NEW YORK – Bud Selig has several pressing issues on Major League Baseball’s agenda, but the commissioner isn’t worried about the drama surrounding the Cubs and their attempts to renovate Wrigley Field.
During Tuesday’s meeting with the Baseball Writers Association of America in Manhattan, Selig sounded as if the clashes between the Ricketts family, the rooftop lobby, City Hall and the 44th Ward are a blip on his radar.
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“I’m very optimistic,” Selig said. “I know they’re optimistic and I’m optimistic. As you know, Chicago politics don’t always move smoothly. But I’m very optimistic. It’s not something I would say is a concern of mine now because it’s far enough down the line.”
Selig has to deal with the mushrooming Biogenesis scandal, the territorial rights battle between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants and the long-term viability of the Tampa Bay Rays inside Tropicana Field.
The Cubs are still waiting to green-light their $500 million stadium renovation/hotel project, though they cleared a major hurdle last week when the Landmarks Commission approved plans for a large video board in left field and an advertising sign in right field.
Julian Green, the team’s vice president of communications and community affairs, has said the project still needs to go through planning and zoning hearings and receive full City Council approval, which may not happen until late August or September.
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The Jumbotron’s not expected to be installed by Opening Day 2014. The sense is getting a new clubhouse and training facilities built for next season would be an extreme long shot. Pushing the timeline back another year would be a big disappointment to the baseball staff.
Wrigley Field will turn 100 next year and team officials have understood that the stadium will have to be renovated before the Cubs can host an All-Star Game again.