PITTSBURGH – Theo Epstein believes it's time for the Cubs to start moving in the right direction, but said Monday that part of that process involves making improvements to Wrigley Field.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts had imposed an April 1 deadline for a deal to be in place. Ricketts did not travel to Pittsburgh with the team, electing to stay in Chicago to try and work out a deal. The five-year renovation plan would begin following this season with the remodeling of the home clubhouse.
Ricketts has said he he is willing to invest $500 million into renovating the historic ballpark. The Cubs have asked the city to ease up on the restraints currently in place because of Wrigley's designation as a landmark. The Cubs are looking to include more advertising at the park.
Asked what would happen if today's deadline passes, Epstein declined to comment without talking to the principals involved. Epstein said he talks with Ricketts and Cubs business president Crane Kenney a couple of times a week. He's not, however, on the "front lines" of the discussions between the Cubs and the rooftop owners.
But Epstein said in order for the Cubs – who are coming off last year's 101-loss season – to change the culture of what's been a traditionally losing ballclub – it has to start at home.
"I think it's fundamentally important to get to the next level as an organization," Epstein said this morning. "We have a baseball plan and we have a business plan, and they’re timed to sync up with one another, they’re inter-dependant.
“If we don’t get our Wrigley renovation done in a timely manner and done the right way, then we can’t accomplish our business objectives and that will certainly get in the way of us ultimately accomplishing our baseball objectives, so it’s very important.”