Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts met with the media Sunday in Mesa, Ariz., and spoke on a variety of topics, including the progress his ownership group has made on a Wrigley Field renovation deal.
Ricketts is confident they are moving in the right direction and he said that the Cubs have been having productive talks with the mayor’s office. “We are hoping to have a deal soon. The Mayor’s office has been great to deal with and we would like to get something done in time for this construction season,” he said.
On the topic of adding additional night games for the 2013 season he made it clear that is off the table for this season.
“We are not looking to add more night games for this coming season. That is something we would like to address in coming seasons,” Ricketts said.
He also said that there is no plan on the table for a Wrigley Field renovation that would require the Cubs to play somewhere else while the venerable stadium was being remodeled.
“We feel that we can accomplish our goals in a handful of offseasons and we have no plan that we are considering that has us playing somewhere else while the work is done on the ballpark," he said.
Ricketts also talked about the progress the baseball operations side has made since the day Theo Epstein and his team were hired in October of 2011.
“We have made tremendous progress under Theo and Jed and the baseball operations team. Some of the moves they’ve made have been public while many moves are behind the scenes and may go unnoticed. I have seen these guys make hundreds of moves since they took over but not all of them are public,” he said.
As for progress on the Cubs' new spring training facility in Mesa, Ricketts believes that the spring training headquarters will be ready for the organization to move in by November.
“We are pouring concrete and everything is right on track for the facility to open in November,” he told the media assembled at Fitch Park.
Finally, on the topic of the current payroll level, which is far below what was spent in previous seasons at the major-league level, Ricketts was clear that the free spending of the previous regime was gone under the current revenue model that the Cubs exist under.
“The previous payroll model from the Tribune Company ownership was unsustainable in the current context which is why we are working to reach a deal on renovating the ballpark that will allow us to increase our revenue streams for the organization,” he said.