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Cubs Could Do Better Than Being in Chicago

I’m not much of a baseball fan, unlike like my son, Aaron. For that matter, I really don’t like sports at all.

Aaron can tell you the names of all the major players, explain whose autographs are the most valuable and recite statistics for the top players. He learned that from hanging out with the fine folks at the Baseball Card King in Oak Lawn.

He actually spends a lot of time watching MLB highlights every day while I watch reruns of ÒKing of Queens” and even ÒLeave it to Beaver,” the operating manual for Baby Boomer families.

But I do know one thing. Going to a Cubs game sucks. It takes forever to drive there. There’s barely enough parking. The ballpark is squeezed in. The food is just OK, and the team is always dependent on taxpayer subsidies and incentives.

In the end, as a taxpayer, I pay too much for a ticket to sit too far from the action, and some of my tax dollars end up covering sports events in this city.

I don’t like it. But then, like most smart people, I don’t live in Chicago anymore, bailing out long ago for a better life in the suburbs.

The problem is, while most fled Chicago, the sports teams are still stuck there.

Bridgeview made a fantastic move to build a sports stadium for soccer that features the Chicago Fire. Forget about the naysayers in the news media. In a good economy that stadium will be a gold mine for taxpayers and is a boon for the Southwest Suburbs, which have long been ignored.

So what’s keeping the Cubs in Chicago?

They haven’t won a World Series in more than 104 years. You don’t have to know anything about baseball to know the Cubs have a major problem.

I think it’s their stadium.

One of my clients, the Town of Cicero, and another suburb I have nothing to do with, Rosemont, have both suggested the Cubs move by them. I’m partial to Cicero, of course. But the whole thing got me thinking.

A new stadium in the suburbs would break the headlock that prevents the Cubs from generating more advertising revenue, and allow the team to focus more on improving the performance of the players than constantly haggling every season with the rooftop owners and Chicago politicians.

They could have more night games in the suburbs. There would be more parking. There would be more seating. And that would mean more attendance and greater revenues for the team.

The ballplayers could focus on being better players rather than politicians. And it’s true, a World Series victory would do wonders not just for the suburb that hosts the Cubs but for the entire region.

In other words, being in Wrigley Field is a downer. The Cubs losing every year drags everyone down, including me in my little suburban hamlet in Orland Park.

Everyone says the Ricketts family would never relocate the Cubs. If this were 1909, I wouldn’t blame them. But it’s 104 years later.

Maybe relocating the Cubs to a new modernized stadium that puts the fans and the players as the top of the priority list might be exactly what they need to change their luck.

As for the goat? Well, order some rice, some spices and we can enjoy a nice Middle Eastern meal.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media consultant. You may reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RayHanania.)

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