sth event

As I mentioned last week, I had the opportunity on Friday to attend the first of four sessions for season ticket holders at the Bank of America Theater.

On entry, it was easy to see who the star was going to be: Wrigley Field. Large photos of the planned renovations dotted the lobby, and the 100th anniversary celebration for the park was the focus of the decorations adorning the stage. I was struck immediately by the Cubs’ willingness to “sell” season ticket holders on the renovated Wrigley Field in the midst of a protracted process and fight that, at last check, had the Cubs holding out on doing a thing until they knew the rooftops around Wrigley wouldn’t sue to shut down construction (more on that later). Do they have more confidence in the renovation moving forward than they’re letting on?

The session opened with a video package, tugging on the heart strings with tradition, history, pride, etc. (I’m a sucker for these things.) The video indicated that Cubs fans are uniquely loyal despite prevailing heartache, but there is a plan in place for sustained success. Paraphrasing: “The Cubs are getting the right young talent, securing the right ad partners, and progress is being made – when it happens, will you be there? We are on our way, we are committed.” I was surprised and impressed that the Cubs willingly put the ad partner stuff right there in the mix with the rest. Although I agree that it’s a huge part of the Cubs’ sustained future success, discussion of revenue turns many folks off. Good on the Cubs for not shying away from the reality. They need revenue. Deal with it.

Team President of Business Operations Crane Kenney then took the stage to lukewarm applause and a smattering of totally mature boos. Kenney thanked the fans for their support, and said that everyone in the organization can see good things happening despite obstacles (he mentioned a hurricane in the Dominican Republic, the politics in Chicago, and the threat of litigation with the rooftops, specifically).

Kenney made sure to emphasize that he knows we’ve all heard this stuff before. But, paraphrasing: “I’ve been here since 1994, and this is different because of the Ricketts. They are placing big bets and making it happen.” Kenney mentioned the investments the Ricketts Family has made in personnel (the front office and the business side have expanded dramatically) and technology.

There was another video, then, on the tangible progress of the organization (heavy focus on prospects and facilities in Mesa, Arizona and the DR). It was narrated by Gary Sinise, which must have been one of those personnel investments.

Then there was more discussion on the facilities, and a subsequent video showing off the new digs in the DR and Mesa, as well as the front office’s new office facilities in Chicago. Reactions? Damn, the DR facility looks nice. And the Mesa facility is hilariously lavish when compared with the facilities in Chicago. (Kenney shared an anecdote that, 10 years ago, he saw a coach loading weights into a U-Haul and realized that the Cubs were physically transporting weights back and forth between Chicago and Mesa for Spring Training each year.)

On Wrigley, the phrasing in the video was “Soon, work will begin ….” The video then went through the renovation plans, all with “this will happen” type language. As with the photos in the lobby, the Cubs are clearly proceeding with confidence that the renovation, ultimately, will happen as planned. I don’t mean that to sound like I ever had doubt – I’m just saying that the renovation “story” to fans at this event had a very different tone than has been playing out in the media.

Kenney then mentioned that the renovation process is ongoing, with hurdles left to be faced. He said that the Cubs hope to resolve their issues with the rooftop partners soon. He added that the Cubs are at a severe competitive disadvantage, because they start $40 million in the hole every year, based on costs for upkeep, huge taxes, a below market media deal, the rooftops taking a cut (essentially), and political hurdles. Some of those items are hard to reduce to dollars, but I could argue $40 million is conservative.

Then there was another video on Wrigley (I told you it was the star), showing what the updates will be. (I was reminded once again how much I love the idea of the plaza west of the park.) From there, Kenney announced that next year will be a season-long party at Wrigley celebrating 100 years of the ballpark. Full details on the events are coming this week, he said, but he hinted at the Cubs celebrating a different decade in each of 10 homestands (featuring throwback jerseys, era bobbleheads, and old-timey toys). He also mentioned that the Cubs will have alternate road jerseys like the gray ones in the 1920s with a large “CUBS” across the front. (I assume this is the road jersey change that I reported on back in February.)

President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein next took the stage, and I noted the majority of his comments on Friday. You can look back on his comments, and you’ll notice that they were extremely prospect-heavy.

At the end of Epstein’s prepared remarks, he introduced a surprise “guest” – it was new manager Rick Renteria, appearing via prerecorded video. Dave Roberts, a coach in San Diego, essentially served to introduce Renteria in the video, and spoke effusively – even noting that RR has “fire in his belly.” Renteria, himself, offered many of the same general thoughts that he’s shared via various outlets already about who he is as a manager, but it was interesting to see him in “address the fans” mode. The “bellyfire” definitely showed, and this is clearly a guy with a whole lot of passion.

The Presidents then welcome Dave Kaplan out to do a Q&A, first with Qs from Kaplan, then from the fans (things ran long, and there were very few questions from the fans – but to Epstein and Kenney’s credit, they made themselves available after the session in the lobby to be swarmed by question-seekers, each staying a long time after).

The first question, to Kenney, was about opting out of the WGN TV deal, and Kenney said there is a strong, historical relationship there. It sounded like there was some optimism for getting a fair deal done with WGN for their portion of the Cubs’ games from 2015 through 2019. Relatedly, insofar as a new TV generates more revenue, Kenney was asked about getting that money to the baseball side, and he reiterated Tom Ricketts’ frequent promise that it’s a “closed system,” and every dollar of revenue that comes in the door goes back into the organization.

When asked about the Renteria hire, Epstein shared a great anecdote. Paraphrased: “Rick was coaching on team and superstar player hit groundball and didn’t run it out. The players were looking at each other like, what are we doing. RR grabbed superstar, and said that’s not how we do things here. You will run hard or you won’t play. Then he took the player aside in the tunnel, and said, you know why I did that in front of everyone? Because you’re the best player, and they need to see you doing things the right way, so they will, too.”

The first fan question was directed to Kenney, asking for a candid explanation of just what is holding up the Wrigley renovation right now (I thought to myself that this was a perfect first question and I was glad it was asked – after the session, I ran into a BN’er named Mike who explained that he was the one who asked – good on you, Mike). Kenney did a little tap-dancing, but ultimately suggested that the hold-up right now is legislative. That would obviously be something of a surprise, given that the rooftop battle is widely believed to be the primary remaining issue (and the outstanding legislative stuff is expected to be perfunctory). I’ll have more on this in a separate piece soon.

A fan groused to Epstein about the Edwin Jackson signing, and Epstein took a middle road, noting that he didn’t have the year the Cubs hoped he would, but that his underlying metrics indicated he wasn’t all that bad. Epstein expects a good year from Jackson in 2014. Unfortunately, Epstein also said this, paraphrased: “We also got a little ahead of ourselves, and didn’t fully understand our situation. If we had full knowledge of business timing and plan at that time, we might have been more patient.” Ouch. He’s saying that, had they known last year at this time just how far off the big revenues were and/or how tight things were going to be, they might have waited to spend the cash. That paints a fairly dire picture, doesn’t it? Probably more dire than is intended, and I guess we already know that the Wrigley problems have delayed those anticipated revenues by a year. Add it to the evidence pile that big spending this offseason is not likely, though.

After the session, I had occasion to speak with, among other folks, Jed Hoyer. He was generous with his time, and fun to chat with, even as the theater staff worked eagerly to usher folks out. (And, in case you’re wondering, yes, he was aware of this place, which was as humbling as it was unnerving.)

Ultimately, I’d think it was an enjoyable experience for most in attendance, many of whom are likely considering their season ticket renewal decisions right now. In years past, the Cubs have had this kind of an event via conference call, so this was undoubtedly an upgrade. I was surprised that there wasn’t more venom flung in the process, but I suppose that, when you’re drawing from a fan pool that is limited to (1) the fans caring enough to buy season tickets and (2) the fans caring enough to attend a session in the middle of the day on a Friday, it’s likely to be a positive bunch.

The “feel” of the event and the presentation was very much one of “hey, we know that the last couple seasons have sucked, but we still think we’re doing the right thing long-term. And we really appreciate your patience and loyalty.” Probably about all they could do, and there’s probably going to be a similar feel this year at the Cubs Convention.

  • Jon

    Crain Kenney is a dope. Many of the current problems facing the Cubs are on him. I still have no idea why RIcketts kept him aboard.

  • EB

    So if the new road unis are alternates, are we saying goodbye to the blue alternates again?

  • Rich

    What problems can we place on Crane? The roof top agreement? Is there anything else. I certainly don’t know and am asking and guessing.

    Thanks Brett on the information.

    As I have toured many ballparks, the player facilities are bad for a high school player vs. professionals.

    Why can’t they renovate the locker rooms as planned? OR is that part of a larger project that must be started together ?

    • Jon

      He also killed the draft and international FA budget towards the end of Hendry’s tenure. Which resulted in Vitters over Weiters and the Hayden Simpson pick.

      • Kyle

        Tiny pet peeve of mine.

        Simpson was a legitimately underfunded pick. Vitters was a normal-priced, maybe even slightly expensive, pick who just wasn’t the double-slot megapay that Wieters was.

        • Jon

          But, without restrictions, they probably would have taken Weiters. (this is what I have read)

          • BT

            You are blaming Kenney for that?

            • Jon

              The under funded drafts during that time? Um, yes?

              • BT

                So Kenney was funding the drafts? Even if he was responsible for allocating funds, it’s utterly asinine to blame him for allocating OTHER people’s money. He was told how much there was to spend. At that time, the focus was on winning in the present, because the owners didn’t care about the future, because they weren’t going to be the owners in the future.

                • Jon

                  Crane, you had direct control over the budget for these drafts. And I’m not just talking about the picks above. 2011 was finally when they were allowed to do it “right” but too late as after that Selig screwed the overslot options.

                  • BT

                    So you are telling me Kenney could have given them any amount of money he wanted, but he decided, totally on his own, to do it on the cheap? You are utterly and completely delusional.

          • mjhurdle

            Actually, there were also rumors that MLB itself told the Cubs that they couldn’t go over-slot until the ownership was worked out.

            “With the Cubs ownership situation in limbo, the Cubs have been instructed by MLB to adhere strictly to the slot system, with no well-over slot bonuses, and certainly no big league deal-and Wieters will require both”
            – Baseball Prospectus 2007 Mock Draft

            Coincidently, BP had the Royals taking Vitters #2 overall, only behind Price and 5 spots ahead of Weiters. They called Vitters the “top pure hitter in the draft”.

            Obviously, it didn’t work out. But it wasn’t like they reached for a nobody just to save money.

            • Jon

              And by spring of 2010, with ownership all squared away, they were still being cheapo with the draft.

              • mjhurdle

                what does 2010 have to do with Vitters vs Weiters?
                Or are you down to just Hayden Simpson as your argument that Kenney is everything wrong with Cubs baseball?

                Im not saying Kenney is great, just trying to understand where this passionate hate is coming from.

  • anonyomous-ly

    $40 Million in the hole? Total Fabrication. About as misleading as Tom Ricketts statements that “every dollar coming in the front door is going back into the organization.”

    The Cubs nearly double the stadium revenues of the Reds and White Sox to the tune of over $100 Million a year and they are crying poor? Both the Red Sox and the White Sox had a higher payroll than the Cubs the past year.

    • BT

      Hard to argue with your “facts”. Since they really don’t make any sense.

    • Kyle

      I don’t know if I’d quite call it a fabrication. Close, but it’s more like just some insanely audacious spin.

  • Kyle

    Well, all indications are that the Cubs are now completely committed to the “Golden Generation” strategy. I could (and probably will at other points) moan about the decisions that got them to this point, but from this point, I’ll just shrug and say “fine, let’s do this then.”

    Some things we’ve already seen that mesh with this strategy:

    1) A development-heavy manager at the MLB level
    2) A major PR push to try to prepare fans for even more losing in the short-term

    Some things we’re seeing rumored
    1) A withdrawal from Edwin Jackson-style signings
    2) A lot of trade rumors revolving around fixing the last hole in that generation’s projection: TOR pitcher.

    Something I think we’ll see:
    1) The few FA signings we do make are going to be high-character guys whom we think can help teach the young players as they break into the lineup.

    Samardzija should probably be traded this offseason, but I won’t begrudge them if they want to wait and make absolutely sure we’re out of it in 2014 before trading him. It’s a tiny bit different from the Garza situation two years ago.

    Trading Castro makes a *ton* of sense in this scenario. Yes, he could be part of the Golden Generation, but we have other middle infielders on the cusp and he just doesn’t quite fit with what we are trying to accomplish. If the returns for Samardzija aren’t mind-blowing, he could be the only piece that could net the kind of pitching we need.

    I suspect we’re going to see a lot of fringey guys get a chance to prove themselves with MLB playing time this year. Lake, Vitters, Rusin, Grimm, Olt, Cabrera, maybe Watkins? Most will probably wash out, but a few might stick.

    Honestly, 2016 is the earliest you can realistically expect to be competitive with this plan. With luck and big breakthroughs, it could happen earlier, but 2016 has to be the expectation. And even that’s pushing it.

    • ETS

      Interesting. How do you compare this to what the Astro have been doing? Do you think we will have “Jackson-esque” signings a year from now?

    • When the Music’s Over

      In spite of coming to a lot of similar conclusions on my own, I still leaked some poo while reading this comment. I was 100% for a total rebuild, but if you had told me at some point after the 2010 season (when I came to this realization that a total rebuild was in order), that a total rebuild would take 5-6 years to complete (didn’t start until after the 2011 season, so 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) I would have told you you were nuts. What a sh*t show.

      • MichiganGoat


    • Jason P

      The part about 2016 is probably true. I hate that the timeline keeps being moved back, but part of it’s probably that we placed an unreasonable timeline on their competitiveness to begin with. I remember when Theo and Jed were first hired, and they were making all those comments about “doing it the right way”, a lot of people interpreted that as “suck in 2012, .500 in 2013, good in 2014”. I guess if Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija, and Jackson hadn’t taken steps back, the .500 part may not have been all that far off.

      Just for the sake of making a prediction, if I had to guess which of the fringy pieces you mentioned “stick”, I’d guess Lake and Watkins (utility/bench players), Grimm (7th or 8th inning relief), and Cabrera (back of the rotation starter).

      • Kyle

        Yeah, like you said, we’ve had some setbacks that pushed the timeline back (when combined with a lack of aggressiveness).

        If Brett Jackson was a 3-win CFer and Starlin Castro was a 4.5-win SS, we might be in a totally different spot.

        • noisesquared

          Realistically, where would the 2013 team have finished if Castro(-.6)/Samardzija(1.8) were even 3 WAR and E Jackson(-1.3) was his career avg-ish 2 WAR? That looks to me as a net gain of 8 WAR by just having 3 key players performing at starter-to-starter+ level. For a team that was on pace for 75-78 wins on July 28 even with the bad performances, it’s not hard to envision the 2013 team being an 83 win team with just a few players having solid not spectacular years (and without the deadline trades too, obviously). And that’s with a ridiculously awful bullpen.

          I don’t think the Cubs are as far away as most think. If the FO can pull off another couple of shrewd, low-key moves in the Schierholz/Feldman vein along with maybe one bold addition (Tanaka), this could be a team at least in the WC conversation as soon as this year. In a year where TV and sponsor revenue contracts tied to the renovation are going to be negotiated, I think being competitive is going to be a higher priority than anticipated.

    • MightyBear

      I agree with your assessment except I do think they will be good in 2015 and not “until 2016”.

  • Greenroom

    Nice work. Ok, now I am really curious about what Hoyer said to you? without giving away anything that may impact some of the more private comments, what’s up? haha
    *taps foot


    • TWC

      Ace: “Hi, Jed. Brett Taylor, Bleacher Nation. [extends hand] Can you give us an update on the renovation?”

      Jed: [glazed eyes] “Oh, Bleacher Nation? Swell. Yeah, the renovation’s great. [sudden flash of realization] Say, there’s a landscape architect that post some comments on your board. Can you pass along his contact info? We’d like to have him do some work on the Wrigley project.”

      Something like that, I assume.

      • MichiganGoat

        You forgot:
        Ace: “is there anything we can to do help get the Cubs to the World Series?”
        Jed: “hmmm, well, we do need a goat to come to opening day to break the curse finally”
        Ace: “I’VE GOT A GOAT! And BleacherNation would gladly give him up for sacrifice”

        *** ah sweet relief finally ***

        Meanwhile a hippie is seen trimming the weeds and mowing the grass outside of Wrigley.

        • DarthHater

          Ace: “You mean, you’ve actually heard of Bleacher Nation?”
          Jed: “Oh, sure. and I have a suggestion for you. Just four words: Die. Hard. Guest. Column.”

          • Fishin Phil

            Ace: Jed, what kind of exciting new things can season ticket holders look forward to next year?

            Jed: Well, I know Crane has been talking about the possibility of a mascot.

            Ace: Would a puppet work?

  • anonymous-ly

    MYTHS/LIES Exposed

    Chicago Cubs

    Payroll 2013 $104,150,726 Rank #14 Attendance 2,642,600 Rank# 12 Avg Ticket Price $44.55 Fan Cost Index $298.20 #3 Draft Allowance $10,556,500 Int Draft $10,319,800
    Chicago White Sox
    Rayroll 2013 $124,065,277 Rank #9 Attendance 1,768,413 Rank#24 Avg Ticket Price Fan Cost Index $26.05 $231,18 #8 Draft Pool Allowance $5,301,600 Intl Draft Pool $2,168,300
    Cincinatti Reds

    Rayroll 2013 $110,565,728 Rank#13 Attendance 2,534,369 Rank#15 Avg Ticket Price Fan Cost Index $21.35 $165.39 #27 Draft Pool Allowance $6,046,700 Intl Draft Pool $1,862,100

    The Cubs made an estimated savings of approximately $9,700,000 off their opening day payroll in 2012 and $13,650,000 in 2013 through mid-season trades and sell-off of Major League talent.
    The money spent on Int’l free agent Jorge Soler wasn’t in the form of a bonus, rather a contract to be paid out in multiple years. They also signed Int’l free agent Gerardo Conception to a five year deal worth $6M of which $3M was a signing bonus and the rest to be paid annually. So neither contracts required any significant outlay of cash against the 2012 payroll.
    The Cubs made one-time capital investments into a modern computer and video system and partially offset some of those expenses by leasing a fleet of cars and cutting per diems.
    The Dominican Academy was a one-time expenditure that cost a paltry $7M by MLB standards.
    Their new Mesa Spring Training Complex is being entirely paid for by the City of Mesa, a $99 Million freebie from the taxpayers of Mesa, Arizona gained by threat of exodus from the Ricketts family. The Cubs are only responsible for a profit-making business venture “Wrigleyville West” complex.
    MLB negotiated $1.5 Billion in national TV revenues per season that will go into the MLB Central Fund starting in 2014. That’s $750 Million more than the recently expired contracts and has been reported by multiple sources that the money will be distributed equally to the teams to the tune of $25 million annually starting in 2014. That’s $25 million more to be added to the owners’ pockets or if they choose, towards baseball operations.
    The Cubs agreed not to block the rooftop views in exchange for 17% of the rooftop owners’ gross revenue. That worked out to about $4 million last year.

    In comparison, media revenue for the Cubs should match or exceed that of White Sox because of their shared venture in Comcast Sports Net and contract with superstation WGN. The Cubs outshine the Reds and their $30 Million annual contract with FOX Sports by tens of millions.

    Average ticket price represents a weighted average of season ticket prices for general seating categories and does not include pricing of premium seats, in which the Cubs have a decisive pricing advantage over their competitors.
    The Fan Cost Index provided by the “Team Marketing Report” comprises the prices of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
    Highlights include;
    1. In Year 2013, the Cubs are comparable in payroll and attendance with the Cincinnati Reds. Cubs attendance 2,642,600 vs Reds 2,534,369. Cubs Payroll $104,150,726 vs Reds Payroll $110,415,277. If you include the season ending sell-off by the Cubs (-$13,650,000) the payroll difference is decisively more advantageous for the Cubs. Cubs Payroll $90,500,726 vs Reds Payroll of $110,415,277. Using the Fan Cost Index provided by “Team Marketing Report,” the difference in projected total stadium revenue is startling. Cubs $197,005,830 vs Reds $104,789,822. Almost double the revenue of the Reds at $92,216,008. The difference in total payroll spent in 2013 plus projected stadium revenues culminates into a mind-blowing difference of $112,130,559.
    2. In Year 2013, the Cubs had a decisive advantage against the White Sox in both starting payroll and in attendance. However, both clubs dumped significant payroll at the end of the year. Cubs Payroll $104,150,726 vs White Sox Payroll $125,065,277. Cubs attendance 2,642,600 vs White Sox attendance 1,768,413. Using the Fan Cost Index provided by “Team Marketing Report,” once again the difference in projected stadium revenue is startling. Cubs $197,005,830 vs White Sox $102,205,429. The difference in starting payroll plus projected stadium revenue adds up to a whopping difference of $124,119,980.
    3. Additional costs for expanded infrastructure cost the Cubs a negligible sum in comparison to revenues.
    4. The Ricketts have maintained the third highest ticket and vending prices in all of baseball, while lowering payroll into the bottom half of the MLB. Essentially, charging Cub fans ultra-premium prices reserved only for the largest markets and teams that bump their payroll up to the payroll cap or into luxury tax territory. Curiously, in 2013, the Cubs spent even less on payroll than small market teams such as the Reds.
    5. Even taking into account lower attendance figures than in successful years, the Cubs earn nearly twice as much as their competitive counterparts in stadium revenue, potentially distancing their rivals by as much as $125 Million.
    6. Outside of the attendance drop, Ricketts have actually increased revenues significantly since their initial purchase by an increase of 10% in ticket prices the first year, new advertising in and around the ballpark, revenue from rooftops, concerts, hockey games conventions, etc. Without knowing the exact numbers, it would still be safe to assume the total would be in the tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue since the initial purchase of the Cubs.
    7. Expenditures on the draft have been limited by the new CBA. All of their International free agent commitments were mostly lengthy contracts with little to no initial cash outlay needed.
    8. The Ricketts will receive an additional $25 Million next year from MLB TV contracts.

    • Jimbotron

      But we will have a cost effective and maybe good team in 2016 :)

    • Jason Powers

      You forget to break out the revenue sharing piece of 39M the Cubs kicked in while their division counterparts Reds received 22M out of that pot; Pittsburgh gets 35M; and Milwaukee 19M. Or did you not find that part of the financial equation?

      Was that MYTH/LIE not available for exposure?

      And I am not defending Ricketts. Just put all the various ‘things’ in the pot, not just the facts you want to reflect to us. Because you obviously put a lot of time into that analysis, I want it to be as complete as possible….


      • CubFan Paul

        “You forget to break out the revenue sharing piece of 39M the Cubs kicked in”

        If he was breaking down the expenses only side of the spreadsheet, I’m quite sure the $39M would of been there.

        • Jason Powers

          Comparison of payrolls? Is that not an expense? DR Academy – 1-time capital expenditure? Expenditures on the draft? He meandered onto both sides quite liberally….

          And how can you speak to what he would or would not include? You typing next to him, Paul? (I remember you too…)

          I added that information, just in case he didn’t the complete balance sheet, income statement, and Ricketts’ Retained Earnings all calculated for our enlightenment…(Seems you had quite a problem with me doing the same sort of process…)

          Additionally to the expenses: “also mentioned the Cubs have added 69 new people to the business side and 64 to the baseball side”

          So 133 heads into the operations. At only 50K Avg. Salary, , $6.65M in payroll added in the FO/Business side. Bump that to 60K, and you get nearly 8M. Just more money flows….to account for.

          • CubFan Paul

            “(I remember you too…) (Seems you had quite a problem with me doing the same sort of process…)”

            I have no idea what you’re referring to.

          • anonymous-ly

            You miss the entire point Jason. The Cubs stadium revenues dwarf their competitors by such a large margin (over $100M) and yet The White Sox and Reds both had higher payrolls than the Cubs. I didn’t feel like doing research on the minute expenses of the White Sox and the Reds, but I would assume all or most MLB clubs are constantly reinvesting and upgrading their facilities and personnel.

            The whole point of the exercise is that the investments the Cubs have made recently didn’t cost a lot of capital and in fact the additional revenue streams the Cubs have added more than covered what the Cubs have spent. There Cubs have the ability to spend like a Large Market team if they wanted to with no problem.

            • Jason Powers

              Didn’t miss any point, anon. I’ve done plenty of written pieces on the revenues of the Cubs/expenses and payroll, long prior to your pointing out such figures…and on other acquisitions throughout the MLB.

              The investments they made were made at the low-cost but high reward because that is how one becomes more likely to succeed. Doesn’t mean that such investments will instantly, or always, succeed, but it better risk profile than overspending on an Albert Pujols to satisfy either owner’s arrogance, after a lucrative TV deal, or listening to clamoring fans that have no fiduciary duties at all in their positions as “Chief Beer Guzzler.”

              ” I would assume all or most MLB clubs are constantly reinvesting and upgrading their facilities and personnel. ”

              You assume a great deal…you know all 30 teams in intimate detail? All indeed have investing (players as assets) and upgrading (from minor maintenance to complex overhauls), but how many are, at present, doing a $300M+ plus renovation?

              Have large interest payments on the acquisition of the team? (Ricketts bought out Sam Zell…you know the particulars of that deal? It’s financing structure? Debt to equity ratios?)

              And You STILL do not know their entire financial situation, as much as you think you do. Unless you have a balance sheet, income statement, how do you COMPLETELY know what are the particulars?

              You don’t. More variables are missing than even your bright, energetic mind is able to recognize.

              So your point was not missed. But you “assumed” a lot as you pointed out.

    • CubFan Paul

      “The Ricketts will receive an additional $25 Million next year from MLB TV contracts”

      Making it $50M total from the MLB TV deal. If that money disappears into Ricketts’ “every dollar in” bullshit then it would be nice if the media & writers pointed it out so that fans know what’s realling going on.

      • Brett

        With a $500 million renovation project on tap, I don’t think it would be very difficult for that money to disappear and technically “go into the organization.”

        • CubFan Paul

          By that logic Brett the payroll will only shrink from $105M and we’d be the Royals or whatever small market that waiting on prospects to compete.

        • anonymous-ly

          Brett you think that the additional MLB revenues should or will be spent on the construction project? That’s insane. For one thing the renovation of the stadium itself is supposed to cost $300M. The new video board is supposed to bring in $20M a year. I would imagine if they were to be creative a sponsorship deal for the video board only for 15 years would pay for the entire renovation of the stadium. The other $200M for the Hotel is strictly a profit making business venture and shouldn’t be calculated into the renovation.

          The Ricketts are not going to put up a significant amount of cash for either project, Much of it will be financed and guaranteed over multiple years with sponsorship deals.

    • beerhelps

      2 things:
      are you daddies4angels on twitter?

  • Chris

    Any chance the videos from the event might appear online? If so, could you put them up Brett?

    • Brett

      Not likely. Taking video at the presentation was prohibited, and the Cubs usually don’t share these videos for outside publication (which is understandable, because they like to keep them as “treats” for season ticket holders).

      I’d say there’s a good chance that a couple of them will show up at the Cubs Convention, though.

  • The Logos

    I was at the session on Saturday evening, and there a few a things I took note of. First, was that Crane Kenney was not afraid to bash the rooftop owners. In fact, he joked at the start about the people in the balcony seats, saying something to the tune of, “You guys in the balcony remind me of the rooftops. That at least tells me you didn’t pay to get in.” I noted at least 3 other times he mentioned the rooftop owners as an obstacle, even quoting Tom Ricketts as saying he would not invest in a $500 million rebuild while having $25 million “leaking out” to the rooftops every year.

    I thought it was interesting how Epstein would not back down, either. It takes a lot of gumption to stand in front of a group of season ticket holders and continue to ask them to “be patient”, as he did several times. He was even asked in the Q&A (which was hosted by Jim Deshaies on Saturday). by one fan what his strategy was for winning more games in 2014. He kind of gave a shoulder-shrug and basically said, we are sticking to the plan and staying patient – not giving up the future for short-term gains.

    Also, I don’t know if anyone paid attention to the tele-prompter, but Kenney’s speech was written out word for word; meanwhile, Epstein’s comments were done in more of an outline form. He was much more off-the-cuff.

    • Jon

      Funny, coming from the dumbass that entered into a 20 year contract with the rooftops.

      • BT

        Dear Lord, you’ve really got it in for this guy don’t you? You think it was Kenney’s idea to sign the deal with the rooftop owners? He worked out the details, but it was the Trib that wanted the deal done. It’s like blaming the priest if your marriage doesn’t work out.

        I have no feelings one way or the other for Kenney but your irrational hatred of him is really quite humorous.

  • Diamondrock

    Gary Sinise is a huge Cubs fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if he narrated that thing for free.

  • Jim

    I understand this was for the season ticket holders, but this all sounds like good information/PR for the casual fan as well. I get that some were invited to spread the good word (since Brett’s now besties with Jed and all), but I’d like to see more.

    • Brett

      They would probably say that’s what the Convention is for. Understood, though.

    • Jon

      I don’t think Theo and Jed want to hear screaming from mad idiots like………………


  • justinjabs

    Jed Hoyer reads Bleacher Nation!

    • Mike F

      Man of good taste, distinction and well… needs to get out of the house more?// Just kidding on the lat one.

  • Cecil


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  • cub2014

    the cubs had the 14th highest payroll in
    2013. To have the highest payroll they would
    have to spent an additional $55m (not counting
    the crazy payroll of the Dodgers and Yankees).

    Our payroll was $107m for 2013 without spending
    any additional (just replacing Gregg,Navarro) they
    should have a payroll of around $72m for 2014 ($72m
    included soriano’s $18m which we wont have in 2015).

    So to get payroll back to $107m they can spend
    $35m that will probably put the cubs lower than
    14th for 2014.

    I would spend (remember 18m will come off in
    2015): Choo $17m CarGo $7m (difference between
    schierholtz and Cargo for 2014) Tanaka $12m (not
    counting the $80m posting fee) Kazmir or some
    starter $8-10m. Which would increase payroll in 2014
    by $44m to $121mil.

    In 2015 we would lose $18m and add $8m so 2015
    payroll goes to $111m. So to have a the top payroll
    they would have to spend an additional $50m so we
    are set pretty well for the next 5-8 years payroll wise.
    Its time to spend.

    These signings and trade would be good now and
    for the future.

  • cub2014

    my point is we really need to spend $35-$40m
    to be relevant and if we wanted to be like a large
    market team we would have to double our
    current payroll. After Soriano’s is gone we would
    have to triple our payroll.

    Spend smart but it is time to spend.

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