Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once slammed the door on public stadium funding for the Cubs over anti-Obama attack ad plans by Ricketts family members, lauded the work the Cubs’ family ownership has done in the city and with the team since that flap during the 2012 election cycle.
Emanuel, a friend and former chief of staff for President Obama, even laughed off the latest political machinations of conservative family patriarch Joe Ricketts and son Todd Ricketts involving millions in financial support for presidential candidate Donald Trump – after the family spent millions against Trump, prompting Twitter attacks from Trump.
“I’ve got two brothers, OK? Family,” Emanuel said before taking in Game 4 of the Cubs’ first World Series since 1945. “What do you want – I’m supposed to say something about [team chairman] Tom [Ricketts]? It’s family. I have to be responsible for everything Ari says or Zeke says? That’s family! All right?”
Emanuel appears to have built a strong relationship with the Cubs and Tom Ricketts.
“The Rickettses have been great neighbors to the city of Chicago,” he said. “They sponsored our first-ever, citywide Little League for 32 teams, with the White Sox. When the Jackie Robinson team was going, I said, `I want you guys to help me on funding so the whole city could participate.’ Boom.”
Emanuel rattled off several other civic investments by the family, including parks and playgrounds and extra security around the ballpark.
“They wanted to get screens up. I said, `Fine. I’m not going to give you any taxpayer money, but this is your field,’ “ he said. “And they’ve been great investors in the city. And they’ve done exactly what I needed them to do. As Tom said, we’ve helped them enhance the experience at Wrigley. That’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s a partnership.
“And the city’s benefitting from a very vibrant stadium, a very vibrant field, a very vibrant family that’s invested in improving not just the area around them, but improving the entire city of Chicago.”
Notes: Slumping Jason Heyward made his first start since Game 5 of the NLCS because manager Joe Maddon wanted to “emphasize the outfield defense” with John Lackey pitching. Heyward delivered his first multi-hit game in more than a month. … Maddon defended Jorge Soler on his seventh-inning triple to right Friday that critics said should have been an inside-the-park home run. Maddon said even he thought the ball was headed into the seats when it was first hit, and Soler would not have had more than three bases no matter how fast he got out of the box. … The bases-loaded double play Justin Grimm induced from Francisco Lindor to end Friday night’s fifth inning was the first double play the Cubs reliever got all year.