A capacity crowd is expected tonight when the Chicago Cubs begin play in the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field, the first step in a journey that long-suffering Cubs fans hope results in a World Series title.
Among the fans in the stands will be members of the Chicago City Council, which gave the green light to the Cubs three years ago to rebuild Wrigley Field and develop the land around it. Earlier this year, the Cubs also won a limited right to sell beer and wine on an open-air plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field.
Perhaps as a thank-you perk, the Cubs offered all 50 aldermen and state lawmakers who represent Chicago districts the right to purchase two terrace reserved or upper deck tickets for each home playoff game at Wrigley Field at face value, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Now here’s the catch: Following a ruling by the Chicago Board of Ethics — which questioned the Cubs’ ticket offer as an apparent conflict of interest — the politicians who attend the playoff games must accompany their guests and be publicly announced to the crowd, or risk violating the city’s ethics ordinance, the Sun-Times reported.
Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the newspaper the team plans to “support the Board of Ethics opinion by displaying the names of aldermen in attendance on the video board throughout the playoffs.” Green added the Cubs asked the ethics board for its opinion before making the ticket offer.
More than 70 percent of Chicago City Council members and 85 percent of state lawmakers have taken the Cubs’ offer, the Sun-Times reported. So, too, have Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.