Selig goes to the wall to back Wrigley renovation
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig took in Wednesday's 100th anniversary party for Wrigley Field.
It didn't take long for the media to ask Selig about the proposed renovations to Wrigley, which are stuck in neutral over a dispute with the neighboring rooftop owners, who charge people to watch games and do not want their views blocked by proposed new signs and a giant video board.
The Cubs have a long-term contract with the rooftop owners and don't want to move ahead on their plans until they get assurances they won't be sued. Club officials also say they should be able to renovate their own park because their paying for the cost of the proposed $300 project (with another $200 million earmarked for the area around the park).
Selig sided clearly with the Cubs, as one might expect.
"I'm disappointed," he said. "I think they've been unfairly criticized in so many ways that I could stand here all day. They're trying to preserve this (park)."
Asked who was being unfair, Selig didn't say so directly, but it was clear he was talking about the rooftop owners.
"Well, I think without me portraying it in great detail, I can look out and see a lot of things over the walls, so that's all I'll say," he said. "This is a team trying to stay in this historic setting in a really tough economic environment, trying to modernize without disturbing the tradition, trying to build a competitive baseball team.
"You can't impose conditions on them nobody else has because nobody else has those."
But what about the contract?
"Whatever the contract is, whatever they have to do on that score, fine," Selig said. "But you can't tell them, 'Stay in this setting, but you can't put this up, you can't put that up, you can't do that,' and yet people can watch your games under conditions that don't exist anywhere else, which really hurt a franchise and tell me that's fair because it isn't."
Selig added that he has full confidence in the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs.
"I monitor every franchise very closely, and I'm satisfied they're on the right track, but you've got to give them the economic wherewithal to do that," he said.
Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano was scheduled to undergo an MRI after injuring his left hamstring trying to make a sliding catch in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Ruggiano walked off the field, but he needed help. It looks like a stint on the disabled list might be needed.
Pitcher Jake Arrieta will make a rehab start Saturday at Class AA Tennessee, and the Cubs will see where he is after that in his recovering from right-shoulder discomfort.
Selig on replay and pace:
Bud Selig said he believes the replay system Major League Baseball put in this year to enable managers to challenge umpire calls is working.
"It's done great," he said. "I don't think it's been a can of worms at all. I think for something new it's been unbelievably good."
Selig also was asked what, if anything, MLB is doing to speed up the pace of games. The Cubs and Reds played a 3-hour, 50-game Sunday.
"We're doing all right," he said. "Actually, we were under 3 hours average time last week. We've had a lot of 2-hour-40, 2-hour, 45-minute games. People talk about that, but in the last 10 years, baseball attendance has been the greatest in our history.
"It's not the time of the games as much as the pace. Yes, we are working on it."