Notes: Cubs’ concessioners, Manfred on Royals’ ballpark, Angels’ land deal

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The Cubs and White Sox might split the attention and allegiances of Chicago’s people, but UNITE HERE Local 1 workers at their two home parks are united in their labor. Concessions from Guaranteed Rate Field showed up at Wrigley on August 15 to show support for their crosstown cousins, who are currently negotiating a new contract with the concessionaire, Levy: the bargaining process has been going on for a year now, meaning Wrigley’s concessioners have been working without a new contract this whole time.

And that matters, too, since, as this piece at FOX 32 Chicago tells it, there’s a $5 gap between what entry-level workers make at Guaranteed Rate Field compared to Wrigley: the difference is because the White Sox’ concessioners recently reached a new contract with their concessionaire, Delaware North.

Levy responded to FOX 32’s inquiry with this statement:

“We have been at the table bargaining in good faith with the Union for over a year, discussing what our team members shared was important to them, which includes wages, expanded healthcare, and enhanced benefits.”

It’s of course difficult to believe that this is entirely true, given that they’ve been doing this for a year now. Bargaining isn’t supposed to take this long, unless someone isn’t playing nice, and you can guess who that someone would be in a situation like this, with the pay the way it currently is. As of now, concessioners at Guaranteed Rate Field make at least $20 per hour, have a pension, and access to expanded healthcare. Those at Wrigley? None of the above. Simply saying that you’re “discussing” those things with the workers isn’t the same thing as agreeing to implement them; hence the year of negotiating in the first place.


Rob Manfred is now speaking publicly on the Royals’ stadium search, so you know things are about to get serious in Kansas City. He of course didn’t say anything new or exciting, but instead what you’d expect as the Royals head towards their demand for more public money than anyone else has ever received for a stadium:

“This is a tremendous opportunity for this community — forget the Royals,” Manfred said. “Either of these sites are outstanding sites for a new ballpark. Either present the opportunity for entertainment district development around the ballpark.

“I think in our economic system, new facilities provide a ballclub with an opportunity for revenue generation that simply doesn’t exist in older footprints. At some point — great ballpark here, but having said that, it is an older ballpark that does not have the kind of premier revenue-generating opportunities that you get in a new facility for a market this size.”

Again, if ballparks were the giant revenue streams for all involved that teams and executives claim they were, then they’d find a way to pay for them entirely on their own in order to hoard those profits. The thing that makes the stadiums the level of profitable they are is that teams avoid spending as much of their money as possible on them, which makes it easier to get the credit they need to finance their end of the deal — credit with interest rates so low that you and I simply cannot fathom having loans that work that way. And adding all of these real estate deals into the mix makes it so that it’s the teams making money off the rest of the development, not the cities and counties and states financing the things.


Ex-Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu is expected to plead guilty on corruption charges, related to the Angels’ stadium site he was working on securing for the club. That wording was intentional, too, as Sidhu was clearly on the team’s, rather than the city’s, side in these negotiations. And that was the problem!

You might recall that, last May, the FBI had involved itself in the Angels’ stadium deal. As I wrote at the time:

And now we see that Sidhu was not only working to get the Angels that kind of traditionally shady deal on said land, but was also willing to have the city of Anaheim eat a $96 million fine to make it happen — and, given the evidence the FBI has and is investigating further, it was all so Sidhu could get the Angels to contribute $1 million to his reelection campaign. A good way to quietly get $1 million you shouldn’t have is to very publicly work toward a sweetheart deal for a billionaire-owned sports team that’s been trying to get said deal for a decade, and then do so in a way that a nearly $100 million fine would be stacked on top of it. That surely won’t draw anyone’s attention, especially not that of the attorney general’s office.

Truly incredible stuff. The deal violated California’s affordable housing law, which is scummy enough on its own, but then Sidhu committed Anaheim to not only losing money they would have received had they opened up bidding on the land rather than working so closely with the Angels, but threw an extra $96 million in lost city funds on top of that to make it work. And all for a reelection campaign contribution.

I repeat myself: All of this for a $1 million campaign contribution! Costing the city of Anaheim, that he was mayor of, nearly $100 million they didn’t need to spend, on top of violating an affordable housing law, on top of just giving the Angels a sweetheart deal on the land. So he could get a campaign donation from Arte Moreno. Incredible stuff, and the paper trail is so long and visible that he had to plead guilty to all of it.

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