On the one hand it's hard not to conjure up a little sympathy for Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Travel south about 15 stops down the CTA Red Line from the Addison station next to Wrigley Field and there sits another major league ballpark built for Jerry Reinsdorf with tax dollars from the kind people of Illinois. All Ricketts wants to do is spend some money to put up a more modern scoreboard inside a baseball stadium he already owns. Not to mention one that was privately financed. Almost a century ago, and not by him, but privately nonetheless.
On the other hand, Ricketts owns the Cubs (of course that could be a reason to pity him further), and suffice it to say that he had access to the $850 million or so needed to buy the Cubs (the purchase also included Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet Chicago). Ridiculous money will abrade sympathy.
And for someone who might need to court more public goodwill to help push through renovation plans for Wrigley Field — the centerpiece of which is a new JumboTron in left field — he's not grading out very high in charm. Said Ricketts at a City Club of Chicago event yesterday: "I'm not sure how anyone is going to stop the signs in the outfield, but if it comes to the point that we don't have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield then we're going to have to consider moving." He later clarified his remarks: "We've always said that we want to win in Wrigley Field, but we also need to generate the revenue we need to compete as a franchise."
Here's the thing: That’s total crap. The Cubs don't need (more) money to compete.