1:39 PM CDT, May 2, 2013
If Cubs owner Tom Ricketts actually made good on his threat to leave Wrigley Field for a more baseball-friendly neighborhood, what would be the best use of the site at Clark and Addison?
My plan? Flatten and grade it, then enclose it in cyclone fence and razor wire, as a holding pen for "alleged criminals" to alleviate overcrowding at the Cook County Jail.
It would save taxpayers money. And it's the responsible thing to do. We'd give them tents.
"Goat farm," wrote Dan D. on Facebook on what to do with Wrigley after the Cubs are gone, although Mick S. insists on a Museum of Ham like they have in Spain.
Pete S. had another idea for the next occupants of Wrigley: "How about a major league baseball team?"
Or Wrigley could become a mega pit-bull breeding and training facility, complete with tattoo parlors and a store that sells nothing but accessories for chewing tobacco, like spit cups with picturesque scenes of Chicago.
Or we could turn the Wrigley site into a museum of political corruption.
Better yet, why not a real Chicago City Hall Casino controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel?
Mayor Rahmfather again floated the idea of a casino on the same morning that Ricketts made his pack-up-and-go-Cubs-go threat. Rahmfather wants to run his own casino without much oversight. He's already laid the groundwork by gutting the investigative powers of the city's inspector general.
Dan K. suggested a soccer stadium for the Chicago Fire, which is an excellent idea. Now all we need is a forward who can put the ball into the net.
Others recommended that Wrigley become a coliseum so that rooftop patrons could wager on fights to the death, and Dirk R. kindly asked that local politicians be allowed to "dip their beaks" by running the concessions. Yes, that sure would generate revenue for City Hall, but fights to the death for the amusement of rooftop patrons, as they sip a crisp sauvignon blanc, might be a tad too Maximus even for Chicago.
"Love that idea!" wrote FB fan Janice S. "If he (Ricketts) leaves, then let's see how much all those rooftops are worth."
"Replace (Wrigley) with a Jumbotron that only plays a loop of the Sox clinching the 2005 World Series," said Cisco C.
That's the point, isn't it? A World Series? Isn't that what Cubs fans want more than a decrepit ivy-covered ballpark without decent bathrooms that sells buffalo burgers?
The last time the Cubs won a World Series was 2012, but that was only in a video game.
And if Ricketts wants to get into the Series, he should wise up, drop the bison and start selling goat soup.
Ricketts made his news while answering a question after a breakfast speech at the venerable City Club of Chicago. He was asked what he'd do if the politicians don't deliver on the deal to let him refurbish the ballpark with $300 million of his family's money and install gigantic electric advertising signs in the outfield.
The rooftop owners aren't too happy with the sign idea because it may block the views for some of them.
"I'm not sure how anyone is going to stop the signs in the outfield, but if it comes to the point that we don't have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield, then we're going to have to consider moving," Ricketts said. "It's as simple as that."
Immediately, there was much hand-wringing and anguish, and some critics accused Ricketts of a public relations blunder for possibly embarrassing the politicians who have generally been supportive.
Is this what Chicago has come to? A family business willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money to rehabilitate its own worn-down facility has to worry about possibly embarrassing politicians?
It's not as if some Ricketts family member ever dared suggest that President Barack Obama doesn't know how to deal with the economy except to make it worse.
If a Chicago business owner made a mistake like that, he'd probably have to send hostages to the Rahmfather on bended knee, to plead mercy and vow fealty, like the nobles are compelled to bow before the evil little king on "Game of Thrones."
But this is reality we're talking about.
It's Ricketts' money he's playing with. Not mine. Not yours. It's his business.
For example, if I opened a butcher shop and called it John's Meats & Various Cheeses, and paid my butchers Joe, Eddie, Tom and Old School to join me in wearing leopard-print Speedos as we cut ribs and chops, that would be my business.
OK, OK, I'd first make sure we'd wax the chunks of back hair. After all, we are dealing with food.
But dressing middle-aged butchers in Speedos is no business of anyone but the customer and the business owner. Same goes for the Cubs and their business.
"Nothing's changed from the Ricketts perspective," said Dennis Culloton, the family's public relations guy, when I called him to find out if the piercing primal screams of pain came from him after Ricketts' talk.
"Anyone who doubts their commitment to saving Wrigley and staying on the North Side of Chicago hasn't been paying attention to the last several months of negotiations," he said.
But, Dennis, I paid attention to what he said Wednesday. So did Cubs fans. Now you're walking it back?
"There's nothing to walk back," Culloton said. "It was an honest answer to the worst-case scenario."
But the demise of the ballpark isn't the worst-case scenario.
The worst-case scenario is this: loyal fans waiting another lifetime for their team to make it to the World Series.
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