Chicago's Lawmakers Are Just Gonna Have to Eat Shit at the Playoffs
This is it, Chicago. Tonight, your Cubs face off against the Giants in the opener of the five-game Division Series that decides whether or not they go all the way to win their first World Series in 108 years. I am excited as hell for you, Chicago, because I am a New Yorker whose Mets remembered they were the Mets on Wednesday and lost to the Giants, but I am far more excited because waiting 108 years for your day of wine and roses will only make its arrival all the sweeter.
I am also excited for you to boo the crap out your local politicians at every game at Wrigley Field. That will be wonderful.
Back up -- when and how is Chicago going to boo its politicians at Wrigley Field?
Earlier this week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that 50 aldermen and state lawmakers had been offered primo playoff seating -- "two terrace reserved or upper deck tickets for each home playoff game at Wrigley Field at face value."
This is a nice perk given the playoffs' potentially historical importance for Chicago, and it comes with a baked-in conflict of interest. As Fran Spielman at the Chicago Sun-Times reports, lawmakers approve much of the goings-on at Wrigley, from construction, to alcohol permits, to public health oversight.
Moreover, to sell lawmakers tickets at face value is an especially lucrative perk in Chicago. The most expensive ticket for this weekend's games at Wrigley is $210. Marketwatch pointed out that loyal fans have already shelled out as much as $920 for a single playoff ticket.
To the Chicago ethics board, this is all a bad look.
“It could be construed as a prohibited gift to the city official if they are not announced or if they give away or resell all tickets they purchased at this special price,” wrote Steve Berlin, executive director of the Chicago Board of Ethics. Importantly, the offer itself is not illegal, but could, in Berlin's words, "create the appearance of impropriety."
If elected officials and city employees attend the game, he said, they must do so “in his or her official capacity -- not as a private Cub fan” -- and take the inevitable booing.
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said 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.”
To their credit, some of the lawmakers really don't give a shit.
This is Northwest Side Alderman Anthony Napolitano's take, per the Sun-Times:
“Boo me as much you want. I’ve got thick skin. I’ve got firehouse skin. I won’t hear anything I haven’t heard at the firehouse. If people boo you, oh well. You know what I’ll do? I’ll get up and put my big-boy pants on in the morning and I won’t lose any sleep about being booed,” said Napolitano, a former Chicago firefighter.
Keep your heart, big boy. Keep your heart.