Cubs Prez Crane Kenney updates us on renovations, rooftops conflict



Chicago Cubs President Crane Kenney yesterday at the Cubs Convention regarding Wrigley Field renovations: “I think you know what the holdup is.” Yes, I thought we had “peace in our time” between the Cubs and Wrigleyville rooftops owners. But maybe Pax Romana has once again passed on. Kenney says there’s been much progress in past two weeks but a lawsuit would delay progress.

Crane Kenney also said that the roofies cost him $20 million losses due to missed out bleacher sales. Very tough to quantify if Crane Kenney is right on that. I’d like to see how these studies are done. Of course, I have zero sympathy for the Rooftops and never had one ounce of compassion to their cause. Ever.

Crane Kenney also equated $20 million to the annual salaries of Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Joe Mauer and Cole Hamels. So you can see his point. And have some compassion there. Kenney, the President of Baseball Operations, signed a new 5 year deal with Cubs last season. It’s hard to feel sorry for the 4th most valuable brand in MLB; especially when you consider that the 4th most valuable brand puts an absolutely terrible product out on the field and has done so for decades. And things don’t look to be getting any better any time soon in that regard. However, both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been 100% honest and transparent about this: total tear down needed before total rebuild, and it will not re rushed. It’s time consuming.

jed hoyer

Back to Crane Kenny and this panel. It was the grown up segment of Cubs Convention. It’s the session where tough important questions are asked and real topics that really matter are discussed. It was a bit paradoxical in that it’s most interesting/valuable and the most boring/dry at the same time. Just to make it even more of a contradiction, I intentionally did my photo-opp with Clark the mascot directly before walking in to the session. Crane Kenney gave us some business school slides during his presentation, used a lot of corporatespeak and made me feel like I was back in MBA school needing to bone up on Six Sigma and Operations Throughput Analysis before the big midterm on Tuesday.


Okay, there’s a time and space to: appreciate Clark, hear Anthony Rizzo joke about scoping out hot babes in the stands with Darwin Barney, hear Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer make wisecracks about the fatalism of Cubs Nation and listen to new manager Rick Renteria’s cliches about grit and gridiness. However, this session with Crane Kenney was not it. This panel was for critical thinking.

Crane Kenney was asked why the team is so slow to add free agents. “We’ve been like an EKG machine one year up, one year down. One year up, and maybe 20 years down.” Then he gave the Atlanta Braves as the perfect example of the sustained success that he’s shooting for. Over a 15 year stretch, they made the playoffs 14 times.


And maybe you don’t have a lot of sympathy for Cubs ownership and front office brass, but you will when you realize how much they are truly hamstrung by their location, neighborhood and civic ordinances. Crane Kenney said the Cubs pay the most in taxes of any MLB team, and it’s not even close. They pay 17 times more in taxes than the San Francisco Giants. Three times more than the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said earlier in the day that the rooftop owners have different agendas, making it impossible to buy them all out: “It’s not like you can just write a check.”

Ricketts also said this about the renovations project: “We got a lot done with the city last year. We still have some details to iron out.”

tom _ricketts-crane-kenney

We’ll put it this way. A lot needs to be done on a stadium hitting it’s 100th birthday. Crane Kenny rhetorically asked: “Anyone here live in a 100-year-old house? Living in a 100-year-old house is inefficient.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments discussing:  Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Bears and Bulls on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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