The “story”: In 2012, the Chicago Cubs organization gave more in political contributions than any other team in MLB. Indeed, the Cubs’ $13.9 million in contributions were $4 million more than the other 29 MLB teams combined.
Holy smokes, that’s a story. Who are the Cubs giving so much money to? Why are they doing it? Is it related to the renovation of Wrigley Field? Is it dirty? It must be dirty/sexy/intriguing if the Cubs gave so much more money than the other teams!
The Washington Post sums it up: “[W]e were captivated by just how much money the Chicago Cubs organization donated to (mostly) conservative causes during the 2012 election. The Cubs organization dropped $13.9 million on the campaign; that’s roughly $4 million more than the other all of the donations made by the other 29 teams combined. (And, yes, we appreciate the irony of the Cubs dumping millions on conservative efforts in the hometown of the Democratic president and the city whose current mayor of former chief of staff to President Obama.)”
Except the reality is much less sexy/dirty/intriguing. A “study” by the Sunlight Foundation looked at political contributions in 2012 for all 30 MLB organizations … any every person even remotely and tangentially connected to the organization. Why was the “Chicago Cubs” total so high? Because Ricketts Family patriarch Joe Ricketts is a hugely rich, hugely politically-active dude who gives a ton of money to conservative candidates and causes (about $12 million of that $13.9 million in 2012). Which has exactly nothing to do with the “Chicago Cubs.”
The Ricketts children purchased the team using funds in a family trust established for their benefit, and the Ricketts children, exclusively, run the organization. Joe Ricketts has no involvement in the operation of the Chicago Cubs, and even calling him an “owner” is relatively debatable.
You’ll be interested to note that political contributions attributable to “the Chicago Cubs organization” were also made by former Cubs players Sammy Sosa, Todd Wellemeyer and Randy Wells.
As an organization, according to the study, the actual Chicago Cubs organization made a whopping $408 in political contributions in 2012. Given their current renovation situation, they probably should have made more.
The study is already buzzing around the ‘net, portraying the “Chicago Cubs organization” as a massively political instrument. That may or may not be true, but this study certainly doesn’t demonstrate it.