Weekly Review 6/7/13

We live in a world where pro sports team owners get what they want from local governments.  If they don’t get it up front (e.g. White Sox new stadium) they get it on the back end (e.g. United Center tax break).  The Cubs tried and failed to get money from the state for their Wrigley Field renovation.  Now they are using the fact that they’re paying for the renovation as reason the city and Lakeview neighborhood residents and business owners should make all sorts of concessions so the Cubs can make more money.\n\nThis week the slow trudge toward more profitability and power for Tom Ricketts and the Cubs in Lakeview—which I suspect will end with a significant annual tax break on Wrigley Field and Ricketts’ surrounding properties—began in City Hall room 201A in front of members of the Chicago City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection.\n\nIn case you don’t know, viagra buy pilule to protect the sanity of neighborhood residents and the economic viability of other businesses, viagra recipe there is a city ordinance outlining the number of night games the Cubs are allowed to play in Lakeview.  In connection with the renovation plan, physician I guess the Cubs asked for more night games because, well because, and the mayor said “ok I’ll give you 50% more” because, well because.  What takes place now is the ceremonial rubber stamping from the City Council (which in theory holds the power to decide these things).\n\nIt begins in committee, where the proposed amendment to increase the number of night games in Lakeview from 30 to 46 was approved, clearing the way for a full City Council vote later.  My crystal ball says the amendment will pass there too.\n\nBut the Cubs weren’t satisfied, mostly because of last minute tweaks that require the Cubs to pay security and sanitation costs for night time events at Wrigley Field, and institute a cap on Saturday night games and some city control over the scheduling of additional night games during the season.\n\nA number of Lakeview residents and business owners pleaded their case to the Committee, which chided them for their dissent and sent them away to rot in medieval dungeons! (Not really)\n\nFor me, the most entertaining part of the proceedings according to the media was that the Cubs actually cited 9,142 signatures from their WrigleyField.Com online petition (discussed in a recent CSS post) as evidence of support for their development plan.  Well, Danny Ecker reports that about 7,500 of those signatures are Illinois residents and a mere 1,800 of those live somewhere in Chicago.  These sound like real community stakeholders.\n\nI think Mark Church, who lives down the street from Wrigley Field, put it best (here’s the link to the Sun Times article again):\n\n“Look at how it affects people who live closest to the ballpark. . . . Having a [Cubs] website asking Cubs fans, ‘Do you think it would be better to have more night games’ is like asking kids at Great America, ‘Would you like more roller coasters?’ ”\n\nI’ll include the link to the Tribune article on the night games business too, only because there are some great photos of Wrigley Field and surrounding neighborhood past and present.  When Ricketts gets his way, these will serve as evidence of what Wrigley Field and its backdrop used to look like.\n

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\nI’m a fan of performance enhancing drugs in sports.  Well, I didn’t like the anabolic steroid craze in baseball (sixty or seventy home runs in a season is a little excessive) and I’m glad they’re now testing for whatever turned Mark McGwire into the Incredible Hulk.  But in general, I like that players on the teams that I root for are taking supplements that enhance their training, help them recover from injury faster, and make their bodies more durable.  And I understand their desire to use PEDs for these reasons.  Especially since there is sound evidence to back the claim that—when properly monitored and obtained from credible sources—performance enhancing drugs are safe to use.\n\nThe system of nailing a few athletes for their connection with PEDs every once in a while—taking a “war on drugs” approach and pretending like we’re not all at fault for perpetuating the “Bigger Stronger Faster” ideal—is misguided and unjust.  So in the midst of MLB’s dirty business with Tony Bosch and Biogenesis this week, I’m with Dave Zirin: \”Steroids and all PEDs need to be seen as an issue of public health, not crime and punishment.\”\n\nWhether you agree or not, hopefully you concur that the issue is not as simple as good guys busting bad guys.  It’s messy, as evidenced by this kind-of-meaningfully-meandering Deadspin post.\n

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\nEnlightened DePaul University students and professors came out against the new DePaul arena project, which will be funded by the public and the university.  Read about it here, here, and here.\n

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\nThat’s it!  I didn’t come across anything lighter or funny that didn’t make me stupider this week.  If you did, please let me know: Chris at chicagosportandsociety@gmail.com.\n\n 

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