The Cubs are asking the Illinois legislature for $200 million in Wrigley upgrades

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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.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.