By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) MLB commissioner Bud Selig threw the whole weight of his office behind the Ricketts family in their quest to have Wrigley Field renovated without interference from outside forces.
Selig — at Wrigley Field on Wednesday to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the fabled ballpark — was candid in his views of allowing Cubs ownership to move forward with the long overdue rehabbing of the old ballpark. Right now, a dispute with rooftop owners is delaying it.
“I will do whatever I can do and what is legally possible,” Selig said. “That is how strongly I feel about preserving Wrigley Field.”
Having attended his first game at Wrigley 70 years ago, Selig has an affinity for the history of the ballpark. He also has a keen business interest in helping a big market team like the Cubs stay vibrant. Selig said negative forces outside the walls of Wrigley were standing in the way of the Cubs renovation project.
“I give the Ricketts (family) a lot of credit,” he said. “I am not saying this because I am commissioner. They know the right thing to do for this franchise and this sport is to preserve this like the Red Sox preserved Fenway.”
The sport’s top baseball executive was adamant about the preservation of Wrigley and the Cubs’ right to preserve a cathedral of baseball.
“I am disappointed,” Selig said. “I think it is unfair and unfairly criticized in so many ways that I could stand here all afternoon and tell you. They are trying to preserve something that is now 100 years old. They are spending a lot of money. No doubt if they wanted to go somewhere else they could of made a better economic deal. They will not move. They will fight their way through this. I will try to do everything I can.”
Selig can’t do much about an iron-clad contract between the Cubs and rooftop owners except to add his support and put some external pressure on the city and state to use their influence to get a new agreement done.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.