As a “drop-dead” deadline passed this week without a Wrigley Field deal between the Chicago Cubs and Alderman Tom Tunney, city officials touted one silver lining. Citywide absorption in the drama has slowed Chicago’s murder rate.
“It’s like an American Idol results show or annual Storm of the Century coverage on the Weather Channel,” said Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy. “People are peeled to their TVs wondering how this will turn out. That means less crime in the streets, fewer middle class buyers of illicit drugs, and fewer drive-bys.”
Some reporters questioned the connection. They noted 95 percent of Chicago murders occur in minority areas on the South and West sides and 95 percent of Cubs fans are Caucasians living on the North Side and in the suburbs.
McCarthy responded angrily: “Don’t turn this into another racial thing like school closings. It’s no coincidence we had 50 fewer murders in the first quarter of 2013 than in Q1 last year. You should go ask those 50 families how happy they are that the protracted Wrigley talks are saving their loved ones.”
Quick to defend McCarthy were reporters who cover both baseball and City Hall – two beats combined as part of shrinking newsrooms.
“White Sox and Cubs fans are equally fixated,” said one beat reporter, who asked not to be identified to preserve his anonymity. “Sox fans are rooting for the Cubs to move to Rosemont, and Cubs fans pray for the opposite. And for fans of organized political crime, it’s a win-win wherever the Cubs end up.”
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts expressed mixed emotions.
“The Chicago Cubs only want what’s best for the entire community, even if that means my family spending money to make even more money,” Ricketts said between nasally gasps of breath. “But if all parties give a little, we can wrap this up. For instance, we could give a little on night games and parking, but only if the city allows a few dozen more White Sox fans to die.”
During the mayor’s separate news conference, Mayor Emanuel took pains to underscore exactly how he should be applauded in this matter.
“The critics will always be there, but it’s clear our holistic approach to Wrigley Field and violent-crime reduction is working,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “People laughed and said it couldn’t be done. But where others lack creativity, I see opportunities to take credit in ever more expansive ways.”
SkitSketchJeff is Jeff Burdick, who favors landmark status for Wrigleyville for housing the largest concentration of white trash in the world.
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