Monday, July 09, 2012

Of Cubs & Politics: Wrigleyville to NoDo?

The Future Home of the Cubs?
That's absurd.
One of the most ridiculous ideas I've heard in a while is the notion of the Chicago Cubs threatening to move to Omaha because Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel won't talk to the Ricketts family about improvements to Wrigley Field. Could TD Ameritrade Park be expanded to handle a major league baseball franchise?  Possibly.  But could the Omaha market support a major league baseball franchise?  Very doubtful.  And would Major League Baseball let a franchise that consistently draws over 3 million fans a season move from the third largest market in the country to Omaha?


The Oakland A's moving to Omaha is a borderline crazy idea. The Chicago Cubs moving to Omaha is batshit crazy.

That's not happening, no matter how ridiculous things get in Chicago.  The situation is absurd on both sides of the aisle.  Mayor Emanuel is incensed at former TD Ameritrade chairman Joe Ricketts over a plan by Ricketts political action committee to fund millions of dollars in ads against President Obama.  The Ricketts family owns the Chicago Cubs, and wants the city of Chicago and state of Illinois to subsidize millions of dollars in upgrades to Wrigley Field, the second oldest ballpark in major league baseball.  Ever since the plans of the Ricketts plan were revealed, Emanuel won't talk to the Ricketts, even though every member of the Ricketts family have since disowned the plan.

Is Emanuel being thin-skinned?  Yep.  It sure gives credence to conservatives who claim that Democrats aren't really interested in talking to conservatives, only brow-beating them.  Fair enough.

But the hypocrisy of the Ricketts family is even worse.  The name of the Ricketts PAC is the "Ending Spending Action Fund" and their stated position is that "government spending is out of control."

The same Ricketts family is simultaneously asking the city of Chicago for $150 million in tax money to refurbish the baseball stadium they bought three years ago.  (They also want $150 million more from the state of Illinois.)  Let me get this straight:  they dislike the President because he apparently spends too much money, yet they want the government to subsidize the remodeling of their privately owned baseball stadium?

Oh the irony.  Oh the hypocrisy.  The Ricketts have plenty of money to play political games, but not for their own baseball stadium.  Or players to prevent the Cubs from losing over a hundred games this season for that matter.  (David Glass must be so proud of them!)

Government subsidies for professional sports has always bothered me; witness my objections to the Sarpy County boondoggle that I call the "Trailer Park."  Everybody who's been out to BFE raves about the new ballpark on the fringe of the Omaha area, but that was not my point. My point was always that it was a bad investment for government, especially since Sarpy County never admitted how they'll pay for the stadium.  Still hasn't.  And won't unless someone forces them to.

So the idea of government paying for most of a Wrigley renovation rubs me wrong at the start.  Add in the hypocrisy of a "cut government spending" guy demanding government funds for their baseball team, and it's an easy proposition to lambast.

Should Emanuel talk to the Ricketts?  Absolutely.  Should the city of Chicago subsidize Wrigley Field?  Well, that's a decision for Chicago to make.  I'm not familiar enough with Chicago and it's needs, but chances are, there are more important things for the city of Chicago to spend money on than Wrigley Field right now.

But the Ricketts family probably should walk their talk.  Put your money into your ballclub, or put the ballclub up for sale if you've changed your mind.  Or if you based your purchase on the wild idea that the government would bail you out after you made the purchase. 

1 comment:

Section 37 said...

"I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends ... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them."