Sale, concerts, Mesa and more
Cubs chairman Crane Kenney briefed reporters on Wednesday about the pending sale of the team to Tom Ricketts. They’ve made progress but Kenney said, “I think it’ll be a challenge to make Opening Day.” Major League Baseball owners meet in May, and the sale could be finalized by then.
In other news:
- The Cubs are exploring other options for Spring Training sites. Their contract with Mesa expires soon, and they could exit after 2012. Kenney was to meet with the Mesa mayor and others to discuss their options. The team wants a state of the art facility, such as the ones built in Goodyear and Glendale. The team also is not in favor of a two-team venture, but wants its own facility. And, Kenney said Florida officials have contacted the Cubs about moving there.
- On Opening Day, expect a new restaurant on the corner of Sheffield and Addison at Wrigley Field. There will be both indoor and outdoor seating. People without tickets to the game can enjoy the area, which will be run by Harry Caray’s restaurant.
- Wrigley Field is being entirely re-sodded and will be ready by Opening Day. The NHL paid for the new grass.
- Kenney said they are not actively discussing more night games or Friday night games with the city of Chicago.
- There will be new advertising on the outfield doors. Under Armour is no longer a sponsor.
- There will be three concerts at Wrigley Field this year. That revenue helps pay for such ventures as international scouting. “You see people opposed to concerts and they’re Cub fans, and it sounds odd but Elton John is going to help us win ballgames,” Kenney said. “It’s a weird way to look at it … but the CBOE auction last year paid for Rich Harden. The ‘Road to Wrigley’ game sponsored our Asian scouting operation. All of these elements really help our business move forward. From my point of view, if you’re a Cub fan, you should enjoy the concerts whether you’re an Elton John fan or not.”
- The Cubs will retire No. 31 for Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins on May 3.
— Carrie Muskat