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Ricketts threatens to move Cubs without OK for Wrigley upgrades

Chicago Cubs ownership makes it clear: Let them make changes to Wrigley Field, or they’re taking their ball and going to a new home.

“If we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we’ll have to take a look at moving, no question,” Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said Wednesday.

That is what Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said, but did he mean it?

“I don’t believe he meant that,” said Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward. Wrigley Field is in Tunney’s ward. “We’ve come a long way. We’re going to stay together.”

Imagine the Wrigleyville neighborhood without Wrigley Field. Now, imagine it with a new and improved Wrigley: Billboards in right field, a 6,000-foot jumbtron in left field, advertising on a nearby hotel and above the proposed clocktower. The plan would update the interior of the park, expand its bathrooms and improve player areas.

The price tag? $500 million.

The rooftop owners and the rest of us are getting our first glimpse of the controversial 6,000 square-foot scoreboard in left field that would generate millions for the team. Millions, Ricketts claims, that could be used to pay for a stronger lineup. Without the advertising, he says, he can’t deliver.

“We can’t go forward and consider Wrigley economically viable if we don’t have control of what we do in the outfield. It’s just too important to the team and the resources the team needs to compete,” Rickets said.

“One of the reasons we had the framework was there is now certainty around what they needed. There will be a jumbotron in left field. There will be signage in right field,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Beth Murphy of Murphy’s Bleachers says she just wants a seat at the table as plans are firming up. Her neighborhood without Wrigley Field? “I don’t think a new ballpark in a parking lot is interesting, and that’s why other ballparks don’t have the tourism that Wrigley Field does,” she said.

The timing of all of this? No deadline for the proposal yet, but once approved — if approved — it will take five consecutive off-seasons to complete.

Here are renderings of the most recently proposed Wrigley Field renovations:

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Check out more photos of proposed Wrigley Field renovations on Chicago Tribune.com.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

14 Comments to “Ricketts threatens to move Cubs without OK for Wrigley upgrades”

    Shawn P Mackey said:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Why do the bar owners and rooftop folks think they have any say in what the Ricketts family wants to do to Wrigley? If the revenue generated gets top tier ball players and the Cubbies can compete, I say go for it. Living down in Central Illinois, I would love to stay at that new hotel when we travel up for games.

    Joe Public said:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Just Move

      Grump1 said:
      May 2, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      I agree just move. I am a Cubs fan and actually wanted the sox not to move to St. Pete back in the day. We were blackmailed then and are still paying for that park. Let Ricketts go. See how much the cubbies would be worth in LA or Phoenix. Nothing without Wrigleyville!

    Chicage Born said:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Let them go….a 100+ years is long enough to wait…Chicago is being held up and doesn't even know it!!!!

    Wisconsinite said:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    I have been to both Wrigley & Fenway.. Hands down Fenway is 10 times the venue Wrigley is. Just leave and let it keep dieting a slow death Go Brewers !

    Shanna said:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Bye!

      Shanna said:
      May 1, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Go SOX!

    Larry Sellers said:
    May 2, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    It's Rickety Cricket's ballpark and team – let him do what he wants

      Probitas said:
      May 2, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      Let them go to Schaumburg. The Ricketts are just a bunch of trust funders whose only work experience is throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way. They knew what they bought when they bought it. If they think they made a bad deal, they can go ahead and cut their losses and leave. Good riddance.

    Jim K said:
    May 2, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    Let this wimp and his arrogant loser of a daddy split to Mars. If the nerds in Chicago don't like it they can go too. What a great thought.

    Auntie Voo said:
    May 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Move the Cubs to Rosemont. It would be more accessible with better parking facilities, not to mention a more state of the art park. The Cub faithful will follow and moving will draw even more fans that do not want to travel into the city. GO CUBS GO!!

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