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Editorial: Need a Cubs ticket? Beg your alderman

Chicago Cubs playoff tickets are hard to come by, but it helps to be a Chicago alderman or state representative. | Getty Images

Can’t afford a ticket to a Cubs playoff game? In the pecking order at City Hall, you must be a nobody.

Tickets for Friday’s game were selling on StubHub for thousands of dollars as of Wednesday, but — as first reported by Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times — the Chicago Cubs have offered two tickets at face value to every alderman, as well as to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

A majority of the aldermen and the governor, who we know struggles to make ends meet, have accepted the tickets.

EDITORIAL

This is a small — very small — but obnoxious example of how the wheel is greased in Chicago. You don’t even have to be a Cubs fan. You can be a famously fourth-generation White Sox fan, like Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson. To get a couple of tickets, you just have to be somebody the Cubs want to “friend,” Chicago-style.

If nothing else, this amounts to poor form. At least 30 aldermen have accepted the tickets at a time when the Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs, are charging headlong into turning Wrigleyville into Rickettsville, buying up properties all around their iconic ballpark, throwing up a boutique hotel and opening a beer garden. Every move the Ricketts make requires City Hall cooperation at some level — for building permits and zoning variances, extra police patrols, traffic rerouting, bulldozing stuff that stands in the way and on and on.

Heck, the Ricketts would be thrilled if City Hall would just stop listening to the neighbors who hate all this.

Even in Chicago, where history says aldermen are easily bought, we doubt that a couple of tickets buys much clout. And the Ricketts have plenty of clout.

But the conflict of interest is real. And it annoys.

Ask Marty Zak of Skokie, who jumped online to buy tickets when they went on sale but got nowhere.

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I should not be surprised,” Zak wrote in a letter to the Sun-Times. “But I am disgusted at the undeserved privilege, while the little people get screwed by politicians and ticket brokers as usual.”
See you at a sports bar, Marty.
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