Attention Tea Partying Cubs fans:
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is asking the state of Illinois to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field.
In a letter to season ticket holders and Wrigleyville residents, Ricketts said the Illinois General Assembly will be considering a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. The plan will allow a portion of future city and county amusement taxes, paid entirely by Cubs fans, to be invested directly in the preservation of the ballpark. A bill is being drawn up that will be considered in the veto session that begins next week .
Ricketts’ letter said “it will not increase taxes paid by Cubs fans or anyone else and will not create any new taxes.”
I guess technically speaking it won’t increase or create taxes. But those amusement taxes that will be used are already being used to fund some other projects, and moving them to fix up Wrigley Field will necessarily drain those other projects of revenue. Projects that, as far as I can tell, aren’t currently designed to enhance the Cubs’ income streams the way a renovated Wrigley would.
Ricketts’ model for the Wrigley renovations — which are needed, I fully admit — are the Fenway Park renovations that have gone down over the past four or five years. Query: were those funded by public monies, or did Fenway Sports Group pay for that? I believe the latter. I’m going to double check that, but if anyone knows off the top of their head, please let me know and I’ll update.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.