Chicago Cubs: new sports broadcast network a political pawn?

Todd Ricketts /Chicago Cubs (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Todd Ricketts /Chicago Cubs (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Ricketts family battles with progressive Chicago mayor

It was widely reported when the Ricketts committed to the renovations at Wrigley Field that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, former cabinet member of the Obama administration was not giving out any grants for this work from the city.

The Ricketts requested to split costs with the city for their heavy dollar commitment to the renovation which was bound to bring in more fans from across the country spending not only dollars on the Cubs but hotels, restaurants, clubs, stores, souvenirs and more. Again and again, Emanuel turned down the Ricketts request for money.

Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote last December that the Ricketts almost moved the team out of Chicago to the suburbs they were so upset with City Hall.

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"“It was definitely considered. There was discussion about that at the time. Tom made mention of it at a City Club speech,” Culloton said. Emanuel’s communications director, Shannon Breymaier, said Tuesday that the now-outgoing mayor told Ricketts in 2013 “the same thing he told the owners of the Hawks and the Bulls.” That is, “You own it, you pay for it.”"

Of course, many cities help their local teams, especially in the NFL. Given the at the time new owners were shelling out over a half-billion dollars for the project, you’d think Emmanual would at least consider helping out, right?

Not if it was politically motivated as reported by Deadspin’s Molly Osberg last December:

"Though Tom Ricketts tends to (wisely) keep his political opinions under wraps, and the family does contain a sole Democratic activist in daughter Laura Ricketts, the remaining Cubs owners are deeply involved conservative players. This presents a problem when, say, a racist anti-Obama ad funded by a Ricketts-founded PAC leaks and the mayor is so furious he refuses to return your calls."

To think that politics hasn’t already entered Major League baseball is to be a bit naive about what’s happening in the world. Although it hasn’t gotten to the point of campaigning during games, the next evolution of politics in baseball is bound to come up during the upcoming 2020 election.

Of course, if Chicago were run by a Republican mayor, who knows what kind of goodies might abound around Wrigley Field? The last Republican mayor of Chicago was three-term winner “Big Bill” Thompson who left office in 1931. That’s 88 years of Democratic mayors at the helm in Chicago. Maybe the Ricketts should let the Dems in the family talk to the mayor. Just a suggestion.