Cubs’ success all the better when not on your dime

SHARE Cubs’ success all the better when not on your dime

general view of Wrigley Field during the National Anthem before the home opener between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds on April 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Follow @csteditorials

How about those Cubs?

Not the team, which is doing great, but the ballpark. Wrigley Field is looking pretty terrific, too, and its costly restoration and renovation — somewhat miraculously — is not being done on your dime.

This is how free enterprise is supposed to work. A business puts its own money on the line, assumes the risks and reaps the potential rewards.

But Chicago, like most big cities, has had a bad habit of throwing tax breaks and tax dollars at sports arenas that mostly benefit private enterprise. We’re thinking of Soldier Field, U.S. Cellular Field and the upcoming DePaul basketball arena.

For five years, two successive owners of the Chicago Cubs tried to finagle a similar deal for Wrigley. They wanted you, the taxpayer, to subsidize Wrigley’s overdue overhaul.

But common sense, for once, prevailed.


Follow @csteditorials

Why, we asked in a string of editorials, should Chicago taxpayers fork over a single dollar to help one of the most financially successful teams in professional sports?

It’s not as if the Cubs would be dumb enough to forsake Wrigley Field or let it go to ruin. Half the secret of the Cubs’ popularity during all those years when the team was terrible was the charm of the old ballpark.

Fortunately, the Cubs’ current owners, the Ricketts family, quit asking for a taxpayer handout. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had made it clear that would never happen — good for him — and maybe the Ricketts got tired of being hypocrites. Joe Ricketts, the family patriarch, is a big conservative who preaches the virtues of the free market. Now, finally, the Ricketts are walking the talk.

The downside for Cubs fans has been higher prices for everything. Two hot dogs will set you back $11.50. Two beers cost $15.50., a personal finance website, recently ranked Wrigley the second-most-expensive ballpark in the United States.

But if the Cubs keep playing the way they have, nobody will much complain.

There’s a lesson here: Chicago should believe in itself more. Subsidies to private businesses should be pinched and rare. Sell the city’s many virtues and stop selling out the taxpayer.

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @csteditorials

Tweets by @CSTeditorials

The Latest
Imanaga is a rookie, but he’s also 30. One would think it might not tickle his funny bone to see the Cubs in last place at the All-Star break.
The WNBA trade deadline is Aug. 20, five days after the Sky return to play following the Olympic break.
The 30-year-old Wheeling High School grad founded Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting conservative values on high school and college campuses.
The Sox are the owners of the worst won-lost record in the game. At their current pace, they’re on track to finish 45-117. If they pick up their pace of losing just a bit, they might break the 1962 Mets’ record for the most defeats in the history of modern baseball.