial playoff teams.

THIS PAST SEASON, the Cubs finished ninth among MLB franchises in attendance with 2.7 million fans, an average of 34,261 in 81 dates.

That suggests that for all of the Ricketts' determined build-out around Clark and Addison, Wrigleyville is hitting maximum surge as a baseball Disneyland.

Also of bottom-line interest to the Cubs ambitious ownership would be the millions of dollars in windfall profit to be made off participation in the development of remaining acreage anchored by their Wrigley Field Northwest.



But in 14 years on the Chicago sportscape, the Ricketts family has proved to be doers.

The McCaskeys continue their long end-around as dividend coupon clippers.

So it's all merely "in the wind."

But also "on the board" as a possibility while the current owners of the Arlington land remain motionless.


Fox Sports hits NFL gold Sunday afternoon with the Niners (-3) at Eagles (3:20 p.m.; Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen). SF is resurrecting the old concept of a Fearsome Foursome with land miners Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead. (But none can match memories of Rosey Grier singing "Spanish Harlem" on "Hollywood Palace.") ...

Tiger Woods let some good news roll at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas: He hopes to play once each month on the PGA tour next year, including all four majors. (Final-round coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. today on the Golf Channel and Peacock then switches to NBC at 1:30 p.m.) ...

Among the prestigious 19 invitees to Tiger's $4.5M We Tee is Will Zalatoris, the 27-year-old slimline who came out of nowhere to finish second in The Masters two years ago. Zalatoris hasn't played in eight months due to back surgery. He's the son of Rick Zalatoris, once an Alpha Tau Omega at the University of Illinois (Class of '76). ...

Travis Kelce is now telling all who will listen that he wants some kind of shot at being around Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks once the 2023 season of the Chiefs is finito. Kelce would be doing Andy Reid and more invested KC fans a much bigger favor if he would hang on to all footballs thrown his way. ...

Minnesota's P.J. Fleck - once the fair-domed coaching ace from Northern Illinois - continues to upstream. Antioch-spawned QB Athan Kaliakmanis, who started all 12 games for the Golden Gophers (a bowl-bound 5-7) this season, is entering the transfer portal. He announced the decision after it came out that Fleck is chasing FCS passing leader Max Brosmer of New Hampshire. ...

Tremendous news for young news hawk Janelle Finch: The University of Missouri ('21) alum is up-marketing from Spokane to Denver's KUSA-TV. Proud pop Tom Finch of Naperville consistently brought fun and some energizing soul to the marketing department at Arlington Park during the fresh years of Dick Duchossois. ...

Thoroughly engaging essay by the esteemed Robert Lipsyte at titled, "A fond farewell to The New York Times sports section: But what took so long?" The Times purchased The Athletic for a reported $550M in January and is saying bye-bye to a department that historically had good writers but zero subway edge. ...

And Teresa Hanafin, on the historic NFL flex of her lead-bottoming Patriots vs. Chiefs out of "Monday Night Fiootball" Dec. 18 in favor of Eagles-Seahawks: "You know it's not because fans don't want to see Patrick Mahomes and Taylor Swift."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears each week on Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at All communications may be considered for publication.

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