This is a free service for the Chicago Cubs, not necessarily their fans. As a matter of fact, if you are a Cubs fan, you might not want to read this because it won’t be pleasant reading. No, this is my advice for the Cubs management on how to negotiate with the city and the neighborhood. Basically, Cubs management, you are doing it all wrong.
Look, Cubs brass, you need to stop taking your best card off the table before you even sit down. You have to stop saying, “We have no intention of moving.” What is the incentive to listen to you any further? You are not going anywhere, so if I’m the city, I’m not going to budge. If I’m the neighborhood, I’m going to make the best possible deal for my members. The Cubs are the cash cow for everyone, despite their bitching and moaning. It is time to threaten to take the teats away then we shall see how much of an inconvenience you really are. At almost every step, the neighborhood has hectored your steps. As far back as 1985, when the discussion of night games was first broached, your neighbors have tried to stop you from improving your product.
And make no mistake your product needs improvements. Take all of the modern improvements off the table, which is silly but I’ll give the meatheads their due, and the stadium still needs an overhaul. It is literally falling apart. All of the other amenities would be a nice and most of which would not impact the neighborhood at all, or at least not in the Armageddon way most of the vocal residence seem to believe.
Speaking of product, Cubs baseball is your product, not the rooftop owners, not the bar owners and not anyone else who makes a living contingent on your product. I don’t mean to be cruel, but without you, the whole thing goes away. As long no one mentions this basic fact, they will keep on making demands on you, impacting the product you provide.
In your heart of hearts, you don’t have to move or want to move, but you have to play the game. You don’t have to accept any offers, but it wouldn’t kill you to listen. Are you afraid of the backlash from the fans? Really? Do you think if the rooftop owners get pushed around the party is over inside the park? Not a chance. Even if, gods forbid, you were to move the massive fan base that you have is not going to follow? Come on! They would follow you out of town. (Of course, flirting out of state locations may be a bit much. See White Sox and St. Petersburg, that didn’t play well with some folks.)
As this wave of negotiations goes south for you, come to the table prepared next time. Either get a little tough or you’ll be the north side doormat for another thirty years.