With his plans for major renovations to Wrigley Field held up in court, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has apparently decided to go for broke and just demand everything he can possibly imagine, testing the premise that Chicago officials will rubber-stamp anything he proposes and daring the owners of nearby rooftop viewing decks to sue him. Like every good supervillain, he issued his ultimatum via a video to the people of earth:
The list of new stuff that Ricketts wants includes:
- Seven new video boards in the outfield, including three 650-square-foot signs in left field alongside a 4,000-square-feet video board (down from the originally proposed 5,700 square feet), plus another 2,400-square-foot video board and 650-square-foot sign in right.
- Chopping out part of Wrigley’s ivy-covered brick wall so that bullpens can be moved from foul territory to under the bleachers.
- New outfield light towers so that flyballs can be better lit.
- Bigger clubhouses.
- A death ray. (Not actually mentioned in Ricketts’ video, but you know he’s thinking it.)
The rooftop owners are no doubt going to sue Ricketts’ pants off over these revised plans, but then, they’re suing his pants off anyway, so no skin off his pants. The Chicago landmarks commission still needs to sign off on the new plan at its June 5 meeting — the Chicago Sun-Times speculates that “the revised proposal may appear to be so big as to invite rejection by [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel’s appointees on the Landmarks Commission,” but they’ve never rejected any of Ricketts’ plans before, and an Emanuel spokesperson said yesterday that “if this proposal helps the Cubs get closer to a ballpark renovation this fall … it’s worth taking a look at.” The city council, meanwhile, apparently doesn’t get another vote, because all this falls under the master plan it approved last year.
Anyway, Ricketts’ video does make one thing clear: This renovation is mostly about getting the right to slap ads on everything possible both inside and outside the stadium, because that’s money he could be making that he’s not. (Just look at the way the camera lingers oglingly on the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ advertising signage.) You can understand why Ricketts feels this way (monnnnnnnnnnneyyyyyyyyyyy!); why the landmarks commission should agree to it is another story, but I’m sure they’ll find their reasons.