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Cubs fire back at rooftop owners’ attempt to halt Wrigley Field renovations

The Chicago Cubs have fired the latest brushback pitch in their duel with the owners of the rooftop businesses near Wrigley Field.

Two of those owners had gone to court last week seeking a temporary order to stop renovation and construction work at the ballpark, saying new planned signs would hurt their business.

On Tuesday, the team called that request “extraordinary and drastic.”

“Plaintiffs admit they knew all about a claimed ‘obstruction’ for two years before construction began. They sat and waited, yet now claim emergency,” Cubs attorneys wrote in one of three motions filed in federal court.

The Cubs also claimed that halting construction for a month to comply with a temporary order would make no difference to the rooftops’ business.

“Plaintiffs put forward zero evidence they will suffer irreparable harm in the interim period before trial,” the Cubs’ attorneys wrote.

The Cubs also claimed a temporary order is not necessary because they are prepared to go to court “right away” to address earlier charges made by the rooftops.

The same rooftop owners in January filed suit seeking a permanent order to halt construction. Their suit also listed a litany of charges against the ball club, including contract violation, violation of anti-trust law, price fixing and defamation.

In their response today, the Cubs addressed those charges, saying they have a right to control their product by buying rooftop clubs and setting ticket prices.

They added that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts — accused of comparing rooftops to a person who sells the right to watch a neighbor’s pay TV through a window — was only expressing an opinion. “Statements of opinion are not actionable as a matter of law,” wrote the Cubs’ attorneys.

As for the team’s contract with the rooftops, Cubs attorneys wrote that it “expressly allows defendants to undertake any expansion of Wrigley Field so long as defendants obtain government approval — which they indisputedly did.”

The rooftop suit had also charged that the Cubs threatened to block views of rooftops refusing to sell to the baseball team. Those claims were not directly addressed by the Cubs’ response.

An attorney for the two rooftops, located at 3627 and 3633 N. Sheffield Ave., did not respond to calls seeking comment.

A spokesman for the Cubs said there would be no comment beyond the court filings.

Contributing: Fran Spielman