Remember back when the Rickettses took control of the team and we all just couldn’t wait for them to shitcan their Vice President for Douchebaggery and Asshattery, Crane Kenney?Â Yeah, well they never actually did that.Â Instead, they put Crane in charge of two things.
1) Finding a buddy of his to take over and ruin the marketing of the Cubs
2) Heading up whatever the hell “Wrigley 2014” is.
Crane made short work of hiring the brains behind the brilliant marketing of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid (can’t wait to buy my tickets!), and things are going so well that the team can’t get anyone to buy tickets to the Cubs Convention this year.
But what was really important to the Rickettses (that can’t be the right plural for them, is it Ricketti?) was the Wrigley 2014 horseshit.Â They were going to execute this grand plan that would renovate the ricketty (wait, maybe that’s ricketti?) old ballyard into a cash cow money maker with toilets so clean Todd would only need to hose them down every other day, and actually edible food, and a clubhouse that wouldn’t necessitate the spate of sub 5’4 middle infielders they have to have now to meet fire code, and all kinds of nifty new crap.
They were going to build a triangle building that would be shaped like…well, a triangle I would guess, and it would have offices in it (neat!) and a Cubs Hall of Fame (oh, for godsakes why?) and they were going to dig a tunnel so players could either use expanded training facilities in the adjacent building or play Chilean miner, I’m not really sure which.
Anyway, this was going to be great.Â And Crane was going to head it up, because nobody knows how to get things done like a guy who has had a series of jobs with the Tribune and now the Cubs that nobody knows what the hell he’s supposed to do.
Crane was also going to use his somewhat masculine charm to convince Interim Baseball Commissioner for Life Bud Selig to have the 2014 All-Star Game in Chicago to commemorate the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field.
See, Crane’s a man who gets things done.Â This is why he continues in his phoney baloney job months after he should have been kicked to the curb.Â He’s a man of action, and you can’t ever have too many men of action.
So guess how well Wrigley 2014 is going?
It’s now Wrigley 2016.
That good, eh?
I live in Illinois and you might too and this state doesn’t only not have any money, it owes other states and countries and perhaps other planets money.Â Illinois is so broke that whatever organized crime family that’s supposed to get the tollway profits this year had to actually pay $40 to recharge an I-Pass.
So it really seems like a great time to ask the state for $200 million so Ryan Dempster can get an extra eight inches of room to scratch his ass in the clubhouse.
The Cubs already pay the state of Illinois “amusement tax” money every year.Â Last year, nobody was amused by the Cubs, but if you bought a ticket you paid into the amusement tax fund.Â The Cubs even helpfully had your contribution printed right on the tickets, in a show of passive aggressiveness so blatant that most 16 year old girls would be proud of it.
In 2009, the Cubs paid $16.1 million in amusement taxes to the City of Chicago and Cook County through the 12 percent levy on each ticket, the team said. The city and county will be guaranteed this amount for the duration of the bonds. Growth in amusement taxes beyond $16.1 million â€” through increased ticket sales or prices â€“Â will be redirected to pay the bonds. The family says the incremental growth in the tax will cover the bonds.
Here’s the interesting thing.Â The Cubs attendance is far likelier to go down in future years than up.Â So if they’re guaranteeing no less than $16.1 million to the city and county but fewer people are going to buy tickets, how is that going to work?
Why, they’ll just have to raise ticket prices.Â And…if they get $200 million from the state to make Wrigley a nicer place to take a dump, they have a new thing to “blame” ticket increases on.Â Great!Â Where do we sign up?
Tom Ricketts sent out a letter to his ever decreasing base of season-ticket holders, and the Wrigley Field neighbors explaining…well, this:
â€œThe plan is fair, simple and solves the problem.Â Most importanly, it will not increase taxes paid by Cubs fans or anyone else and will not create any new taxes.â€
I really wish that when he writes stuff like this he just drops the pretense and hits us over the head with a board that says “semantics” on it.Â Of course Cubs fans and “anyone else” are going to pay increased taxes.Â An increase in the price of any ticket will increase how much amusement tax is generated by that ticket, and I don’t see the Cubs paying it, so you or I are going to.
Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that he had no knowledge of the plan. â€œI havenâ€™t been briefed at all. Itâ€™s news to me. â€¦Â I donâ€™t know anything about it right now.â€
Are you as surprised as I am that Pat doesn’t know anything about…anything?
Asking the city and Cook County to forgo future increase in amusement taxes, though, may be a tough sell when each faces mounting budgetary woes in a tough economy. In addition the public might wonder why a wealthy owner needs public debt to make stadium improvements when the state faces a projected $15 billion deficit going into fiscal 2011.
I don’t think the Ricketti really expect the city or county to raise the amusement tax, they just don’t want to get blamed for it, and they want their contribution to the city and county locked in at $16.1 million.Â That way if the amusement tax goes up, the Cubs don’t feel it.Â The ticket buyers will, but the team won’t.Â If anything it will add to the pool of money that they need to make the $200 million from the state go away.Â Bend over Cubs fans, here it comes.
Ricketts said the family spent $10 million on upgrades in the last off-season but the ballpark needs a long-term investment to remain the stateâ€™s third largest tourist attraction.
That hose they bought to dilute the urine on the floors of the bathrooms cost $10 million?
And what are the other two biggest tourist attractions in Illinois?
To deflect criticism, the family said it will spend about $200 million of its own money to redevelop land around Wrigley Field, which will create jobs and future sales taxes.
Todd’s in charge of creating the jobs.Â He doesn’t ask anyone to do anything he can’t do.Â So nobody has to do anything.
The proposal also does not call for the Cubs to vacate Wrigley during construction, which wonâ€™t be completed until 2016, two years later than the owenrâ€™s earlier plan to renovate the stadium by 2014, its 100th anniversary.Â If the state approves the financing plan, the Cubs plan to ask Major League Baseball to host the 2016 All-Star Game.
So originally the plan was to “get it done” in time for the 100th anniversary, but now it’s looking more like the 102nd.Â Gee…when have Cubs fans ever seen anything like that?
There’s no way this wasn’t the Cubs plan all along.Â It’s not like the Ricketti suddenly realized it’s going to cost an extra $200 million to renovate their ivy covered dump.Â But only they would let a hollow, stuff shirt, dope like Crane run around bragging up Wrigley 2014 only to figure out it was going to have to be Wrigley 2016 (which will quickly become Wrigley 2020), and keep the same mope around to talk it up.
I really hate this franchise more every day.Â And I really didn’t that was possible.