What the heck. Add Cicero to the list of Chicagoland cities willing to host the Cubbies should team ownership decide to stop printing money at Wrigley Field.
Now, no one really expects the Cubs to leave one of the most profitable venues in all of sports — a historic ballpark that works quite admirably both for fans and purists alike. And if the Cubs do pull the trigger on a move, no one expects them to end up in Cicero, a suburb with a decidedly mixed reputation when it comes to ethics and good governance.
But that’s not stopped Town President Larry Dominick from tossing the Cubs an offer to discuss new ballpark. “Like many fans…, I believe that it is disgraceful that your team and Cub fans find themselves being forced to accept a stadium that was built to accommodate the game and fan of 100 years past,” Dominick wrote in an open letter to Tom Ricketts. Apparently Dominick is a big baseball fan — he even has a Cubs tattoo — and he pledged plenty of city resources to Cubs officials.
While it’s comical to think that the Cubs might end up in Cicero, there’s a dark side to Cicero and Rosemont making pitches for the Cubs. It’s a truism in sports that when you’re seeking a new ballpark or a substantially renovated existing ballpark, it’s important not to trash the existing facility, because said trash talk will drive away existing customers. For Ricketts and crew, portraying Wrigley Field as anything but a great, historical ballpark that simply needs some improvements is a huge fail. It’s a little early in the season to draw a conclusion from limited data, but Cubs attendance is down more than 10 percent this year from last — 32,150 per game this season versus 35,889 in 2012, and both those numbers are down from the 37,258 fans per game tallied in 2011. Now, bad April weather in Chicago certainly has something to do with the attendance dip, but it’s still a trend that should concern the Cubs front office. To be honest, Cubs brass has done a really crappy job at selling the Wrigley Field renovation plan, and Ricketts has shown absolutely no passion about fixing up what’s arguably the most-loved ballpark in baseball. (You’d be surprised how many fans still think the team is looking for a public handout!) Stressing the merits of the renovation plan and dissuading talk about a potential move out of the city are relatively simple tasks, but it doesn’t seem like the Cubs front office is willing to lay out the very good arguments for a renovation plan.
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