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Paid Protesters Picket Wrigley

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 13, 2010 8:40PM

A rendering of the proposed Toyota sign at Wrigley Field; Photo courtesy the Cubs, via the Tribune

If you attended yesterday's Cubs home opener or at least walked by Wrigley during the game, you might have noticed several dozen protesters decked out in bright yellow shirts protesting the proposed Toyota sign that team owner Tom Ricketts wants to put up in left field. Well, as Time Out Chicago notes, it turns out those protesters weren't there just out of the goodness of their heart, but because they were paid. Jake Malooley quizzed a few of the protesters, who were paid $25 for two hours of "work."

“Oh, is this a protest,” said Jesse Knowles, a Logan Square denizen, who responded as if I’d woken him from a nap. “I guess I could be protesting. I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. They’re just paying me. Well, it was a Craigslist thing, so I hope they’re paying me.”

Equally clueless was fauxtestor Chuck Welton when I asked him to explain the message of the rally. “They didn’t give me no message,” he said. “They just told me to come out here and pass out fliers. So that’s what I’m doing.” A man named George (who wanted his last name withheld) admitted he knew nothing about the sign controversy before this morning, but “when they explained it to me, I was like, ‘I agree.’”

Malooley eventually tracked down the brains behind the operations, Pierce Hutchings, who said, “I just think the sign would ruin the historic quality of Wrigley Field. First it’s a sign and what’s next, a JumboTron?” Well, actually, Pierce...