The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Cubs May Play 3 Months at The Cell

By Prescott Carlson in News on Mar 8, 2008 2:27PM

"First Amendment protected" sign by JR1479

Part of the shenanigans involved with the Tribune selling Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority are renovations to the ballpark, which apparently are going to be so major that even with construction beginning immediately after the regular season ends, the Cubs might have to find a temporary home potentially well into the following season. Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney's choice for that move? U.S. Cellular Field.

"To be honest, the architects really drive this, because they talk about lead time on ordering steel, etc., and how this would all work," Kenney said.

"There's a school of thought that (sports architectural firm) HOK has that you could actually phase it in and not lose a season at Wrigley. But then the question is, do you want to live through three years of construction? Or do you want to take the pain and maybe lose one season or a major portion of one season and just get it done?"

Anyone else nervous about the kinds of changes to Wrigley that would take at least 9 months? Zell and company are already pushing that landmark restrictions be relaxed as part of the deal, and while Mayor Daley has publicly stated he's against such a thing, he's already flip-flopped on other aspects so we don't have a lot of confidence that he'll stay with his position. All of this is expected to be paid for with a nifty new kind of TIF.

The question is, since about half the Cubs fans in attendance at games are there for the Wrigley party, with the rest afraid to head to the scary unknown south of Madison, how high would the attendance numbers be for these relocated games?

While we're on the subject of Wrigley, Kenney also indicated that he really doesn't give a hot damn about changing the stadium's name, invoking his constitutional right to do so. In fact, from his use of the past tense in this statement, it seems some changes to the famous marquee have already been tested out:

"Thankfully, we have the First Amendment that protects us. ... We're just changing the letters. If we wanted to call it [a different name], the marquee would look the same. It would just say [a corporate name rather than Wrigley Field over 'Home of Chicago Cubs]. We've modified the lettering."