Home field advantage for elected officials

October 20, 2015
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Chicago Cubs fans are getting a rare treat: a chance to see their team play in Major League Baseball’s playoffs.

But if you think that’s big news for average fans, you might be surprised to find out what kind of a deal City Council members are getting.

All 50 City Council members and some state lawmakers are being offered the chance to purchase two tickets per home game in the terrace reserved section at face value.

The current price for the National League Championship Series is between $116 and $156 for the same seats, according to a report by Crain’s.

If you’re not an alderman and would still like to go to the games Tuesday and Wednesday night, those same seats might run you anywhere from $652 to $876, according tot the same article.

Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) took advantage of the opportunity to see the Cubs clinch the National League Division Series against arch-rival St. Louis Oct. 13. She paid $65 each for those tickets.

Mitts, who brought her nephew to the game, said she enjoyed the excitement of being at a post season game at Wrigley Field, saying she “really got to get the feel of the chemistry” of the team and its fans.

Mitts said she has no plans to attend this week’s games but will purchase tickets anyway to give to friends and family or staffers.

The move by the Cubs organization has sparked some criticism as a way for the team to curry favor with a city council that has done battle with the team in the past over ballpark signs and additions outside of the stadium.

According to a Sun-Times article, the promotion is a “courtesy” to Chicago politicians.

“These are not free tickets. This is not an effort to curry favor. Every public official who attends will have paid for their tickets,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the Sun-Times.

“There were no promises made in 2013 that, if we made it to the playoffs, that you’d have an opportunity to purchase tickets,” he said. “No one was making offers two years down the road. But, any time you have a sports team going to the playoffs — no matter what city you live in — it’s common courtesy to offer [local politicians] tickets for purchase.”

Green also told the Sun-Times that two-thirds of the city’s aldermen had accepted the offer for the tickets.

The Cubs did not return a request for comment to AustinTalks.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) also did not return requests for comment, but a post Oct. 12 on Ervin’s Facebook page shows he had a pretty good view of the game.

The Cubs find themselves down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series to the New York Mets heading into Tuesday night’s game. But with the next three games at home, an optimistic fan could hope to see the Cubs with a 3-2 games advantage heading back to New York on Oct. 24 and 25.

The Cubs have not been to a World Series since 1945, where they lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games. The Cubs haven’t won it all since 1908, when they beat the same Tigers in 5 games.

The 106 -year-drought between championships is the longest in all of professional sports. But, hey, who’s counting?

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