Tom Ricketts Addresses Theo Epstein Rumors, Remains Mostly Mum

As noted on the BN Message Board yesterday, Tom Ricketts was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto last night. Ricketts got top billing as the first guest, but he was on for only about three or four minutes. As I expected, there was nothing groundbreaking revealed in the interview, but he did touch on some interesting topics.

Ricketts dodged Cavuto’s question about GM candidates (Cavuto named Theo Epstein specifically), and even Ricketts’ demeanor betrayed none of the secrets rattling around in his head. One interesting thing he did say on the subject: Ricketts went out of his way to say that the team was going to get “some new leadership on the baseball side.” (emphasis added) Was he trying to dispel rumors that the Cubs would soon also be changing leadership on the business side by dumping Crane Kenney?

In any event, Ricketts sounded positive about the direction of the search, and is confident that the organization will end up with the right fit.

Ricketts was also upbeat when asked about the economy, in general. He recognized the struggles, but said, “I think the economy will come back.” In fact, he went so far as to say he was “optimistic, like this city is.” Why do I point that out?

Ricketts has a dog in the economic fight, vis a vis the city of Chicago. Namely: public dollars for a Wrigley Field renovation. If the economy stays in the crapper, Ricketts knows his public relations battle stays incredibly difficult. If, however, he can do his part to raise confidence, and call upon the good graces of the “optimistic” people of Chicago, perhaps he can get the renovation underway sooner, rather than later. I found his comments to be both subtle and savvy.

The interview wrapped up with a discussion of the playoffs, with Cavuto trying to bait Ricketts into discussing the Cubs’ financial advantage over teams with smaller payrolls. Ricketts deftly responded, and scored points in process.

“Teams with a little bit more financial resources are more consistent in getting to the playoffs,” Ricketts conceded, but explained that the playoffs are a crapshoot from there. That’s a belief that I’ve held for many years, and the failure to appreciate the fact spelled doom for a least a couple Cubs’ offseasons in recent years. (To wit: Jim Hendry’s obsession with “getting more left-handed” after the Cubs were swept in the 2008 playoffs with a mostly right-handed lineup.)

Finally, as a good Cubs fan, Ricketts says he doesn’t root for anyone in the playoffs when the Cubs aren’t there. Indeed, he says he has trouble watching.

As usual, I found Ricketts to be in impressive speaker. I simply like the way he handles himself – even when he avoids questions, it feels like he’s being more candid than he’d prefer to be. I like that. It builds trust.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

18 responses to “Tom Ricketts Addresses Theo Epstein Rumors, Remains Mostly Mum”

  1. Toosh

    “Teams with a little bit more financial resources are more consistent in getting to the playoffs”. Sometimes one plus one doesn’t equal two.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Except if your cubs then 1+1=0

  2. die hard

    Why give Fox an intvw?…is Mr. Ricketts a tea party Republican?….losing that warm and fuzzy feeling

    1. TWC

      He’s more of an establishment Republican than a Tea Party guy, fwiw.

      1. Internet Random

        fwiw

        … not much.

      2. Wilbur

        Political party affiliations and social/fiscal public policy leanings aside I am repeatedly impressed by the comments Ricketts makes.

        All through the Wrigley years, the Tribune years, and the Zell bubble there was either incompetence, indifference or mismanagement at the Executive end of the franchise. The curse was not a goat (sorry we keep bringing that issue up for our bovidae fans), the curse was bad management, which consistently put mediocre talent on the field.

        You now have a thoughtful, goal driven executive who is aligning the entire organization to consistently put the Cubs in the playoffs and the more times you’re there the better the chance to win it all. The signings that do or don’t happen any one season are the last step in building a consistent champion. The consistent management of all the disparate parts of the organization to one strategic goal (make the playoffs) relies on patience, focus, and accountability.

    2. Steve

      Because Fox Business doesn’t have a political agenda.

  3. die hard

    looking for GM clues like looking for a bottom in stock market…wont know its here until too late

  4. Deez

    I do not live in the Chi nor do I have a dog in that fight but I would definitely be against public funds to renovate Wrigley & enhance the value of the Cubs.
    If you have $1B (or so) to buy the Cubs, you should have purchased them w/ a plan & capital other than public funds to update & renovate the field.
    I can’t quite remember, but doesn’t the City or State own a portion of Wrigley?

  5. Dumpman

    I wont touch on politics, because I dont want to lose my dump, but overall I’m really impressed with Ricketts as an owner. Can’t say enough about him so far. One example was how they managed to keep a fire as big as hendry’s for a month or so. I love that hes here and hes really the type of owner I can get behind; but not underneath. The dude should play poker because he literally gives nothing away at all. I mean all we literally have is speculation on the next GM. You see tons of tidbits in the paper on the Sox side.. NONE at all on the Cubs side. Its really astonishing when you think about it.