By Bruce Levine-
(WSCR) MESA, Ariz. — What turned out to be a perfect day in Mesa for the Cubs and the city fathers in the dedication of Cubs Park, the new $84-million spring training complex, still had the dark shadow of the undeveloped Wrigley Field rehab hanging over it.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was uneasy in answering questions about the unresolved rooftop owner-Cubs snafu that has been an ongoing, two-year soap opera series.
“We are working to a point that we can get started, ” Ricketts said after the ribbon cutting opening of the new ballpark in Mesa. “Everyone is talking, and everyone has incentives to get us to that point. We are optimistic we will get to the finish line on that pretty soon.”
At this point no one is quite sure what Ricketts means by “pretty soon.” The franchise must move ahead with the rehab, but being cautious of lawsuits and work stoppage has the project in limbo for now.
“It is a process, and we just have to play through it,” Ricketts said.
The ship of leverage sailed four years ago when Ricketts, being the nice man and political newcomer he was, didn’t try to muscle the neighborhood and the city when his family initially forked over $876 million for the team. Nobody believes the Cubs will move to a suburban location after Ricketts forked over $26 million for the McDonald’s property and forged a new partnership to build a hotel with the Starwood corporation.
For now, the Cubs will have to be content with an exquisite new spring training facility and a state-of-the-art complex in the Dominican Republic.
“I always say we need three things to be successful: the right players coming in, the right coaches and trainers, but we must have great facilities,” he said. “We have put in a lot of time effort and resources into having the best facilities.
“We are talking (to rooftop owners), we are looking at different ideas. Hopefully, we will have at some point here a solution that works.”
Still, that time can’t be seen through those deep dark legal clouds at this juncture.
Bruce Levine is a baseball reporter/analyst for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.