The North Side alderman whose ward includes Wrigley Field acknowledged Wednesday he suggested the Chicago Cubs move the team's iconic scoreboard and replace it with a massive digital wall, but he said that idea was "dismissed."
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) issued a statement saying the scoreboard move was among the many ideas he suggested to help solve a dispute between the Cubs and neighboring rooftop owners.
"Moving the scoreboard to left field, where a similar one existed until the 1930’s, and replacing it with a video board is just one of the many ideas that have been on the table," he said in the statement. "It was discussed in earnest by all parties and dismissed."
Citing sources close to the ongoing negotiations between the city and the franchise, The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Tunney made the suggestion on more than one occasion.
The Chicago Cubs earlier this year proposed a five-year, $300 million plan to renovate the Friendly Confines. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team was willing to pay for it but wants the city to relax some rules on advertising, more concerts, and more night games.
But rootop owners, who currently share 17 percent of their profits with the team, expressed concern that any new billboards on the stadium would block their views and devastate their business. The Wrigley Rooftop Association offered a compromise -- digital screens on their buildings instead of the stadium itself -- but team officials weren't fond of that idea.
To some, Tunney's reported suggestion shows where his allegiance lies.
I love Wrigley, and hope @cubs stay. But no team should be held hostage the way the Cubs have to rooftop owners and the ward pols they own.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 19, 2013
Aside from being painted green in 1944, the two-story structure has remained mostly unchanged since it was built in 1937 by Bill Veeck. Only one ball has hit it: Sam Snead's golf ball on opening day 1952 when he teed off from homeplate.
"I think it's a part of Chicago's history, and I think it's a landmark and I think the area really respects what Wrigley is," said Chicagoan Sarah Paxton.
In fact it is a landmark, and any plans to bring it down would first need to clear that hurdle.