If you want to know how much the World Series and the Chicago Cubs means to the city of Chicago, just ask some of its elected officials.
Chicago’s City Ethics board squeezed alderman out of buying World Series tickets from the Chicago Cubs at face-value. Earlier this week, the Ethics Board ruled accepting this offer would violate a ban on elected officials accepting gifts larger than $50.
A violation of ethics?
According to the Chicago Tribune, three aldermen confirmed the Cubs had withdrawn their original offer to city officials. Some are contending new Ethics Board Chairman William Conlon is making “much ado about nothing”.
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“This whole thing is a circus,” said Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th, whose North Side ward includes part of Wrigleyville. “Rather than celebrate the Cubs, [they] now are going to have to comment on something when we as a city should be celebrating going to a World Series.”
The Cubs have declined to comment on this situation. But, team spokesperson Julian Greene said that their focus is on Cleveland.
Originally, the Ethics Board ruled city aldermen could take advantage of the Cubs’ offer and attend the game in their official capacity. Though, this means being acknowledged by the team for attending, including having their names announced or displayed on the digital scoreboard.
Not just another day at the ballpark
Alderman will perform an appropriate, official, ceremonial duty or action if they accept the Cubs; offer. This includes throwing out the first pitch, publicly welcoming the crowd, marching with the color guard, or standing with other elected officials on the field.
There must be a clear and direct connection between an official’s attendance and performance. Otherwise, they risk violating the city’s ethics rules for aldermen.
“Taking attention away from the Cubs and what they have achieved is bizarre,” Pawar added. “I just think from the Cubs’ perspective it just doesn’t make sense to try to figure out how to navigate that opinion.”
Rebuking the offer for alderman allows the Cubs to capitalize on secondary markets. Currently, tickets are selling for up to $2,500 for standing-room general admission; double for bleacher creatures, and nearly quadruple for seating in the 100’s and 200’s sections.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th)—who did not take advantage of the ticket deal—acknowledged his colleague’s growing disdain.
“I’m sure the Cubs did not want the distraction as they are preparing for a World Series,” Sawyer said.
Alderman who accepted tickets to the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS will not be punished. However, if any alderman had accepted the Cubs’ World Series ticket offer, they would face fines between $1,000 and $5,000.