Wrigley Field's Humongous Scoreboard
If I could only draw one tenth as well as Tim Souers. I'd draw a Gi-normous Scoreboard in centerfield that shrouded the entire 44th ward in a shadow darker than a solar eclipse.
Holy Cow! The Scoreboard that Overshadowed the 44th Ward. I'm talkin' Godzilla's shadow over Tokyo.
This little Aldermanic war of words was in today's Sun-Times:
Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) has made a bold suggestion to the Cubs: replace the iconic landmarked center field scoreboard with a video scoreboard that would generate millions without blocking anybody’s view.
“Put it in center field. Make it as big as you want,”
Holy Mackerel. Mess with the landmark status scoreboard? Alderman Tunney, how soon you forget. You legislated so that should never happen (unless the gi-normous scoreboard is compatible with the historic character of the field).
Mor-on the zany alderman and his puffy chest lingo, after the jump...
More from the Sun-Times piece: Chicago-based sports marketing consultant Marc Ganis likened Tunney’s scoreboard demolition idea to...
“...ripping out the ivy and putting scoreboards on the outfield walls.” The “desperate ploy” is proof-positive of “where the alderman’s loyalties lie,” Ganis said.
“If the scoreboard is not important to Tunney or the Landmarks Commission, it should not have been landmarked in the first place. But, it is entirely inappropriate to trade something that’s landmarked to protect a private business that’s the largest contributor to a local politician."
Wrigley Field was landmarked by Chicago's city council in January 2004 but it's not every square inch of the ballpark that's landmarked. It turns out only the four exterior walls, the grandstands, bleachers, roofs, the marquee sign and the centerfield scoreboard, plus brick walls and ivy were in the decree. Some things can be changed by the Cubs without city approval. One that can not be changed by the Cubs is the scoreboard, contrary to what the Alderman suggested today.
Of course Alderman Tunney knows this, as he was a part of the city council back then. In 2004, the Cubs wanted to renovate the bleachers, a project eventually approved that expanded the bleachers to overhang the external walls of the ballpark over the sidewalks of Sheffield and Waveland avenues. The bleachers are landmarked. The city council approved the project (with naturally a few political concessions including remote parking with shuttle buses, supplemental trash pickup and access to Lakeshore Drive at Addison).
Sherman, set the WayBack to 2004...
"Alderman Tom Tunney, who represents the 44th Ward, said the landmark designation would neither permit nor prohibit bleacher expansion. Tunney said only the City Council can approve a bleacher expansion over the sidewalk behind the bleachers. The Landmarks Commission would have the authority to review any approved expansion to ensure the design is compatible with the historic character of the field."
These most recent Tom Tunney antics come in the face of a proposal by NW Suburban Rosemont's Mayor Brad Stephens to give 25 acres of land for the Cubs to develop a ballpark complex. The parcel at Balmoral and the the Tri-State Tollway. Rosemont is a train stop on the Blue line train that shuttles from downtown Chicago to O'Hare. One of the Rosemont perks includes a lower 3% amusement tax (Chicago just raised that tax to 9% plus a Cook county tax upping the total amusement tax to 12%). David Kaplan wrote about this with some interesting math as om $75-100 million in revenues not going to the Cubs.
• Revenue generated by the rooftop owners: $24 million – 17 percent = $4 million (The Cubs receive 17 percent of revenue)
• Signage restrictions: $20-30 million
• Amusement taxes paid in 2011: $17 million
• Addt'l. night games (Avg. in MLB is 57): $1 million addt'l. per game = $27 million
• Street Festivals and more concerts: (Could have naming rights if a consistent number is allowed each season) = $10 million estimate.
So the threat of Rosemont just might unseat the alderman. Rhetoric from Rosemont's Mayor Stephens:
“Rosemont is very pro-development and we have a long history of experience dealing with big business," Stephens said. "From my position, you have a wealthy family willing to pay all of the costs of a major renovation project, which will bring a tremendous number of jobs to the community.
“However, they are not getting cooperation from the neighborhood. Even if the Cubs get a deal done now, what will happen when they need something else a year or two years down the road? This will not be the last time the community or the alderman will be difficult to deal with. The Cubs will never have those kinds of problems if they move to Rosemont."
The Chicago solution should be simple. I remember that old Chicago slogan, the City that Works. Yes, we know how Chicago works. Tom Ricketts just needs to grease Alderman Tunney's palm with more $$ than the rooftoppers. If Tom Ricketts has budgeted $300 million for the renovations, then I'd say they just need to budget $18 million toward the Alderman's Swiss bank account based campaign fund every election year. Tom Ricketts can call it a wash after Alfonso Soriano's contract comes off the books. Finally, the Mayor and City can take their cut from all those outfield electronic ad revenues. Ah, Carl Sandberg would be proud. Chicago, once again City of Big Shoulders and Bigger Scoreboards.