On the one occasion I had to meet Tom Ricketts, as he did his usual stroll-around-the-ballpark thing, he very much struck me as a guy who had had celebrity thrust upon him, rather than a guy who was craving the attention he received. That is to say, I got the impression that, as wave after wave of fans approached him to get pictures, autographs, and handshakes, Tom was obliging not because he liked the feeling of status. I think he liked the feeling of hanging around with the fans.
Against that backdrop, it was unsurprising to read this bit in Paul Sullivan’s latest article:
He wants to be considered a “steward” of the historic ballpark, not just someone who will sell every nook and cranny for added revenue streams. Associates close to Ricketts say he desperately wants to be considered someone with whom the average fan can relate, not just a rich owner focused on profit margins.
The article is about quite a bit more than that – it’s a general piece about the Cubs’/Ricketts’ plans for the organization coming to fruition – but that’s the paragraph that stuck out to me.
It really underscores, for me, something very, very important that Ricketts has said repeatedly since taking the keys to the Cubs’ kingdom: every dollar in the door is going to be put back into the organization.
So, when I harp on the Cubs’ ability to generate additional revenue – be it in the run-up to the Wrigley Field renovation, or as fruit from the renovation, itself, or any other number of ways the Cubs add additional money – understand that I’m not trying to help line Ricketts’ pocket. I want the Chicago Cubs organization to be the best organization it can be. And, with a trustworthy owner in place who says the dollars in the door go right back into that organization, I can cheer for more dollars.
That is all to say, I suppose, that I like hearing from “associates close to Ricketts” – as opposed to hearing it from only Ricketts, himself – that he doesn’t want to be seen as an owner looking to turn the Cubs into his own personal multi-billion-dollar lemonade stand. If he doesn’t want to be seen that way, he won’t be able to act that way. And that’s a good thing for fans who want to see the best possible long-term product on the field.