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tom ricketts cubs[The Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL were off yesterday, the Cardinals won again, there was virtually no Cubs news yesterday, and it's a Sunday in October. Thus, this, in place of Bullets.]

Chicago Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts sent a letter to Cubs fans about the just-completed season, the near-starting renovations at Wrigley Field, and the to-be-completed “future.” Since the intention is clearly for as many Cubs fans as possible to see the letter, here it is, unedited:

Dear Cubs Fans –

An important season in our team’s development plan has drawn to a close, and I want to take a few minutes of your time to thank you for your ongoing support and provide an update on our progress.

The 2013 season was another challenging campaign at the Major League level, with only marginal improvement in our record. After careful deliberation, we made the difficult decision to proceed with a new manager next season to move us closer to fulfilling our ultimate long-term vision for this team. That search is underway, and our focus will be on providing the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the Major League level.

We also have been engaged in a process to save and improve Wrigley Field while reinvesting in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Our efforts to improve the baseball organization and our facilities have resulted in promising advancement toward our family’s organizational goals of winning a World Series, preserving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor in the City of Chicago.

We continue to be optimistic about the future of this franchise and our plan for sustained success. We aspire to become the best organization in baseball and have made strides in this direction. We acquired young, impact talent through trades, the first-year player draft and a weighted investment in this year’s international signing class. No team in Major League Baseball has spent more on combined first-year and international amateur talent than the Cubs over the four years of our family’s ownership. This investment in young talent is a significant driver of our system’s improvement and reflective of our current strategy to focus baseball resources on players who will contribute to the Chicago Cubs over the long term.

As a result, our Minor League system has improved from the bottom quartile to the second best in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus. According to ESPN’s latest rankings, four of baseball’s top 30 prospects reside on our Minor League rosters. We’re proud to employ many of the best scouts and player development staff in the game to help us find, commit and develop these exciting young players, and they’re already helping us win. Three of our five Minor League affiliates advanced to their respective playoffs, including the Florida State League-champion Daytona Cubs.

Because training and player development are critical to our goal of winning a World Series Championship, we must ensure our players have world-class facilities. Our new Spring Training Facility is nearing completion in Mesa, Arizona. This facility will be the best in the league for Major League players to prepare for the season each spring and for young players to train and develop year-round. It will also be a great place to watch Spring Training baseball. When in Mesa, you’ll notice field dimensions and elements reminiscent of Wrigley Field, from the cantilevered upper deck and roof to a replica of the red Wrigley Field Marquee. We hope you will be able to join us next spring for the facility’s grand opening and inaugural season of Spring Training games.

This past spring, the team opened a state-of-the-art baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, spanning 50 acres with baseball fields, training facilities, player housing and an education center, making it the largest academy in the country. Many of the best players in Major League Baseball are from Latin America and this impressive complex gives our ballclub a competitive advantage when recruiting and developing talented young players in this important region.

Finally, the restoration of Wrigley Field remains at the forefront of our efforts in Chicago, and we’re closer than ever to restoring this soon-to-be 100-year-old ballpark. We have made significant progress toward obtaining the city approvals for our $300 million private investment in Wrigley Field, which will include better player facilities, new fan amenities, improved concessions and restrooms, while maintaining what fans love about Wrigley Field. We will be able to offer more events, such as concerts and sporting events, as well as family-friendly activities to enhance the fan experience and quality of life for the neighborhood. Perhaps most importantly, this restoration will provide long-term incremental revenue that will be reinvested into the baseball team.

As we prepare this landmark investment in Chicago, our players, coaches, front office and event staff continue to deliver on our family’s priority of being a good neighbor. The team donated more than $2.3 million, plus thousands of autographed items and tickets, to hundreds of Chicagoland charities from Rogers Park to Englewood. This year, we introduced new Chicago Cubs Charities signature programs: the Cubs Scholars program, the Cubs on the Move Fitness Trolley and our Diamond Project, a community impact program that will provide grants to build and revitalize baseball fields in the Chicago area. If you have ever provided a donation, purchased a 50/50 raffle ticket or attended a Chicago Cubs Charities event, we thank you for supporting increased access to sports, health, wellness and fitness causes through Chicago Cubs Charities.

From top to bottom, our organization has been clear about adopting a long-term approach to becoming a championship-caliber franchise, and the 2013 season played an instrumental role in that transformation. This organization is becoming stronger and healthier. We have added young, impactful talent throughout our system and will provide the facilities and infrastructure required for them to succeed-which means an increasing number of homegrown players joining the Major League roster ready to win while playing The Cubs Way.

We value your continued support as the team continues on this exciting journey. Like you, my family cares deeply about the success of the Cubs and we are doing what we believe is necessary to win a World Series for the greatest fans in sports. Stay tuned for details about next season as we plan to celebrate 100 years of Wrigley Field all season long.

Once again, thank you and please say “hello” when you see me at the ballpark next year.

Sincerely,

Tom Ricketts

I expect that it isn’t easy to face the organization’s more hostile fans at this stage in the building process, so I’m glad ownership takes this kind of step to put themselves in front of the fans.

The most important takeaway, for me, is the apolitical discussion of the Wrigley renovation. There is no talk of further approvals or the rooftops or conditions for investment. Instead, there is simply talk of what’s coming, and why it’s awesome. I find that encouraging, even if only in a non-specific “feeling” kind of way.

  • Kyle

    It takes a lot of courage to face hostile fans by commissioning and signing off on a mass letter and e-mail to the fanbase.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      … and then walking through the stands at the ballpark every game.

      • Kyle

        Wrigley Field is a *great* place to avoid running into Cubs fans these days.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Hi-ooooooooo.

        • Jeff

          Ouch!! lol

        • Brains

          lol

        • Brian Peters

          But as much as we have sucked, our attendance is still in the top 15. I’d prefer it to be in the top 5, but it’s amazing it is where it is.

  • Tommy

    It is encouraging to see how quickly our farm system has improved. I’m ready for the sustained success that comes along with it, and hopefully 2014 is the beginning of that!

  • gary

    He’s gotta be 1 of the only owners in baseball who spends so much timer in the stands with the fans. That Says alot about who he is.

    • cubmig

      ???? the owner in the stands is a big thing????? wow. Ricketts has spend all that time at Wrigley and then pens a letter that says what we all already know. The letter is nothing. Why didn’t he take that opportunity to explain a timetable for the renovation plan,and reasons for the renovation hold up, what’s anticipated if physical changes force playing elsewhere, etc. Something of substance. Please. These are things that fans are wondering about. Instead we get what reads more like a political letter to appease (?) fan anxiety. We are already doing enough guessing to quell that anxiety. I guess we’ll continue that.

      Should I add I’m disappointed?

      • Brains

        We will accept anything we’re told by anyone with money. We are gullible pitiful fans of a team that’s no longer a team.

        • cubmig

          With qualifications, I’m accepting only you’re last sentence. Not the first. Hope is the thin thread that may reign in the way to win, and win big. Yeah I know, I dream.

      • BWA

        Not all fans read BN. They don’t all know about the new facilities, spending on young talent, and the prospects.

  • jt

    Nothing said as to the immediate improvement of the parent club.
    Just seems a sales pitch for season ticket holders.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      How could he honestly know what next year’s team would look like? Free Agency hasn’t really started. You don’t know 100% where funds are going to be allocated until after the FO meetings that take place after the season. He could say with 100% certainty they will improve the parent club every year and not lie in their eyes. It just happens in a roundabout way sometimes. They have done and said that for a while now. They could tell you the new manager will improve the club and again in their eyes not lie. They could say progression of players will improve the club. If you are expecting a splash in FA, then you will probably be sadly disappointed.

      • jt

        Ricketts could have said that if young players become available whose value can justify cost then they will pursue those players. That could be via trade as well as the FA and posting markets.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Every team could say that because every team is trying to do that. Does that really need to be said?

  • Bones

    For me, I expect improvement towards .500 baseball this year. 75 wins should be the bottom goal next year. Improvements in the bullpen and consistency from top players should be top priority. My vote for next skipper is Dave Martinez. He comes from a winning and consistent culture in TB.

    • ssckelley

      Those are low expectations. My expectations are winning baseball next season and I still hold out hope for a playoff run. They are not that far off from being able to make a run next season.

      • Kyle

        My hope is for winning baseball next year. I think there’s a chance if a lot of things go right.

        But my honest expectation? 90+ losses looks reasonably likely.

        My expectation is that we’ll get outbid on everything worthwhile (but lots of Serious Interest to prove how hard they tried). Then during the season, I expect that some of players we hope for breakout years will sputter and some of the players we thought we could count on will fall apart.

        • Rich H

          Kyle this sounds exactly like both of our predictions from last spring.

          Lets see what the FO puts on the field before starting to even guess at where we will finish next year.

          If the Cubs can get one more high end experienced arm for the bullpen. One LH/ switch hitting OF’er with run producing abilities, and another could be TOR guy that can eat innings it will go a long way towards making this a solid club.
          I see us as 3 years away from being this years Pirates (that way our 1st wave has a year and a half experience) but we should not have to stay below .500 to get there.

          • jt

            If they plan on adding Rosscup and Ramirez to the BP around the AS break and Arodys an Fuji around August they could work the 1st half BP hard. That would be 11 guys to work around 550 IP. That is to say there would no be a great need to have the SP’ers go deep into games. And that is to say the need for TOR guys diminishes. I’m fine with picking up a decent back of the rotation guy if they bolster the pen.
            They seem set for another platoon system. I’m fine with that until forced to look at the RH hitters. The LH hitters are passable but the other side looks worse than it did early in 2013 with Schierholtz force to hit lefties and having traded Fonzie.

            • Kyle

              I think Rosscup should be hoping to make the team out of camp. I’ve got a secret, probably wishful hope that Rivero does too.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                I’m with you on both counts.

              • jt

                With all you guys have written about Rivero, yes, I should have mentioned him.
                It may be so this pair moves north with the ’14 Cubs but there are 7 spots and a lot of names.
                Strop, Russell, Villanueva, Parker are going to be there. Cabrera is out of options. If they sign a guy like Arroyo and Arrieta starts what do they do with Rusin? What happens with Grimm? Do they sign a FA vet?
                I don’t think it would be a bad thing if Rosscup got a more scheduled work for a few months.

        • ssckelley

          So it sounds like you want the Cubs to overspend on free agents in the off season.

          • Kyle

            “over” spend.

  • YourResidentJag

    I still want Dave McKay to get an interview and would like Vizquel in some capacity in this organization.

    • Brian Peters

      Not gonna happen. No reason for it to happen.

      • YourResidentJag

        Nope. No reason for the Cubs to hire an experienced veteran who served under the tuteledge of LaRussa. You know the guy managing the organization the Cubs most want to emulate. Nope no reason for that to happen. And why bother having a guy who could help out our infielders, who by the way, is Latino. Who would want that? ;)

  • Eric

    I do think it’s time, as fans, to start compiling some reasonable expectations for this team, FO, and ownership. They’ve had two to show us some improvement, and while on paper the team’s farm system looks like it can contribute, that doesn’t mean it will.

    For me, a consistently .500 baseball team is what I expect next year. I expect to see the old Castro and I expect to see a breakout from Rizzo. I expect to see our youth get some significant playing time. I don’t think my expectations are unreasonable.

  • Hansman

    I lie how ricketts didn’t mention anything about gettin rid of the terrible luck that follows the organization.

  • BleedCubbieBlue

    What would have been if Cuban had bought the team. I only ask that because TR seems to be about making money more than about winning.

    • Rich

      God I hate moronic uneducated comments
      Bleed cubbie blue
      That means yit

    • ssckelley

      If Ricketts was all about lining his pockets with money then why would he bother showing up to any of the games? If you miss the days of overspending for guys like Soriano then become a Dodgers or Yankees fan.

    • Jim L

      I’ll betcha Cuban is about making money also.

  • CubFan Paul

    “No team in Major League Baseball has spent more on combined first-year and international amateur talent than the Cubs over the four years of our family’s ownership”

    Hayden Simpson? Paging Hayden Simpson…

    • ssckelley

      I thought the Tribune company owned the Cubs when he was drafted? If I remember correctly because of the pending sale the Tribune gave Hendry a very limited budget to spend on the player draft.

      • Kyle

        Simpson was drafted in June 2010.

        Ricketts’ bid was accepted in Jan. 2009, and he was formally installed as president of the team in Oct. 2009 (because nothing is ever simple involving the Cubs, of course).

        Last Tribune first-rounder was Brett Jackson

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Ricketts can be saddled with Simpson pick.

          But that means he also get credit for ponying up to sign Szczur.

          • DarthHater

            Missing sarcasm tag?

    • macpete22

      Looking back at the 2010 draft, there weren’t many good picks after Simpson in the 1st rd. Zach Lee but, he was all the way at 28 and there was a few guys in the supplemental round. Oh, and the guy drafted after Simpson the Rays suspended for going to a strip club.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I actually find it quite ominous when he says we are in a process to “save” Wrigley Field.

  • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

    Hi Tom, What a great day for a ball game. I’m really going to enjoy my visit to Wrigley field along with the other 20 people that are here.

  • Brian Peters

    If it’s realistic to expect certain things from the parent club, then a price for noncompliance needs to be established. Are those of you doing the expecting going to stay away from Wrigley? What steps are going to be taken to teach the FO a lesson? In return, what steps can the FO take to keep those of you making such demands out of Wrigley when things turn around? It would be interesting to see the demographics of this situation. I hate to sound like a middle-aged grump, but I would bet anything the biggest percentage of those criticizing this FO is under 30 years of age.

    • YourResidentJag

      Wow. Just like the comment above a man showing his ignorance. No, Mr. Peters, you’ve got that in reverse. Actually the younger fans are totally onboard. The older fans like you and I are the ones criticizing the FO. That’s a fact.

      • cubmig

        Naw……critics come in all sizes, ages and colors.

        • YourResidentJag

          I wish I could agree. I just see generational differences in the way people watch and follow sports.

          • cubmig

            sorry for that jag………wait till you’re older.

      • Brian Peters

        Jag, I think I should know if I’m criticizing the FO or not. My grandpa was born in 1903 and watched the last Cubs team to win a WS win one. He spent the rest of his life waiting for another title and passing his love–and patience–for the Cubs to my now-78-year-old dad, who has gone a lifetime waiting for a payoff, and he passed it along to me. The thing with “older” fans is that we are, in general, more patient than younger generations. We have suffered through decades’ worth of losing seasons, and while we want a title as much as anybody, most of us 30 and over understand the concept of how sweet victory will be, whereas “the kiddos,” who are in general more interested in instant gratification, will have learned nothing of the struggle that got us there.

        • YourResidentJag

          Well, I’m well over 30 and I get some of the instant gratification thing with younger people but I don’t get how you can say older fans are more patient. Listen to them call into a sports radio station. They really aren’t all that patient.

          • Brian Peters

            Well, then, apparently I was apparently wrong. Sorry.

            • YourResidentJag

              No, you’re not wrong. I just think you’re underestimating the change in baseball with to its fans. It doesn’t have the predominance it did decades ago, yet I believe older fans still stick with it if they did from a younger age as their primary choice. Younger fans have more sports that draw their attention. If the Cubs aren’t particularly good,, they’re indifferent. They’ll go to some other sport, MMA/NFL, etc to consume their time. Then when the Cubs unveil the “new product” they’ll return. That’s why regardless of where the Cubs, I’m not concerned about the attendance issue. People will return in greater numbers to the ballpark in 2015.

              • YourResidentJag

                with *respect*

      • DarthHater

        Yea, I have heard several grouchy old farts on this board criticizing the FO and several younger fans defending the FO. So it obviously follows that younger fans are totally onboard.

        • YourResidentJag

          I still think the younger fanbase is onboard with the philosophy of the current FO, much more so than if Hendry was running the ballclub. Sorry, Darth.

    • chrisfchi

      I’m 31. My friends don’t like what this FO has been doing. I personally have no real judgement yet, if I had to choose I think their on the right path. Like cubmig said, critics come in all ages, sizes and colors. Us “kids” have our thoughts about how the team should precede, as do some of the “old timers” I talk to. Believe it or not, some of those guys pull out more asinine stuff than the younger fans.

      • chrisfchi

        Hell look at Die Hard

        • DarthHater

          Okay, if you sa…
          [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5546/10252399966_5402099e6b_o.jpg[/img]

      • jt

        I’m 65 and “pull out asinine stuff”, well, because I can!
        hey, I’m not getting paid.

    • Kyle

      I am not under 30.

      • jh03

        FWIW, I’m 20 and all the kids my age, who have any idea what’s going on, think the Cubs are doing it right and are going to be a force in a couple years. I’m probably the most skeptical of them all, and I’m the only Cubs fan of the group.

        Relatedly, I was listening to Brain Kenny’s interview (I know, he’s a bit much, but it was a solid interview) on BP the other day, and he said guys in their 20′s are the one’s who accept the sabermetric movement more. I think this could have a lot to do with the notion that younger kids are more supportive of the Cubs plan. In my limited history of dealing with people, I’ve noticed how reluctant older fans are to accepting new statistics and ways of playing the game. Don’t tell them not to bunt… lol.

        Obviously nothing here is a blanket statement of all people in the age groups, but I can see where the stereotypes come from.

        • Jono

          I find that to be true, too. It might be because younger fans tend to pay more attention to the overall organization while older fans tend to only look at the big league record

          Im not making a blanket statement about every single person, just the trends I’ve observed

        • Kyle

          It’s easier to believe this is all going to work out splendidly when you are younger. You haven’t seen the exact same story unfold one or more times.

          • YourResidentJag

            Agreed.

          • Jono

            I could also put that in the opposite way. Younger fans simply aren’t jaded by that history and therefore see things more clearly.

            • Kyle

              I’d find that easier to believe if I didn’t have to hear “We’ve never had a great farm system before!” so often.

              • Jono

                Ok……?

              • jh03

                Well I have never said that and non of the people I talk to believe that either. If they did, I’d yell at them lol.

          • jh03

            That’s entirely possible.

  • The Dude Abides

    Did he take any questions after he delivered this prepared statement to the press and fan base on hand at the news conference ??

    Oh, it was delivered first class along with your renewal for season tickets? Know that is courageous, not the pure genius of Theo, but way more courageous than just sending out a season ticket renewal without any explanation for his request for you to spend more money on his team.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I was playing poker against a guy this weekend, he pitched in the big leagues for quite a few years, coached in the minors and trying to catch on as a coach in the big leagues. Knows a lot of people in baseball. We were talking about Girardi not coming to the Cubs, and the Cubs will get stuck with some no name. His comment was that AJ Hinch would be a fantastic hire for them. Said the guy is a dynamic personality, and a brilliant baseball mind. He predicted he will be one of the best managers in baseball for a long time. I was surprised by his comments.

    • jt

      “I was playing poker against a guy this weekend”
      –cubfanincardinalland
      can you be sure he wasn’t bluffing?

      • cubmig

        lol…….very apropo…..!

  • Bill

    Yea if Cuban bought the team we would be making all kinds of stupid free agent signings at least Ricketts has the forsight to build for the long term health of the cubs even if it means short term losses.I just hope Ricketts and Theo don’t feel pressure from the dumb cub fan to make a stupid free agent signing.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Yea if Cuban bought the team we would be making all kinds of stupid free agent signings”

      Yea, because that’s what Cuban does with the Mavericks and his other business ventures.

    • D.G.Lang

      NOT LIKELY. Cuban most likely would not have bought the Cubs due to the conditions of sale which were imposed by Sam Szell.

      Some prospective buyers quickly left after getting the terms of the sale and how financially constrained the team would be if they did but under those terms.

      The terms of sale were constructed to give Sam Szell a HUGE tax break and he did get caught by the IRS for structuring the sale the way he did.

      I believe that only a true Cub fan like Rickets would be tempted to but the Cubs under those terms. At the current time we are struggling financially due in part to the purchase terms but once we start getting more revenue we will have more funds to invest in both players and facilities.

      I admid that it does get very old seeing some fans constantly bad mouthing Ricketts ir Hendry or others and not putting the blame where it belongs.

      The Tribune company itself didn’t fully fund or support the team either, how could they when they were in so much financial trouble themselves? It requires MANY years of neglect by the previous owners to allow the team and it’s properties to decline so badly but that is where the blame belongs.

      A day to day approach of throwing lots of money at free agents while neglecting the rest of the organization would only lead to further decline and even more severe problems.

      We should all be happy that Rickets and co. are fans who are willing to invest so much of their own money to rebuild ALL aspects of the team.

      Much money was borrowed to conform to the terms of sale and there is a lot of debt to be repaid along with the interest thereon but the blame belongs with Szell and not Rickets.

      As it turns out it doesn’t matter who bought the team, it was still going to need major overhaul to be able to succeed long term. The terms of the sale just made the task much harder to achieve and some potential buyers did remove themselves because they did see exactly how bad it was going to be.

      • Pat

        The debt structure of the sale was not the reason investors backed out. All that meant was that they had to put less down initially. Considering the incredibly cheap interest rates that were already available in 2009, someone with that kind of money could likely make more interest on the money they didn’t have to put down then what the interest on the debt would be.

        Cuban backed out because he felt the price tag was too high considering the state of the ballpark and the bad tv deal. (based on what he said on the radio at the time)

        • Kyle

          It wasn’t so much the debt structure literally, it was the whole combination of tax-avoision rules that Zell expected the buyer to adhere to.

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://weknowmemes.com/generator/uploads/generated/g1381693920793186628.jpg[/img]

  • Spriggs

    Translation:
    We sucked again this year. I’m sorry. We are hoping not to suck as much at some point – and we hope that is in the fairly near future. We are ALSO hoping the Wrigley Field renovation can get started at some point in the fairly near furture. Thanks to the taxpayers in Mesa, we will definitely have a new spring training facility THIS COMING SEASON. Thanks.

  • Rich

    Ricketts has plenty of money
    He does not need the Cubs to provide for him
    Please stop that argument

    • cubmig

      Have you ever known a businessman to stop wanting to make more $$$?

  • Jed Jam Band

    Just, wow, guys. I have to say that the incredibly cynical nature present on here right now is making me want to stay away for the offseason. I won’t do that, because I love the writing, but I think I’ll stop reading the comments. Yes, it was a rough season, but didn’t we expect that? I DO expect that things will be a bit more fun next season with some young players making debuts and a much-improved bullpen from the start. Anyways, point is, it was hard to watch at times, but I’m still on board with this plan because I know how awful it can get when you start wishing for shiny, expensive new toys.

    • ssckelley

      We will try to improve, it is all about making you happy.

    • Justin

      Jed Jam Band, not sure why you’re all fired up. I think most people get the plan, and understand what is going on. It doesn’t mean that fans don’t have the right to be pissy after watching the shit we have to see on the field. Honestly, the Cubs situation just blows. I have no idea how to make them competitive in the near future without saddling the team with shit contracts when they truly have the talent to win around 2016. I am honest enough to admit that I don’t have the answers, but I am still pissed too.

      • YourResidentJag

        Conflicted is a good way to feel right about now. Couldn’t agree more with your points.

      • Jed Jam Band

        I think if everyone had your attitude, I’d be ok with it honestly. It’s more that I see people turning to a barrage of ad hominem attacks on people within the Cubs’ organization who have given zero indication that the goal isn’t to win games. It’s just far more difficult than anyone realizes in a period for baseball where free agency has become far less the Wild West type of pursuit it was not so long ago.

    • Jono

      +1

  • ColoCubFan

    I wonder how much it would cost to buy out the rooftops?

  • Steve

    Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavs won an NBA CHAMPIONSHIP. Who cares how much money he spent to assemble a championship team. That’s really what the fans of any team want: a team that is competitive year after year with a least a chance to win a championship.

    • Matt

      He also took 11 years to win that championship, so you’d still have fans whining and complaining assuming his ownership of the Mavs would have gone the same way. Also, in baseball, getting a big name free agent doesn’t make the same difference that it does in basketball.

  • Brains

    OK this was a rough year. But I’m going to hold my breath this offseason and raise my spirits for next year.

    Just for the record, that letter did not say one thing about revenue, payroll, or team improvement. It only talked about increasing facilities and profit margins.

    • bbmoney

      I know I shouldn’t bother….but it didn’t say anything about profit margins.

  • http://epicfunhub.com Frank

    Mark Cuban is a total flake and he would have pissed money away like a drunken sailor. If he would have successful at winning it all, it would have been a one and done.

    • caryatid62

      There is literally zero evidence to support anything you wrote.

  • One-Ring

    I see next year as being the reverse of the last few years in that the Cubs record will improve in the second half of the season when the infusion of youth begins. Until that time, we are basically running in place.

    • Jono

      I agree. Hoyer gave an interview recently that indicates a pivot in strategy. The sveum firing was probably more about that than sveum being a failure. Different manager for a different game plan. If they want to sell sponsorships, they probably want to ramp up fan interest and get more eyeballs in wrigley

  • cavemencubbie

    I hope you’re right Bill. I have been disappointed with many of the Cub moves since the Tribune sale. I would have preferred Cuban, having a FO from Oakland, Tampa Bay or the Cardinals installed and a move out of Wrigley. That said, I am just a fan with no skin in the game except for my support. I hope I’m wrong and my Cubs do well, still I have reservations. I am however pleased with the new facilities in AZ and the Dominican Republic and with that goes my hope for the future. PS I am well over thirty!

  • Blackhawks1963

    I’m fully supportive of the Ricketts and the Theo administration. Have been from the beginning because I believe in what they are doing, however painful it may seem in the shorter-term at the big league level.

    That said, I’m not sure the value of this letter from Ricketts. It’s a motherhood and apple pie letter that doesn’t say a whole lot and I will be the ranch was ghost written by a public relations and communications firm.

    The ONLY thing that is going to appease the masses is winning at the big league level and for this thing to start bearing the fruit that has been invested in. I think we are getting close to that time, but until then it’s going to be the same short-sighted and dull witted amongst us claiming that the Ricketts don’t care about winning and that Theo is an incompetent hack.

    What I find interesting and troubling about the letter is how it dances around the Wrigley renovation. We all know that things are held up right now until the Ricketts have guarantees in place that construction won’t be stopped by the rooftop owners filing a lawsuit. Why not mention that directly in the letter and buy yourself some goodwill points?!? Instead, the meatballs sit there and claim that the Ricketts aren’t renovating the ballpark and the whole negotiation with the city was a charade. Odd. Very.

    • Brains

      Actually besides the need to renovate the bathrooms I’m totally OK with Wrigley staying the way it is forever. Why in the world does everything have to turn into a mall with concession stands that serve fois gras? Why can’t we just drink a freakin beer and eat a hot dog and hang out for a while just like our grandparents did?

      • cubmig

        Brains—–gotta’ say you hit the essence of the ballpark experience. It’s not the mall ($hopping, etc.) and what-nots. It’s the Ff-in’ ballgame.

        • Brains

          It’s like within the past 5 years that everyone has forgotten what baseball was like as kids. Everything is hype, consumerism, digitalization, etc. The only benefit of all these things is higher ticket prices. It’s tougher to concentrate on the game. We already have our iphones, why does the park need to be a giant iphone? Keep it simple. Put a team on the field that can compete, pay them what they deserve, and fans will come. The Ricketts have everything wrong about baseball.

          • cubmig

            Can I hear a LOUD “AMEN”! To Brains take..?

            • YourResidentJag

              Umm….amen.

          • baseballet

            Agree with you Brains. The Jumbotron is about advertising. If I want to watch a replay I can watch it on my smart phone seconds later on the MLB app. Or wait until I’m home and rewatching the highlights. The Jumbotron is only necessary as a giant video commercial. It will dwarf the scoreboard! What an eyesore. Ricketts does not have to ruin Wrigley to save it. He won’t need the jumbotron money once the new TV deal is in place.

            • 1060Ivy

              You’ve watched replays at Wrigley on a smart phone?

              I’ld like to know your data provider as for some it’s barely possible to receive emails while at Wrigley.

              It should be possible to do so but bandwidth issues for the ballpark has been an ongoing. Can still recall when ownership blamed the issue on squirrels eating through cables, Yeah, right. They were squirrels – not rats – and squirrels are the reason there was little to no connectivity at Wrigley for years.

              Here’s Cubs rationale on why limited connectivity at Wrigley:

              4 Squirrels bite: Why couldn’t fans use their iPhones last summer at Wrigley? “Believe it or not, the answer is squirrels,” said Carl Rice, the Cubs’ technology guru. Rice said squirrels ate through the wires providing AT&T wireless access. He said the issue has been resolved.

              http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2010/01/18/4576661.htm

      • mjhurdle

        Just because our grandparents did it, does not mean that somehow it is “better”.
        I like more options at a stadium. I like newer concourses and more amenities. I like jumbo-trons, with their replay and updates on other games.

        I respect that some people do not like these things, but to assume that somehow things were “right” then and they will be wrong now is ridiculous.

        • caryatid62

          I’m actually coming to think, from a marketing standpoint, having less technological amenities might be a good thing.

          Here’s the reasoning:

          I can watch a game on television in HD, get every replay, switch between games of virtually any team in baseball, pause, rewind, get whatever announcer I want, and generally experience the entirety of the game through my television set or iPad.

          The only thing I can’t get from my experience is the feeling of actually being in attendance (i.e. the 3D in person experience). The experience of Wrigley right now is one of being “in the moment” at all times; not a poorer version of another experience.

          The jumbotron, replays, etc., are merely a poor replication of the television experience. The value of those amenities are mitigated by the idea that if a fan really wants that type of technological experience, they’re better off staying home and watching it on TV or tablet. I’m not sure they get people to the games.

          My sense is that if Wrigley wants to really enhance it’s appeal to all fans (and thus gain more customers), it should emphasize the only thing it has that cannot be replicated by technology: the in-person, in moment experience of the game. It would place it in a unique position among ballparks around the country–almost no parks can market themselves as independent of the “I need it now” style of sports and entertainment. As such, it might actually carve a niche within the market that no other ballpark has.

          This is not to say that they shouldn’t advertise like crazy all over the park–I couldn’t care less if they put ads anywhere and everywhere. I’m just wondering if it might be an interesting marketing strategy to do the exact opposite of what so many other teams are doing right now.

      • hansman

        You know, that is still possible. It all depends on how YOU use it.

        As much as I love the romantic notion of the olden days, the olden days weren’t that great. Attending baseball games back then included as much commercialization as there is today.

        • Brains

          This is mostly just a consumerist response without much thought.

  • Matt

    For me the frustration is how people , reflexively, accept the idea that the floodgates will open at some ,UNSPECIFIED date in the future. People also think that they sound astute when echoing the rhetoric about value and “the plan” , as if we’re friggin OAK & TB. Kyle is right, there are clearly short- medium term options on the FA mkt who’ll be ignored by us with the rationale that they weren’t “good values” and didn’t fit ” the “plan”. I think folks are seriously underestimating the damage that this losing is doing to some of the young players, as well.

    • Justin

      I think almost everyone will agree that if there are clear short/medium term FA’s out there that help the Cubs in 2014 they should absolutely pull the trigger. I really don’t see short/medium term guys making the 2014 Cubs a winner, but if a guy like Choo gets signed for 2 yrs and it’s not the Cubs I will be soooooo pissed.

  • TSB

    Ricketts gave a standard “rally the troops” speech, nothing more, nothing less. for some of the “fans” posting here, he should have given the in-your-face, it’s my team learn to like it speech, but of course he is too smart to do the latter. Remember, if the cubs lose money, Ricketts takes the loss; the fan can always be fickle and start rooting for the Brewers, Tigers, or (the horror!) the White Sox.

    • Brains

      more vicarious fantasy baseball that because someone owns a team it’s their right to crap on it. it’s like you guys watched the movie “major league” and then rooted against wesley snipes and for the evil owner.

  • Big Joe

    I just don’t see this team winning for quite a while. I just don’t see it at all. Let the hate begin, but, I do NOT see it…at all.

  • Kevin

    Ricketts paid top dollar for a FO that is supposed to be the best. The new CBA is so restrictive, it prevents teams from turning things around in a relatively short period of time. Sucks to be the Cubs. Do you really think paying big money on FO in a restrictive market is money well spent?

    • Jono

      Yes. The CBA restrictions reduce the money advantage, therefore making the FO advantage even more important.

      • Rich Hood

        The new CBA did not restrict the money advantage. It changed who was getting the money so teams like the Nationals, Pirates and Rays could no longer overspend on signability guys in the later rounds.

        The big market teams still have a huge advantage when it comes to the draft with the ability to offer multiple FA’s a qualifying offer every year and cost the teams that sign them a pick. NYY had 3 first round picks last year because of it. This year it will be Boston’s turn.
        A team like Oakland can not offer more than maybe one guy that type of money on a one year contract. So guess what a big spender will just sign the best guys as they hit FA.
        All the new CBA did was guarentee that no other small market team will become the Rays because they will have to trade their top talent 2 years before FA to get enough value or hopefully extend their guys while they can still afford them.

        • Jono

          Even if that’s true, which it’s not, it still makes having a good front office a good thing.

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