When Tom Ricketts and his family purchased the Chicago Cubs, they knew that the franchise hadn’t won a World Series in 12,462 years. But it’s what he found out after the fact that has him bummed and the people of the glorious Windy City shaking their ham fists in rage – he can’t afford to keep Wrigley Field in good shape. The classic, beautiful and vintage stadium costs more than $10 million a year to keep from falling down, and Ricketts is finding that price a little unrealistic, so he’s doing what any billionaire sports franchise owner would do – demanding taxpayer money.
Here’s the problem – Chicago and Illinois are broke. Ricketts wants $300 million in future tax revenue and he’ll need one giant magical top hat to bull his cash bunny from. His alternative? Destroy Wrigley and build a new stadium.
Tear down that dump, Steve Chapman of Reason.com…
Chairman Tom Ricketts says the owners can’t justify putting more money into the park and the adjacent area “unless you know Wrigley is going to be there.” Left unspoken is the prospect that it won’t be there—that the Cubs will move to new quarters in the suburbs or raze the old park and put up something suited to the needs of a 21st-century team.
Not a bad idea. Wrigley is attractive and charming in many ways, but it’s like driving a vintage car: After a while, the novelty is not enough to justify the antiquated design. The ivy-covered walls and manually operated scoreboard have to be balanced against the cramped concourses, primitive restrooms, modest kitchen facilities, and obstructed views.
Chapman goes on to state the obvious – the Yankees tore down Yankee Stadium and built a new cathedral, the Dallas Cowboys built their new stadium, the Cardinals are way better in every aspect and the people of Chicago should just accept that and bow down to their Pujolsian overlord. I may have added that last part, but only because as a Cardinals fan I am considered quite intelligent, classy and handsome.
Chapman suggests that a new stadium could mean more revenue and better free agents, to which GM Jim Hendry said, “Yes… better.”