The Chicago city council voted on one of the elements of the Cubs‘ renovation plans for Wrigley Field last night, approving the expansion of the number of night games at the park from 30 to 46, plus allowing four nighttime concerts and six Friday games starting at 3:05 pm. And already, both neighborhood residents and team officials say it’s totally unacceptable:
“I don’t want more night games. I don’t want more people in my yard. I don’t want more traffic in my alley. I want to be able to get home at night to see my family. Last Wednesday night, it took 50 minutes to get from Lake Shore [Drive] to my house. It’s only 17 blocks,” said Mark Church, who lives just a few doors from Wrigley.
[The bill] would require the Cubs to foot the bill for security and sanitation costs tied to more than 40 night games per season and forfeit a night game after any season that includes more than four “non-baseball events,” including concerts or college football games.
The Cubs were equally unhappy with the mayor’s decision to cap the number of Saturday night games at two per season and give the city “unprecedented” control over when rained-out games are rescheduled.
“If we’re successful on the field and chosen to play additional games on national television, we would need to choose between violating Major League Baseball rules or violating city ordinance,” Mike Lufrano, senior vice president of community affairs for the Cubs, told aldermen earlier this week.
Let’s see, MLB rules, or the law? Decisions, decisions.
This is a minor vote, obviously, compared to deciding whether to allow Cubs owner Tom Ricketts to build ad boards all over Wrigley and erect new hotels and retail buildings nearby, but it does signal that the council is inclined to give Ricketts some of what he wants, but not everything. On the other hand, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was supportive of the compromise night-games bill (he called it “an honest compromise”), so maybe this is just a sign that the council is inclined to do what the mayor wants, and on the renovations and new development itself he’s been mostly supportive. But at least Chicago lawmakers have carried on with their tradition of making everyone in the city miserable.