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February 14, 2012
Cubs deny South Side shift to make way for Wrigley renovations
The Chicago Cubs could be moving to the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field for 2013!
Should team brass decide that the time is ripe for -- and they secure funds for -- a renovation of Wrigley Field, they could move their games across town to U.S. Cellular Field -- home of the sometimes-rival Chicago White Sox -- sources said...
"I have never heard of a done deal of moving home games to the 'Cell," said Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for the Ricketts family.
Workers at U.S. Cellular tell a different story. They say they are being warned of a much busier 2013 season (as in, prepare for double the games). Bridgeport bar owners tell a similar story.
The Chicago Cubs won't be moving to the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field for 2013!
A direct phone call to Cubs spokesman Dennis Culloton cleared the Wrigleyville chatter right up.
"It could not be more false," Culloton said.
When major renovations do take place, they will be carried out in the off season.
What, exactly, is going on here? Certainly, Culloton's denials aren't exactly ironclad — "I have never heard of a done deal" is about as non-denial a denial as you'll find — but then, too, given that Fenway Park was effectively renovated during several offseasons, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Cubs to give up their main attendance draw for a season (that'd be Wrigley, unless Cubs fans are way more excited about watching Dale Sveum manage than I am) and play tenants to their main rivals just to get the rebuilding done a bit faster. And that's even before taking into account the fact that there's still no deal in place to pay for any reconstruction, which makes talk of any 2013 action premature at best.
This is going deep into conjecture, but my best guess would be that either this was a trial balloon floated by the Cubs to see if fans would freak out at the notion of going to the South Side for games for a season, or a leak of internal discussions to see if U.S. Cellular would be an option should renovations be too extensive to take place entirely in the offseason. In either case, though, it's an indication that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is serious about a Wrigley redo (assuming he can line up the funds), and that it'll likely be a substantial project, landmark laws or no landmark laws. Which means it's likely the Cubs will at least be battling over something of importance this summer, even if it's not the NL Central.