Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is threatening to possibly consider the idea to move his team out of Wrigley Field if the city doesn’t grant him permission to put up signs that would block views from rooftops across Sheffield Avenue. Here are a few suggested destinations.
THILLENS STADIUM: The Cubs have already invested money in the Little League park at the corner of Devon and Kedzie, in West Rogers Park. Since they contributed to a $2 million renovation in 2006, the scoreboard reads “Cubs Field.”
Advantages: The stadium was built in 1938, by check-cashing magnate Mel G. Thillens, so the Cubs would still play in the oldest stadium in the National League. It’s lighted and has a center-field camera.
Disadvantages: Thillens Stadium only seats 2,000, and because it abuts the North Shore Sanitary Canal, expansion might be difficult. Also, home run balls would be lost in the water, which would discourage ball hawks.
GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREPARATORY ACADEMY: The high school at the corner of 111th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is in the news after a baseball game with Walter Payton College Prep was cancelled after parents were allegedly afraid to send their sons to play in Roseland.
Advantages: The field has a fence around it, offering security in what can be a dangerous neighborhood. Roseland is a blighted, low-income area, so the Cubs’ signs would be welcome, and they would have plenty of room to expand.
Disadvantages: There’s already a Major League Baseball team on the South Side of Chicago.
THE SOFTBALL DIAMONDS IN CLARENDON PARK: Wrigley Field is not the only place to play ball on the mid-North Side. Clarendon Park has numerous fields that now host 12-inch and 16-inch softball games. One of these could easily be converted for baseball.
Advantages: It’s in the neighborhood, so bars and restaurants that depend on the Cubs trade wouldn’t suffer.
Disadvantages: Since it’s in Uptown, homeless live in the park. Once, before a softball game, I had to roust a guy sleeping in right field. Would have to schedule around Chicago Sport and Social Club games.
“WEST SIDE PARK”: Before the Cubs moved to Lake View, they played in a stadium bounded by Taylor, Wood, Polk and Wolcott streets. That space is now occupied by the University of Illinois Medical Center.
Advantages: The Cubs were playing there the last time they won the World Series, in 1908, so the ground may be lucky.
Disadvantages: Displacing a hospital will be expensive and result in bad publicity, but the Ricketts family can afford both.