Bud Selig was at Wrigley Field on Wednesday to celebrate one of baseball’s cathedrals turning 100 years old. The Commissioner has a soft spot in his heart for Wrigley Field and he gave his support to the Ricketts family to “do whatever is legally possible” to help the team get the “$300 million ballpark renovation underway.”
Mr. Selig spoke with reporters before leaving the park and explained how important it is to him for Wrigley Field to be preserved for future generations.
“You can’t ask a team to be competitive and you can’t ask people to do things and then tie their hands and legs,” Mr. Selig told the Tribune. “It’s just wrong. Somebody has to say it’s wrong, and I’m going to say it.”
The Wrigley Field Restoration and Expansion Project is being held up by the Cubs and the rooftop owners not being able to work out a compromise that allows the team to begin the project without threat of legal action from the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association.
According to Bruce Miles, Mr. Selig said the Ricketts family is “being unfairly treated” and “when asked where the unfairness was coming from, Selig said he could look out and see it.”
Mr. Selig addressed the issues and the contract with the rooftop club owners by saying, “This is a team trying to stay in this historic setting in a really tough economic environment, trying to modernize without disturbing the tradition, trying to build a competitive baseball team. And I said, I think they’re doing it. But you can’t impose conditions on them that nobody else has, because nobody else has those conditions. Whatever the contract it, whatever they have to do on that score, fine. But you can’t put this up. You can’t put that up. You can’t do that. And yet people can watch your games under conditions that don’t exist anywhere else that really hurt a franchise, and tell me that’s fair.”
As for the Cubs agreeing to the conditions of the contract with the rooftops, Mr. Selig pointed out, “Well, this ownership didn’t. They’re willing to do whatever their contract says. But I feel strongly about that.”
Mr. Selig spoke with the Ricketts family about the situation on Wednesday and the commissioner told them once again they have his full support on this situation. The Ricketts family could have looked into moving the team out of Wrigley and Mr. Selig is glad they did not.
Mr. Selig also “has no concerns about their economic viability” and “zero regrets over approving the sale” of the team to the family. Mr. Selig said, “I think the Cubs are in very good ownership hands. Couldn’t be better. They’ve been great baseball people. They’ve done what they have to do. They’re continuing to do that. I have a lot of concerns on a daily basis. This is not one of them.”
Bud Selig did acknowledge the fact he has spoken with Tom Ricketts about the possibility of the Cubs adding minority investors according to Jon Paul Morosi.