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Wastin' Away Again in Wrigleyville

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 1, 2004 7:30PM

2004_11_sports_wrigley_buffet.jpgHoliday shopping season is upon us, and who doesn't need a little extra cash this time of year? Seems even the Cubs do, maybe in hopes of being able to give their fans a shiny new free agent for the holidays. Or maybe they're just trying to pay off some debt from all that repair work over the summer.

Whatever the reasons, the Cubs have unveiled a number of money-generating proposals in recent days. The Cubs have discussed the idea of holding concerts at Wrigley Field with Ald. Tom Tunney. The Cubs are looking at the Labor Day weekend, and there's speculation that Jimmy Buffet would be the performer. That'd sure be an interesting weekend. Tunney sounds open to the proposal, as it would bring money into the neighborhood, but also realizes the inconveniences it'd cause to the park's neighbors. Any accord would have to include "significant give-backs to the community," Tunney said. Does this mean that the Buffet fans can't bogart all their weed?

Other Cubs proposals in recent days are more permanent. The team wants to place electronic sign behind home plate. According to the Trib, the "10-by-3-foot sign would be in the frame of the typical television camera shot that takes in the pitcher, catcher and batter." Many other parks have these ads, targeted primarily to the TV audience. So soon Cubs fans across the country watching on WGN may be able to order carpet from Empire Carpets...

Additionally, the Cubs want to add 32 seats to the on-field box they added last year. They would replace the 48 folding chairs next to the first base dugout with 80 permanent seats surrounded by a brick wall.

Because Wrigley is a Historic Landmark, both of these proposals need the OK from the city's Landmarks Commission--although the city Planning Dept. has given it's recommendation to approve the changes since the "plans balance the historic preservation of the park with the operating needs of the Chicago Cubs," Planning Dept. spokesman Peter Scales said.