WBEZ | chicago cubs http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-cubs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Wrigley Field officially providing 100 years of memories http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-23/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-100 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by PhineasX.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Friendly Confines turns 100 on Wednesday, and we want to hear your memories of the ballpark. Maybe it was your first game, or a ritual you established there with someone special. Wrigley historian Stuart Shea helps guide us through 100 years.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Wrigley Field officially providing 100 years of memories" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-23/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-100 Morning Shift: The soulful sounds of Brazil's Luisa Maita http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-04/morning-shift-soulful-sounds-brazils-luisa-maita <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr retorta_net.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a preview of the Cubs home opener from our WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout. Plus, we bring you live music from Brazilian chanteuse Luisa Maita.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-soulful-sounds-of-brazil-s-luisa" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The soulful sounds of Brazil's Luisa Maita" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-04/morning-shift-soulful-sounds-brazils-luisa-maita The origins of Chicago's sports mascots http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/origins-chicagos-sports-mascots-108693 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F111260692" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Craig Scanlon from Chicago&#39;s Ravenswood neighborhood noticed something odd about a couple of the city&#39;s sports teams. One: The Bears and the Cubs are awfully similar mascots. Two: Are there even any bears in Chicago? Seeking some clarity, he asked Curious City this question:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><em>What are the origins of Chicago&rsquo;s professional sports mascots?</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the true spirit of sportsmanship, we asked a team of WBEZ producers to take on Craig&#39;s question. And we start with Benny the Bull.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Bulls</strong>&nbsp;<strong>mascot - Benny the Bull</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Benny%20the%20Bull%20original1.jpg" title="Benny the Bull (AP/File)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Despite becoming one of the league&rsquo;s most successful franchises, the Chicago Bulls took some time&mdash;and some sweet talk&mdash;to get running.<br /><br />The Bulls were the fourth attempt to establish an NBA team in Chicago. First there was the Stags&hellip;then, if you can believe it, the Chicago Packers and lastly, and ever-so-briefly, the Chicago Zephyrs. According to Bulls lore (and The Chicago Bulls Encyclopedia), the club&rsquo;s first owner, Richard Klein, wanted the team&rsquo;s name to reflect strength and power and the city&rsquo;s reputation as Hog Butcher for the World.<br /><br />&ldquo;At first,&rdquo; Klein explained at the time, &ldquo;I was thinking of names like Matadors or Toreadors, but if you think about it, no team with as many as three syllables in its nickname has ever had much success except for the Canadians. I was sitting around the house, kicking these names around with my wife and three sons, when my little son Mark said, &lsquo;Dad, that&rsquo;s a bunch of bull!&rsquo; I said, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s it! We&rsquo;ll call them the Bulls!&rsquo; And that&rsquo;s how the team got its nickname.&rdquo;<br /><br />The team&rsquo;s mascot required more hot air than that. After the few other failed attempts to bring pro basketball to Chicago, the city&rsquo;s sports fans&mdash;and writers&mdash;weren&rsquo;t interested. So the Bulls brought on a former big-time fight announcer to be the team&rsquo;s public relations man. Ben Bentley, affectionately known to the boxing world and beyond as &ldquo;Benny,&rdquo; said he used to struggle to give tickets away in the early days; he used to turn up daily at Chicago&rsquo;s four newspapers to talk up the team and hand out tickets. His thought was, if he got them in the seats, he&rsquo;d make sure they had a reason to come back for more. One time, he wrestled a bear at half time to get people talking!<br /><br />And so, the team&rsquo;s original hype man lives on in its luv-a-bull mascot, Benny the Bull.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>-Katie O&#39;Brien</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Blackhawks</strong>&nbsp;<strong>mascot - Tommy Hawk</strong><br />&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tommyhawk1.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 450px; float: right;" title="Tommyhawk (AP/File)" />The Blackhawks are named so in honor of a the 19th-century Sauk Indian warrior, Black Hawk. His tribe made their home along Illinois&rsquo;s Rock River. He began his quest to keep that land for his people as a teenager&mdash;and did so well into his 60s. After tribes in the region signed over lands east of the Mississippi River to the federal government, Black Hawk led a rebellion. He and some 1,500 followers&mdash;500 warriors and 1,000 women and children&mdash;on a 15-week campaign which caused panic in the area. Ultimately, Black Hawk was captured and most of his followers were killed. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />It was his captors that turned him into a mascot of sorts. He was taken to Washington, where he met with President Andrew Jackson. Black Hawk became a media sensation, the symbol of resistance and rebellion, strength and resilience.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />When the team&rsquo;s founder, Major Frederic McLaughlin, he drew inspiration from his time serving as an Army commander in WWI. His division called themselves the Black Hawks in honor of the warrior.<br /><br />Beth Carvey, directs the museum at Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island. She said Black Hawk believed in fighting for his people and doing what was right by his people, even if it was a lost cause.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Blackhawks introduced Tommy Hawk, a hawk clad in a Blackhawk&#39;s jersey and pants and sporting the four feathers of the logo on his head, in the 2001-2002 season.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>-Katie O&#39;Brien</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Bears mascot - Staley</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bears%20mascot1.jpg" style="height: 311px; width: 210px; float: left;" title="Staley (AP/File)" /></div><p>George Halas, one of the founding fathers of the NFL, didn&rsquo;t first start with the name Bears for his original franchise. The team began playing in 1919 in Decatur, Illinois and was known as the Decatur Staleys since it was a owned by the A.E. Staley food starch company.&nbsp;</p><p>Halas took over the club in 1920 and moved the team to Chicago in 1921. According to the present team chairman, George McCaskey (and Halas grandson), the team had to keep the name Staleys for one year after they moved to Chicago, while they played at Wrigley Field.&nbsp; Halas thought about naming his Chicago team, the Cubs, but thought football players were tougher and decided to anoint them as the Chicago Bears.</p><p>The team in recent years has had a kid-friendly team mascot that is a huge, almost cuddly bear, named Staley. His name was to honor the original team&#39;s name and also the hope that the name may inspire children to seek the history.</p><p><em>-Cheryl Raye-Stout</em></p><p><strong>White Sox mascot - Southpaw</strong></p><p>The Chicago White Sox installed &ldquo;Southpaw&rdquo; as their U.S. Cellular Field mascot in 2002. The green, lizard-like character&rsquo;s name references left-handed pitchers and the ball club&#39;s location on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. But you have to go back decades to get a taste of some of the mascot controversy that has embroiled the White Sox over the years . Andy the Clown was Andy Rozdilsky dressed in clown makeup, a bowler hat, glasses and a ruffled collared polka-dotted costume. For over 20 year he would run around the park inciting shouts of &ldquo;Gooooo yooooouuuuu White Sox&rdquo; from children and adults alike as the unofficial mascot of the Chicago White Sox. Rozdilsky clowned around Comiskey Park from 1961-1981, until Jerry Reinsdorf&rsquo;s ownership group bought the team.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/South Paw.jpg" style="float: right; height: 405px; width: 300px;" title="South Paw " /></p><p>Reinsdorf hired a design firm to come up with a new mascot for the White Sox in an effort to keep up with the times, and plushy dinosaurs, chickens and other assorted abstract animals were all the rage.</p><p>White Sox management introduced Ribbie and Roobarb, two almost inexplicably strange characters in 1981, but they were instantly unpopular as fans overwhelmingly rebelled against them, hurling insults, mock fighting and spitting on the duo. Fans waged a phone-in campaign to have the White Sox reinstate Andy, who had been banned from the park (while wearing his costume). Eventually the club compromised, saying Rozdilsky could continue to perform in the upper decks only, but fans would go out of their way to sneak Andy into the lower grandstands.</p><p>When the Sox moved to the new Comiskey Park, the White Sox officially retired Andy the Clown, and Rozdilsky retired from clowning (in costume) a few short years before he passed away in 1995.</p><p><em>-Justin Kaufmann</em></p><p><strong>Chicago Cardinals - Pom-Pon Girls, Cardettes and Gary Mann</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cardinals &quot;Pom Pon&quot; Girls (Photo Courtesy of Chicago History Museum)" chicago="" class="image-original_image" courtesy="" girls="" history="" of="" photo="" pom="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Cardinals%20Pom%20Pon%20Girls1.jpg" style="float: left; height: 353px; width: 400px;" title="Cardinals &quot;Pom Pon&quot; Girls (Photo Courtesy of Chicago History Museum)" /></div><p>Chicago&rsquo;s pro-football stepchild, the Chicago Cardinals, which became the St. Louis Cardinals, which became the Arizona Cardinals, didn&rsquo;t have an official mascot, according to sources with the team as well as at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Chicago History Museum, but in the 1940s &amp; 50s they had the &quot;Pom-Pon Girls,&rdquo; the team&rsquo;s &quot;official vocalist, Gary Mann&quot; who sang the National Anthem, and the Cardettes, a &quot; 30-girl twirling and precision group.&quot;</p><p>The Cardinals played in Chicago until 1960, when for the sake of its financial survival, the team moved to St. Louis.<br /><br />The team&rsquo;s origins go back to 1898 when owner Chris O&#39;Brien formed the Morgan Athletic Club. Some years later, he bought used jerseys from the University of Chicago. Because the jerseys were old and used, they lacked the University&rsquo;s deep maroon color and were a strange faded red. O&rsquo;Brien decided the jerseys were &ldquo;Cardinal Red&rdquo;. The new &ldquo;Cardinals&rdquo; started playing their games on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side at 61st and Racine. They were known then as the &ldquo;Racine Street Cardinals&rdquo;.<br /><br /><em>Special thanks to Jon Kendle of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lesley Martin of the Chicago History Museum and Allison LeClair of the NFL&#39;s Arizona Cardinals.</em></p><p><em>-Steve Bynum</em></p><p><strong>Chicago Cubs - No Mascot</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cubs%20logo.jpg" title="(Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>The Chicago Cubs are one of four teams (Angels, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers) with no official mascot. However, with the new 5-year, $300 million expansion plan for Wrigley Field, the club has reportedly partnered with Northwestern University to conduct a poll about what kid-friendly experiences to add to the ballpark. Among those items discussed, an official mascot, according to the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-09/sports/ct-spt-0310-cubs-spring-training-chicago--20130310_1_new-mascots-sox-fans-tommy-hawk">Chicago Tribune</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chicago Fire - Sparky</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sparky1.jpg" title="Sparky (AP/File)" /></div><p>The official mascot for the Chicago Fire is Sparky, who resembles an upright Dalmatian. The mascot generally wears a Fire jersey, but it can often be seen entering Toyota Park in fireman attire. The Chicago Fire made Sparky the official mascot in 1998.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chicago Sky - Sky Guy</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sky%20Guy1.jpg" title="(Courtesy of WBEZ's Jennifer Brandel)" /></div><p>Sky Guy is a yellow and blue-suited sky diver with a jet pack. Sky Guy has been the official mascot since the Chicago Sky became an offiicial WNBA team in 2006.</p><p><em>-Tim Akimoff</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 09:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/origins-chicagos-sports-mascots-108693 Chicago cubs are like a terrible girlfriend http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/chicago-cubs-are-terrible-girlfriend-106944 <p><p>The following three items are completely unrelated.</p><p>1.) I will be on the radio today on The Afternoon Shift to talk about my <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/king-me-my-inaugural-visit-korean-spa-106693">King Spa</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/moms-solo-staycation-106675">alone time</a> experiences at around 2 p.m., if you&#39;d like to hear me.</p><p>2.) The Cubs&#39; owners <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-suburbs-cubs-20130502,0,7367666.story">threatening to move the team</a> if they don&#39;t get their way is the kind of bratty empty gesture that I hope they follow through on, just because it would be the most interesting thing to happen to the team in 100 years. However, I have a feeling the Cubs are like the girlfriend and the city/fans are like the boyfriend in this sketch (NSFW):</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/eirBtt7wIDU" width="560"></iframe></p><p>3.) And finally, pease don&#39;t forget Funny Ha-Ha is Friday. It&#39;ll be a delightful show and a wonderful way for you to kick off your weekend.</p><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p><p><img src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FunnyHaHaMay_0.jpg" /></p></p> Thu, 02 May 2013 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/chicago-cubs-are-terrible-girlfriend-106944 Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP812306419229.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The owner of the Chicago Cubs publicly threatened for the first time Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.</p><p>&quot;The fact is that if we don&#39;t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we&#39;ll have to take a look at moving &mdash; no question,&quot; Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters after a speech to Chicago business leaders outlining plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium.</p><p>It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over the Wrigley Field renovation plans that Ricketts threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of bars and restaurants that adds to the historic park&#39;s allure with tourists and baseball fans.</p><p>By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over left field, like those in most ballparks. The difference in Chicago is that the stadium &mdash; the second oldest in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston &mdash; is surrounded by privately owned clubs that have built rooftop bleachers and object to any changes to the park that could block their bird&#39;s-eye views.</p><p>Because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs, the rooftop businesses feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table and legal action is a possibility. They have been left out of the talks.</p><p>Ricketts presented an architectural rendering of the video screen during his speech to the City Club of Chicago and insisted it would have minimal if any impact on the views. He said without such signage, the team was losing out on $20 million a year in ad revenue &mdash; essential for helping fund extensive renovations without dipping into taxpayer funds.</p><p>&quot;All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum,&quot; Ricketts told the audience.</p><p>One of the rooftop owners, Beth Murphy, sat in on the speech and told reporters afterward that it was the first time she&#39;d seen any drawings of the screen and that she and other owners would have a lot of vetting to do before determining if the proposal works.</p><p>&quot;It looked big to me and it looked like it blocked out the neighborhood,&quot; she said.</p><p>The rooftop owners have previously threatened legal action, and Murphy said she was confident their contract would hold up and protect their businesses.</p><p>Ricketts said the team formally filed its renovation proposal with the city of Chicago on Wednesday. The plan must get approval from city planners and the City Council. There will also be public hearings on the plan.</p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 Is found headless goat related to Wrigley? http://www.wbez.org/news/found-headless-goat-related-wrigley-106664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3393_5538675918_b3ccf86e2a (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Authorities are investigating whether the body of a decapitated goat found at a golf course has anything to do with the goat head delivered last week to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.</p><p>Cook County Forest Preserve Police contacted Chicago Police about the strange find Monday.</p><p>The headless white goat was found at the base of a tree at Indian Boundary Golf Course. The body of a plucked, disfigured chicken was found nearby.</p><p>Indian Boundary Assistant Manager Dan Stein says a golfer reported finding the goat&#39;s body. The golfer said he thought he&#39;d found the goat from Wrigley.</p><p>A goat&#39;s severed head was found outside Wrigley Field last week, leading to speculation it was meant as a reference to the alleged &quot;goat curse&quot; placed on the Cubs in 1945.</p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/found-headless-goat-related-wrigley-106664 City, Cubs push $500 million Wrigley renovation http://www.wbez.org/news/city-cubs-push-500-million-wrigley-renovation-106643 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr_DaveNewman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Cubs and the city have agreed on details of a $500 million facelift for Wrigley Field, including an electronic video screen that is nearly three times as large as the one currently atop the centerfield bleachers of the 99-year-old ballpark.</p><p>Under terms of the agreement, the Cubs would also be able to increase the number of night games at Wrigley Field from 30 to 40 &mdash; or nearly half the games played there each season. They would give Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts the ability to renovate the second-oldest park in the major leagues, boost business and perhaps make baseball&#39;s most infamous losers competitive again.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed what the two sides called a &quot;framework&quot; agreement in a joint statement issued Sunday night, noting that it includes no taxpayer funding. That had been one of the original requests of the Ricketts family in a long-running renovation dispute that at times involved everything from cranky ballpark neighbors to ward politics and even the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.</p><p>&quot;This framework allows the Cubs to restore the Friendly Confines (of Wrigley) and pursue their economic goals, while respecting the rights and quality of life of its neighbors,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>Still uncertain was how the agreement will sit with owners of nearby buildings who provide rooftop views of the ball games under an agreement with the Cubs that goes back years. They have threatened to sue if the renovations obstruct their view, which they claim would drive them out of business.</p><p>On Monday, a spokesman for the rooftop owners said the group would have a statement later, but in the meantime referred the AP to the group&#39;s statement released earlier this month that says: &quot;Any construction that interrupts the rooftop views will effectually drive them out of business and be challenged in a court of law.&quot;</p><p>The Cubs said the video screen they are proposing to build is 6,000 square feet, and would be built with &quot;minimal impact on rooftops with whom (the) Cubs have an agreement.&quot; The current centerfield scoreboard is slightly more than 2,000 square feet; the Cubs also have plans to add a left-field sign of 1,000 square feet.</p><p>&quot;Rooftop views are largely preserved,&quot; the team said in its announcement. &quot;The Cubs have agreed to install only two signs in the outfield &mdash; a videoboard in left field and a sign in right field. This is far less than our original desire for seven signs to help offset the cost of ballpark restoration.&quot;</p><p>The signs offer the team a chance to reach new advertising deals and pay for the overhaul, even if it might change the character of the historic park. The city and club said they hope the agreement would allow the Cubs to obtain necessary city approvals for the work by the end of the current season.</p><p>The Ricketts family, which bought the Cubs in 2009 for $845 million, initially sought tax funding for renovation plans. With that out in the new agreement, the owners will seek to open new revenue streams outside the stadium. Under the agreement, the Ricketts family would be allowed to build a 175-room hotel, a plaza, and an office building with retail space and a health club, and provide 1,000 &quot;remote&quot; parking spots that will be free and come with shuttle service.</p><p>&quot;We are anxious to work with our community as we seek the approvals required to move the project forward,&quot; Ricketts said in the statement.</p><p>The site of Babe Ruth&#39;s &quot;called shot&quot; home run in the 1932 World Series and more heartbreak than Cubs fans would like to remember, Wrigley Field is younger only than Boston&#39;s Fenway Park in the majors. It has long been a treasured showplace for baseball purists &mdash; night games were only added in 1988 &mdash; but team officials for years have desperately wanted a true upgrade, saying it costs as much as $15 million a year just to keep up with basic repairs.</p><p>The ballpark has also played no small part in the lore of the team, as fans were reminded April 10 when someone delivered a goat&#39;s head in a box addressed to Ricketts. Neither the team nor the Chicago Police Department have talked about a possible motive for the strange delivery, but as every fan knows it was in the 1945 World Series when a tavern owner arrived at the park with his pet goat &mdash; which had a ticket.</p><p>According to legend, the owner was told the goat smelled and was denied entry. The angry tavern owner then put the &quot;Curse of the Billy Goat&quot; on the Cubs &mdash; and the team has not been back to the World Series since. The last World Series championship for the Cubs came in 1908 &mdash; six years before Wrigley was built.</p><p>After failing to reach an agreement when Mayor Richard Daley was in office, the Ricketts family kept talking after Emanuel took office in 2011. But even presidential politics presented an obstacle for the plans at one point.</p><p>During the 2012 election, the patriarch of the Ricketts family, which created the TD Ameritrade brokerage firm, was considering a $10 million campaign against Obama that would refer to the racially incendiary sermons delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright at a Chicago church the president once attended. J. Joseph Ricketts dropped the proposal, but the episode brought a huge dose of unwanted bad press and angered Emanuel, Obama&#39;s former White House chief of staff.</p><p>In recent weeks, fans also had to deal with the unlikely specter of the Cubs leaving Chicago. With the talks bogged down, the mayor of nearby Rosemont piped up, saying the village located near O&#39;Hare International Airport would be willing to let the Cubs have 25 acres free of charge to build a replica of Wrigley Field.</p></p> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-cubs-push-500-million-wrigley-renovation-106643 Goat's head delivered to Wrigley Field http://www.wbez.org/news/goats-head-delivered-wrigley-field-106598 <p><p>Police are investigating the strange delivery of a goat&rsquo;s head to Wrigley Field.</p><p dir="ltr">Usually when people talk about goats and the Chicago Cubs, they tell the story of the &quot;<a href="http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/curse/">Billy Goat Curse</a>.&quot; The scene is the 1945 World Series, Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit Tigers. The owner of the Billy Goat Tavern wanted to attend game four with his beloved pet goat. But when Cubs officials wouldn&rsquo;t let the goat in, he cursed the Cubs, saying they&#39;d never win another World Series. Thus began a decades-long championship drought.</p><p dir="ltr">This time around the goat in question was dead, and its head was&nbsp;packed in a box addressed to team chairman Tom Ricketts. Ricketts is currently locked in contentious negotiations with city officials and neighborhood businesses about a $300 million dollar renovation of Wrigley Field.</p><p dir="ltr">A police spokeswoman says officers responded at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to a call about an &ldquo;intimidating package.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The investigation about the goat&rsquo;s head is ongoing.</p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 07:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/goats-head-delivered-wrigley-field-106598 Wrigley Opening Day http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/wrigley-opening-day-2013-106552 <p><p><object height="300" width="400"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2F&amp;set_id=72157633196220259&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2F&amp;set_id=72157633196220259&amp;jump_to=" height="300" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/takimoff" rel="author">Tim Akimoff</a> is the digital content editor at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff"> Twitter </a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/timakimoff"> Facebook </a></p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 19:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/wrigley-opening-day-2013-106552 Ricketts: Wrigley talks 'going in right direction' http://www.wbez.org/news/ricketts-wrigley-talks-going-right-direction-106545 <p><p>It is 105 years and counting since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series and few expect the drought to end this season.</p><p>At least their longtime home appears headed for a major upgrade.</p><p>The team and the city appear to be close to announcing a long-awaited $500 million renovation project for Wrigley Field that.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s going in the right direction,&quot; Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Monday before the first game of the season at the 99-year-old neighborhood ballpark. &quot;I think we&#39;ve worked through a lot of issues over the weekend. I&#39;ll just leave it at that.&quot;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, whose district includes Wrigley Field, were sitting in the front row next to the Cubs&#39; dugout for the home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. The duo would be a prominent part of any agreement, and Ricketts came down to talk to them early in the game.</p><p>The Cubs have desperately wanted to update Wrigley for a while, saying it spends as much as $15 million a year just to keep up with the repairs. Wrigley is the second oldest in the major leagues behind only Boston&#39;s Fenway Park.</p><p>The Ricketts family bought the Cubs in 2009 for $845 million and has made updating Wrigley a priority.</p><p>&quot;I think we&#39;re moving forward,&quot; Tom Ricketts said. &quot;We&#39;re committed to getting something done with the city. The mayor&#39;s been terrific. The alderman&#39;s been very productive. Hopefully this is the beginning of the process to get something done. Just got to keep working through.&quot;</p><p>The deal was expected to be completed by Monday, but Ricketts declined to provide another timeframe for a finished agreement. The Ricketts family had set a deadline of April 1, but that one came and went and the sides kept talking.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re just working through the process,&quot; Ricketts said. &quot;There&#39;s going to public hearings that have to go forward. We just have to start making sure that we check all the boxes that one needs to get a major development done in Chicago.&quot;</p><p>The plan is expected to include approximately $300 million in renovations to Wrigley, more night games and a $200 million hotel. Ricketts said most of the proposed changes to the ballpark are &quot;non-revenue generating.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I think our highest priority, honestly, is a clubhouse. ... It&#39;s way below standard,&quot; he said. &quot;And one of the things that I&#39;ve said since we got here, if we want to have a first-class organization we can&#39;t have second-rate facilities.&quot;</p><p>The plan is also expected to include a video scoreboard inside the park in left field and another sign in right field. The size of the scoreboard had been an issue, since some owners of nearby buildings have a contract with the team governing their rooftop views of the games and have threatened to sue if the renovation does anything to hurt their business.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a really awkward contract,&quot; Ricketts said. &quot;I don&#39;t know if anyone&#39;s ever looked at it. But I think we&#39;ll be OK there.&quot;</p><p>Ricketts has said he&#39;d be willing to pay for the entire project if the city would agree to additional night games and the signs. The Cubs also are expected to build a 300-space parking garage on the site of a gravel lot at a nearby cemetery; neighbors have long complained about a lack of parking on game days.</p><p>&quot;Honestly, we haven&#39;t had public hearings on that and so I&#39;m not sure exactly what all the objections are,&quot; Ricketts said. &quot;But we&#39;re sensitive to things that affect the neighbors. We want to be responsive to issues that the neighbors have. I think we have some ideas on parking that will work, but once again, we&#39;re just working through it.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 15:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ricketts-wrigley-talks-going-right-direction-106545