Rosenbloom: It's Ricketts' money, so let him spend it

Tom Ricketts might not believe it or care, but I’m with him on this one.

Let him run his business like a business, and he won’t ask the city, county or state for a dime to help the Cubs fix up Wrigley Field.


During the Cubs Convention this weekend, Ricketts said he’ll pay for all of the Wrigley renovations if the government wonks lift the silly, onerous and spiteful landmark restrictions. He’s not looking for a handout, he’s looking for a hands-off.


It’s fair and it’s right, unlike the landmark nonsense. Go back to the landmark commission’s decisions --- no, wait, those were Mayor Daley’s decisions. The landmark commission mopes rubber-stamped what Daley wanted, and what Daley wanted, it seemed, was revenge.

That was back when the Tribune Co. owned the Cubs and Wrigley, the way I remember it. That also was when the Tribune Co.’s newspaper was unearthing some of the ongoing corruption in the Daley administration. It was like the courts and jails had to tell Daley’s bobos to take a number. “Now serving Ghost Payroller number . . .’’

So, when the Tribune Co.’s baseball team wanted to change Wrigley to add revenue streams to the Tribune Co.’s legendary ballpark, Daley’s landmark commission tenaciously defended Chicago’s legendary architecture and trough urinals. Or something like that.

However it played out, that’s what Ricketts walked into when his family bought the team and the park. Foolishly, Ricketts didn’t play the “move’’ card, so he really got stuck. If you aren’t going to threaten to move, you lose. Ballgame. Drive home safely.

Ricketts also looked goofy when he first rolled out his Wrigley renovation plan that asked for tax breaks. Even if he might’ve presented a reasonable argument for them, Ricketts played politics so badly that he deserved to get hooted off the stage. Politics is a contact sport in Chicago, kid.

So now, with the city desperately poor, Ricketts has a deal that doesn’t compromise politicians by giving tax breaks to billionaires, starting with Mayor Emanuel. He wants to make improvements, which means construction and creating jobs, and he’ll pay for it himself if the pigs from the city, county and state realize it’s a baseball stadium, not the Art Institute.

I know there will be Lakeview residents who will fight the changes if it means more night games and more concerts. Two words for them: Shut up.

The park needs improving, the area could use some economic stimulus, and property values couldn’t use something good. Doing it their often-stubborn way in this economy hasn’t created the model that every other American city is following.

So, they can shut up and sit down in newly renovated seats and take in some other pretty, shiny improvements. Let the Cubs pony up the cash to generate more revenue. Let them buy and develop better baseball players. Let them make the team a hot ticket again. Who knows, in a couple years maybe those three-flats will start returning to their inflated values.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Welcome to Me' is highly gawkable
    'Welcome to Me' is highly gawkable

    “Why doesn’t it look like ‘Oprah’?” Alice (Kristen Wiig) asks about the production value of her recently launched, guest-free talk show. Responds one of the many employees who can’t believe this series is happening: “Because you ate a cake made out of hamburger and started crying.”

  • Even the outtakes are predictable in 'Hot Pursuit'
    Even the outtakes are predictable in 'Hot Pursuit'

    In February 2013, Melissa McCarthy starred in an unfunny, aggressive road movie (“Identity Thief”). Four months later, she was the wild card to Sandra Bullock’s straight arrow in an incredibly generic buddy cop comedy (“The Heat”). Opening June 5, McCarthy stars in the very funny “Spy” as Susan...

  • Rauner to aldermen: 'For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must get what it needs'
    Rauner to aldermen: 'For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must get what it needs'

    In an unusual and perhaps unprecedented speech, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday dropped in at City Hall and offered a time-tested political horse trade: support his controversial pro-business, anti-union agenda, and he'll help Chicago out of its financial free fall.

  • Is Riot Fest dividing the community?

    The questionable return of Riot Fest to Humboldt Park has polarized the community with the local alderman unwaivering in his opposition and the festival organizers launching a full-court press to bring the three-day music festival back.

  • Mayor: Approval of Burge victims fund a step toward 'removing a stain'
    Mayor: Approval of Burge victims fund a step toward 'removing a stain'

    In a dramatic moment Wednesday, the Chicago City Council rose to acknowledge victims of torture at the hands of former police Cmdr. Jon Burge before approving a $5.5 million reparations package that Mayor Rahm Emanuel said shows Chicago is willing to deal with the dark chapter in its history.

  • Clerk stabbed, robbed at Bucktown store
    Clerk stabbed, robbed at Bucktown store

    A knife-wielding man stabbed and robbed a store clerk Wednesday afternoon inside a Bucktown store.