Great Moments in Chicago politics

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You wanna know how to keep your lucrative rooftop seating? They put up a billboard, you put risers under your seats. They try to push through major renovations, you give nearly $200,000 to an Alderman. That’s the Chicago way!

A week before Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) declared his opposition to new advertising signs the Cubs want to erect that could block the views of rooftop clubs overlooking Wrigley Field, the alderman’s political fund got contributions from three club owners.

The checks to the Citizens for Tunney fund included $2,500 from George Loukas — who owns the Cubby Bear Lounge as well as rooftop clubs — and $1,000 apiece from Ivy League Baseball Club and Right Field Rooftop LLC, owners of the Skybox on Sheffield club. That makes at least $171,356.50 in all that Tunney has received from owners of the clubs, which offer fans a rooftop vantage to see Cubs games.

The article notes that the Cubs used to give to Tunney too, but haven’t done so for a couple of years.

That’s politics man. And given that all of these donations were reported in campaign finance reports, it’s only usual in Chicago inasmuch as they are perfectly legal.

The more squishy ethical questions we can debate. Part of that debate should include what we think about the fact that the Cubs themselves have a financial interest in other rooftop viewing establishments.

Forget it Jake, it’s Chitown.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.

Cardinals and Pirates prepare to play unusual finale in first-ever MLB Little League Classic

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The Pirates and Cardinals will switch things up for Sunday’s series finale, moving from the spacious PNC Park to the renovated Minor League confines of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Normally the home stadium for the Phillies’ Short-Season Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters, Historic Bowman Field will set the stage for an unusual — and unprecedented — matchup between the NL Central rivals as they take the field for the first-ever MLB Little League Baseball Classic.

The game will cap a packed day for Major League and Little League participants alike, as four Little League double-elimination games will be played in the morning and afternoon before the Pirates’ Ivan Nova and Cardinals’ Mike Leake face off at 7:00 PM ET. Despite drawing national attention, the Classic will be invitation-only, and its projected 2,366 attendees will comprise the lowest capacity attendance figure in Major League history.

The event is designed to spark more interest in the sport, especially among young players, and Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny called it “grassroots marketing at its finest.” “We all fell in love with the game and started dreaming about playing on a field like this at the age of these kids we’re going to go see in Williamsport,” he told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. “I hope there are some kids that we can encourage and maybe give a different look of the game and create some lifelong baseball fans that might not have been there otherwise.”

Judging by the excitement that infused the pregame festivities among the players, it looks like they’re already on the right track.