The Cubs are waiting for the puff of white smoke to come from City Hall, bless the Wrigley Field renovation deal and transform them back into a big-market team again.

Chairman Tom Ricketts and president of business operations Crane Kenney had set Opening Day as the deadline to reach an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the 44th Ward, preserving the building season that would begin in October.

The Cubs say they need lead time to order materials and set their plans in motion. Ricketts won’t green light the $300 million project until all the details are finalized. With the team expecting a new clubhouse, training facilities and player amenities ready by 2014, is this a true hard deadline?

“That’s my understanding,” said president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. “They’re working hard on it as we speak. Parallel fronts, I guess.”

Epstein laughed at one of his own buzzwords while standing outside the visiting clubhouse, surrounded by cameras and microphones before Monday’s 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. But there’s definitely a sense of urgency in his department.