epstein on sports talk liveChicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein was on Sports Talk Live on CSN last night, addressing a variety of offseason Cubs topics. If you missed his appearance, you can catch most of it on video from CSN here, here, and here. The videos total about 25 minutes, so, if you’ve got the time, they’re worth a viewing. It’s a deep, wide-ranging discussion.

For those who haven’t the time or inclination, here are some of the things Epstein had to say (the things I found most interesting, anyway), in all of their paraphrased goodness …

  • On the distinction between a Japanese player’s posting price and his salary, in terms of the Cubs’ spending restrictions, Epstein said, “It all comes out of the same pool of money.” That seems like a pretty black-and-white rebuke of what Joel Sherman and Gordon Wittenmyer (who asked Epstein the question) have reported, but I’d be cautious about putting too much into any of this (on either side). The complexities of the financial situation are still emerging (over the course of several years), and it’s probably not quite as simple as saying “the posting fee is like free money that the Cubs can spend without any restrictions whatsoever” or saying “the posting fee and the salaried contract are identical in every way.” The gray in between is probably where the truth lies, and it could be a while yet before we have a better understanding of how these things work. Hopefully by then, it’s all academic – which is to say, hopefully within a couple years, the Cubs are generating so much revenue that the restrictions no longer matter or no longer exist.
  • As for Masahiro Tanaka, specifically, Epstein said he doesn’t like to talk about specific players out there because it can put you at a competitive disadvantage, but he said that the Cubs are in the market for impact pitching, and they prefer guys in the prime or about to enter their prime, who can be controlled for a long time. So, like, Tanaka. Epstein said the Cubs would be as aggressive as they can be on guys like that, assuming their internal reports match what the industry seems to think about the player.
  • On Jeff Samardzija, Epstein didn’t say anything new. The Cubs like him, want to keep him, but they have to be flexible to do the best thing for the organization. “It’s very possible” that Samardzija will still be with the Cubs come Opening Day.
  • On why fans should pay to watch the 2014 Cubs, given that they might not be competitive, even if those fans understand and appreciate the long-term plan: Epstein said that it’s enjoyable to be on the ground floor, and stick with an organization/players through the ups and downs, because it’s then more rewarding at the end (as opposed to folks who bail now, and come back only when the Cubs are dominating). Epstein has said this before, and philosophically, I agree. But it’s a contentious point among fans, so I’m just going to leave it alone.
  • On the rebuilding effort’s progress: Epstein didn’t want to put a number on it, but, since he was asked, he said things were maybe about 50% of the way to where the front office wants to be. The scouting and development staff is in place and effective, young talent is being accumulated, and the big league roster is a work in progress.
  • Epstein wouldn’t say that the organization was “bad” when he took over, but he would describe it as “unhealthy.” He referenced signing win-now type players when the organization wasn’t actually ready to win (and deferring payments to them into future years), signing amateurs with deferred payments (that was happening?), and focusing too much on the next day’s headlines (i.e., making sure the team “looked” good, even if it wasn’t a realistic pennant contender) at the expense of doing something sustainable. And people question why I generally speak so positively and deferentially about Epstein and this front office? It’s because they get it, in a way “it” hasn’t been got in 25+ years in Chicago.
  • Epstein on the necessity of the rebuild, and the pain of it (I’ll quote this one): “It had gotten to the point where [the organization] was really unhealthy. So what we’re doing now is having to strip some of that away, in a lot of different ways – financially, and in terms of our scouting and player development. We’re resetting baselines so we can build it back up and make it healthy. It had to happen. You can get on me for being the one to do it, that’s fine. But I promise you, it had to happen. We don’t like having days like [Tuesday] happen where there are big trades and free agent signings, and we’re sitting it out. You think we want to be there sitting it out? No. But there will be a day really soon where we’re right in the middle of that because we have more financial flexibility, because we have lots of talented young players and assets that everyone wants around the game, and we’re going to be the ones dictating all of those big moves.”
  • The talent and the financial flexibility are coming, and Epstein once again referenced the business plan and the baseball plan more or less syncing up. “We can’t make time go faster.”
  • When the show referenced Baseball America’s recent, very specific farm system rankings, I love that Epstein corrected that Baseball America didn’t rank the Cubs’ farm system 5th. They were ranked 5th in terms of Major League ready prospects, which is a pretty important distinction (one I highlighted when that list came out).
  • Epstein was extremely confident in the Cubs’ ability to significantly increase their television revenue take (although it was a little unclear if he was speaking broadly about TV revenues for the Cubs when both the WGN and CSN deals are up, or if he meant specifically the WGN portion, which available now for bidding, but covers less than half of the games, and will probably be renegotiated again in 2019). It was clear that Epstein couldn’t get into specifics – and Gordon Wittenmyer was pushing hard for specifics – but he said, “trust me – you would want to buy stock in the Cubs’ TV rights if you could. You definitely would.” That’s a message that’s easy to say, but if you watch Epstein (it’s in part three up there, around the 4 minute mark) deliver the message, you can tell he really believes it and is frustrated that he can’t say more to “prove” it. I am suddenly re-energized about the Cubs’ ability to generate more revenue in the near-term from the new TV deal. There was always going to be an increase, but maybe the Cubs really will be able to bump things up significantly.
  • Speaking of which, Epstein noted that he has come to believe that the Cubs have been, in the past, very dependent on ticket sales for revenue. With a new TV deal in place, he thinks that will change. In other words, once the Cubs have the kind of TV deal Epstein believes they should have in a market like Chicago, the team’s revenues will become largely fixed (and you won’t have the considerable ebb and flow of dollars to the extent the Cubs have apparently had in the past).
  • Epstein intimated that, although there are unique and difficult circumstances right now, the Cubs will eventually be able to get back into the top tier of teams in terms of payroll. But that happens only after the business plans and baseball plans are hitting on all cylinders.
  • Epstein said the morale in the minor leagues right now is unbelievably good. He says the minor leaguers look at each other and see how good their teammates are, and think “it’s a big secret” just how good the Cubs are going to be down the line.
  • Important quote: “There’s no way I could make our business side happier than if I put a winning team on the field.” Put it in flashing lights and remember it: everyone wants the Cubs to win. It’s better business, even if you don’t care a lick about the ethereal qualities of being a fan. So, if you want to see the Cubs win because you love them and you’re a passionate fan, just know that you’re on the same side as the Cubs’ front office and the business guys (and who cares what their reasons are?). Everyone wants the Cubs to win, and win consistently for a long time.
  • Napercal

    When Theo refers to the “business” side, is that Crane Kenney? If so, that’s not a confidence builder. Since the Tribune used the Cubs for programming on WGN, I’m sure that it was a really bad deal for the Cubs. From the business side, the t.v. and radio contracts are simply a matter of the expiration of the current contracts. However, the mishandling of the stadium renovations is indicative that whoever is handling the “business” side still does not have their act together. Clearly, the baseball side is doing all the right things. Now go sign Granderson for 3 years to take the pressure off the young guys and allow Almora to ease into the CF job.

  • Funn Dave

    “Everyone wants the Cubs to win, and win consistently for a long time.”

    Except for the people that want to tank for draft picks….

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Dave… I will just shake my head at the fact that is the correlation you come up with. Hopefully if they succeed, you will surely enjoy Bryant, Baez, and Almora and still bitch about them being on our team. If they fail, come back and bash everyone. There is a higher probability of some of them failing then all of them making it. That is for sure, but the more s*** you throw at a wall, the more s*** sticks. Enjoy the upcoming season!

  • OlderStyle

    Not to be contentious, but I’m curious. Several times in this article the word “rebuilding” is used. When did Theo’s description of what they are trying to accomplish in Chicago shift to “rebuilding”. Upon taking office, he stressed not rebuilding (which incidentally, gave us all hope for a quick turnaround) but “building”. The tone and conversations over the past two years have certainly changed flavors.

    • CubFan Paul

      NICE pickup.

    • C. Steadman

      that is certainly interesting..good catch

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d have to re-watch – I’m not sure he said rebuilding. The panelists did, and I do. Epstein doesn’t like to use that word, which I think is a little silly. It’s a rebuilding. So I call it a rebuilding. That’s part of the paraphrasing, I guess. What matters is what he’s talking about – which is a rebuilding, even if referenced by another name.

      • OlderStyle

        Regardless of whether Theo has ever uttered the actual “r” word in public, he’s allowing the journalists to use it in the context. That, to me, is tantamount to admitting it’s reality in usage.
        The bottom line is that I feel a bit misled by what he pretty strongly implied by “building” two years ago. I also am cognizant that, perhaps, Theo was either misled or misjudged the timeline himself. Either way I’m still a bit pissed at the org for the mistake or the deception.
        But, still at the end of the day, I’m a Cubs fan and these guys seem very competent and driven to succeed.
        Go Cubs in 2016!

        • mjhurdle

          “”The Cubs have never had the guts to completely blow up their roster and build it the right way,” an unnamed NL executive tells Kaplan. “They have to have a plan for sustained success instead of always trying to patchwork a roster for a surprising season.”” – DEC 2011 ( in reference to the Cubs plans to not pursue Fielder because they were gutting the roster and building from the ground up
          ““I didn’t use the word rebuilding, and I won’t. Scouting and player development is the key to year-in and year-out success, not the occasional lucky hit. There are no definitive answers in this game, no shortcuts. When you think you’ve got it all figured out, you can get humbled very quickly.”” – Epstien DEC 2011
          “There’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be, but the goal is to lay a foundation for long-term success and begin playing baseball in October regularly..” – Epstien DEC 2011
          “we can’t just hang our (hats) on that and then ignore all the work that goes in, building the infrastructure for success down the line.” – Epstien JUN 2012

          Just in a quick look back at his quotes, he seems to have been fairly consistent in his approach since the day he started.
          I think the problem you have is your own expectations that you created when Theo started. Because of Theo’s success with Boston, and all the hullabaloo over him coming to the Cubs, it was easy to get sucked into the “He is going to save us!! In just a couple years we will be the best team in the Central!”
          But he never said that. he never put some sort of hard timeline in place. He has simply stressed that they are building the infrastructure (scouting, minors, coaching, etc) so that the Cubs will be in a position to win every year.
          We can debate whether they are doing this the right way or not, but they have been fairly consistent with their message.

    • JulioZuleta

      Can I ask what the difference is between “building” or “rebuilding” a bad franchise? If you have a condemned house and you decide you need to move, does it make a difference whether you “build” a new one somewhere else or “rebuild” the one that is no good?

      • CubFan Paul

        “Can I ask what the difference is between “building” or “rebuilding” a bad franchise?”

        Don’t jump on him. It was Theo who was quick to make the clarification/distinction between the two..

      • OlderStyle

        Perhaps you should email Mr. Esptein.

        • JulioZuleta

          What I’m saying is, there’s no difference between the two, so why does it matter which he said? If anyone thought that it wasn’t a rebuild from the start, they were very naïve. Are you going to blame a guy for avoiding the “rebuild” word at his initial presser? Grasping at straws on this one.

          • OlderStyle

            If you’re saying we should not take note of what Theo stresses to say or not say then we have a philosophical divide that we won’t convince each other of either way.
            Yes, I will hold the President of an organization accountable for what they promise to deliver. Hardly straws in my book.
            The parallel fronts and building/rebuilding debate has been run ad nauseam on here but I’m of the camp that says you can compete and build a farm system for the sustaining success at the same time if you’re supposedly a big market org.
            Can I add that I wasn’t trying to be contentious?

            • JulioZuleta

              Yeah, that’s fine. I agress with that. Has nothing to do with the semantical issue you brought up.

            • Chef Brian

              Older Style that’s super easy to say from your chair, but unless you know the particulars of the Cubs financial situation how can you make such bold statements. I’m sure Theo planned to try to keep the Cubs competitive during the rebuild but plans change. There have been a lot of hiccups for the Cubs especially on the business side since Theo took over. The organization was unhealthy on many levels and there was no easy fix. I don’t care who you brought in as president Beane, Friedman, Coletti, etc it was going to take time . Theo always preached patience and he has been good about taking the heat from the press. No one expected this to be a quick turn around. I mean did you see the end of the Trib era? I just don’t understand the harping on every word Theo says or doesn’t say. The Cubs are better now as an organization than when Theo took over. We just have to have the courage to soldier on.

              • OlderStyle

                Yes, it may be easy to say from my perspective but as a fan I’m afforded that, same as you to me.
                I’m not sure what bold statements I made other than observations.
                As far as Theo’s plans, well, as they say; the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m convinced that he’s a very smart and competent baseball ops guy and was really happy the Cubs hired him. I’m sure he wants to bring a World Championship to Chicago. That doesn’t mean he’s without shortcomings or hasn’t made mistakes that I can be unhappy about as a fan. I really don’t get all this Theo apologetics. Is it because as Cubs fans we need to believe that he’s the ultimate answer after all the desperate years of futility? He’s just a guy trying to do a job the same as a lot of people I know.
                Why would Theo stress the distinction of building/rebuilding? He’s a lawyer and lawyer’s are not known to be careless about the words they use. He said that for a very distinct reason. Whether that was to build hope or because he did have a specific timeline in mind, we don’t know. I do remember in the heady days of fall 2012 talk on here about the Cubs being able to compete for the division by 2014. That is sadly not the case. That has been extended to at least 2016. I think I have a right to be upset about that. In fact, I can be upset and still be a hopeful Cubs fan that it will get turned around eventually.
                I did remember the end of the Trib era. I almost gave up total hope on the Cubs in the 90’s. Of course, the end of the Trib era gave us the 2003 season.
                The Cubs having a better organization now then when Theo took over (read: top farm system), is little consolation to a fan that’s been waiting 30+ years for a winning *MLB* team.
                I have the courage to keep on, I have come this far. I remember teams from the 70’s and 90’s (the low points for me as a fan). But, to borrow the phrase and apologies if I offend anyone, I do believe that dissent can also be a form of patriotism.

                • OlderStyle

                  *heady days of fall 2011*

                • YourResidentJag

                  Great post.

                • mjhurdle

                  “Why would Theo stress the distinction of building/rebuilding? He’s a lawyer and lawyer’s are not known to be careless about the words they use. He said that for a very distinct reason. Whether that was to build hope or because he did have a specific timeline in mind, we don’t know.”

                  Actually, we do know.
                  “I didn’t use the word rebuilding, and I won’t. Scouting and player development is the key to year-in and year-out success, not the occasional lucky hit. There are no definitive answers in this game, no shortcuts. When you think you’ve got it all figured out, you can get humbled very quickly.”

  • Ballgame

    Thanks for including that Theo interview. I think the way he answers those questions is re-assuring in that he believes in what he is doing. He treated Wittenmeyer and Telander about them talking non-stop crap and it was epic when he told Wittenmeyer “I know you recently just became an expert on this, but you’re wrong.” ESPN Instant Classic!

  • Ed

    Theo looking a little chunky,

    • Tony S.

      I was thinking “aged,” but yeah, he doesn’t look so much the wunderkind he did when he first got here, does he? Human, indeed.

      • J.F.Edwards

        Grey hairs are the smartest hairs.

        Anyone else notice the deafening silence when Theo started talking about redundancy and the need to use the Winter Meetings as a chance to ponder a backup CF or a 7th or 8th starter because “that’s what playoff teams do”?

        I’m not sure anyone else in the room had considered the fact that the reason the Cardinals keep coming up with “voodoo magic” is because they are prepared for just those sort of scenarios.

        And they’re prepared every. (GOD-BLESS-ED.) Year.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m beginning to wonder if all of these “believe in the plan” posts are legit? Maybe Theo has a team of underlings scouring through al the blogs and disseminating the mantra. For a person my age (mid 60’s) waiting until 2016 to see a club that contends is like an eternity. At this point I seriously wonder if I will simply follow all the others who have died waiting. One thing is certain. Theo’s reputation as a wonder boy genius etc. will be destroyed if he doesn’t get the job done. I am waiting for a crack in the amour to appear. A rift between Ricketts and Theo develops over money, or the lack there of. I guess if things go down dirty the Theo could get a job as a bible salesman.

  • ruby2626

    just thinking out loud, it might be best if the broadcasting revenue was tied to the ratings from the previous year. Sign your long term deal but maybe what the team actually receives should fluctuate year to year and be dependant on your ratings. Seems that the Cubs are at a disadvantage negotiating right now because the ratings have to be low since the team stinks and fan apathy is pretty high. Once the team starts competiting every year ratings will skyrocket and the team should be able to profit by it. From a fans point of view this would be a good thing because it would give the team incentive to spend and put the best team out there.

  • Tony S.

    I haven’t read a single response to this one, and don’t know if I will. Everyone’s going to have their take, mostly very strong opinions I’m sure. And haters gonna hate.

    But thank you for this summation, Brett, I sincerely appreciate it. And I agree that Theo, if only Theo, does indeed seem to get “it.” I am very excited by what you’ve put out here, and will try and find the time to watch myself.

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    The videos are definitely worth watching. Theo is great at thinking on his feet (or in the chair).

    Count me in as a believer. I’ve been a Cubs fan longer than most of you have been alive, and have seen the mismanagement that’s been going on for years and years and years (with the exception of Holland in the 60s and Green in the 80s). Theo is the best thing that’s happened to the Cubs in my experience. The farm system is the strongest it’s ever been. I just hope to be around for the payoff.

  • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com cms0101

    I watched the footage of the interview and without splitting hairs on the verbiage he used when he was hired versus yesterday, I still see the same clear message. He went into a little more detail about the things that were wrong when he arrived. He talked about the players in the minors, and what their general sentiment is towards the organization’s future. And we’ve all seen the improvement in the minor league depth. Baseball seasons are long, and losing seasons even feel longer. But we’ve arrived at the moment where some of the young impact players are going to start to claw their way to Wrigley. It may not end up being a playoff season, but 2014 will be pivotal in that we’ll know by the end of the season who’s ready to come up, who already has come up, and who isn’t quite ready or won’t be ready soon. Maybe one or two additional holes at the ML level get filled. I get the general message that detractors have. Why does the ML team have to suffer while they rebuild the farm? There is validity to some of that thought process. But I like what they’ve done, I like the vision that has been laid out, and I look forward to having a winning organization, long term, very soon.

  • willis

    All I know is year three of baseball under this regime will be the worst year yet at the major league level. I can’t say that things are just awesome right now.

    It’s a 100% prospect egg basket, which is a dangerous game. But, is what it is. No money, no additions, no progress up top. For all of us fans, I just hope these minor league players can be as impactful as Ricketts and company are banking on. Otherwise, well I’m sure they’ll find a way to spin it so the suckers still have faith.

    Ugly and getting uglier.

    • bbmoney

      “All I know is year three of baseball under this regime will be the worst year yet at the major league level. ”

      How can you possibly know that?

      • willis

        What have you seen that shows us any different? Shark will be traded soon, there have been no offensive additions and there aren’t any major league ready impact bats in our system coming into 2014. Bryant and Baez are close, but I get the feeling they’ll get a sniff, but their big “impact” will be in 2015 and beyond.

        And the rhetoric has been “no money no money no money” “we’re not ready we’re not ready we’re not ready”…how does any of that speak to an upgrade at the major league level? They aren’t going to spend any big money this offseason and are looking to tank to the #1 pick in 2015. It’s pretty plain to see.

        • bbmoney

          I just feel like I could make a lot of money if I had this crystal ball of yours that lets you speak with such certainty about the future.

          It’s December. The beginning of December at that. Shark hasn’t been traded yet. Not all FAs are signed. We don’t know Rizzo and Castro will struggle again. We don’t know how 2014 will play out. will the Cubs be bad….probably. Will they lose more than 100 games again like in 2012…probably not. Is it possible, sure, especially since we don’t know what’s going to happen between now and April.

          • willis

            Yes, you wish you had my crystal ball. It tells all. Didn’t you know, I was the first to predict this great white death ice storm that is about to cripple my city. Crystal ball rules.

            Seriously though, I just take what I know and what I hear. Players all over are getting inked, players that could improve this team. The cubs are in on none of them. They are going into the meetings actively listening on their best pitcher, a guy that could be an anchor for them. They’ll find a partner and trade him. I don’t know what offensive additions can be made at this point, so the lineup will be a combination of Castro, Rizzo, Barney, Lake, Schierholtz, Sweeney, Castillo, and Murphy/Valbuena…pretty damn terrible. With Bogusevic, Cottaras, Vitters, Murphy/Valbuena and maybe Watkins on the bench. Hooray? Starting staff of Jax, Wood, Arrieta, ?, ?…eh?

            I could be wrong, but it just is the feeling I get from what we’ve seen and heard. Not ready to add pieces. But you’re right, it’s still somewhat early and April is far away. Not looking so good at this point.

            • hansman

              “great white death ”

              Well that’s just racist.

              [tounge in cheek]

              • willis

                Ha, if it ain’t racist, it ain’t the south!

                You should see this place, pure chaos. The essentials in what could be a power outing ice storm are beer, wine, bourbon, a lighter, a few candles and a chick you can stomach for 24-48 hours with no power. Simple. But you’d think it was the end of all things at the grocery and gas stations.

                • hansman

                  I was in central Texas and we had an ice storm, shut the damn place down and there were fist fights at Wal-Mart over bottled water.

            • bbmoney

              Those are all legitimate concerns and thoughts which I agree with and share to a certain extent. If nothing else much is done, the roster is certainly…not good …… and 100 loss possibilities would loom large.

              Hopefully there are some moves coming, and while they may not be the marquee signings, there should still be plenty of ways out there to at least marginally improve the roster.

              • Voice of Reason

                Why improve the roster? Then we wouldn’t lose as many games. The more games we lose the better draft pick we get.

                Plus, who cares if you lose 100 games or finish .500?

                This team will improve greatly in a couple of years. Thats when we will see the jumps from 100 loses to 80 to 70…..

    • cubsfan08

      “No money, no additions, no progress up top.”

      Crap – I didn’t realize Opening Day is tomorrow!!!

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Prospect egg basket? What the crap? Look the beauty here is that we have all our eggs spread into a lot of baskets, which baskets historically and consistently had rates of return that are in our favor.

      Remember all those years when we were just waiting on that one guy to save us? Yeah there was Kevin Orie. Corey Patterson. Felix Pie. Doug Glanville. Ben Christensen. Brooks Kieschnick,

      It’s like in the past we were investing in single stocks, and we got Circuit City more often than we got Amazon.com

      But today we’ve got our money invested in historically high yield mutual funds. Hey some of those individual stocks in those large funds may take a dive, but the average is set to go way up in the long run.

      We’re going to get rich slow and steady like a good investor.

  • Chris

    Theo Epstein: Swoon…

  • Brains

    Those grey sideburns give him an air of distinguishment, no doubt!

  • Wrigleyville,nv

    All I can say is I hope all the whiners out there appreciate how completely and succinctly Brett broke that down for us. That you can read that much info in the time it took and immediately commence complaining says alot about your ability to APPRECIATE in general. Your opinion is therefore instantly irrelevant, sorry. Thanks Brett (standing-O).

  • Dan Rivera

    I hope that the Cubs continue this approach and let “The Process” play out. Theo can use code words like unhealthy or whatever but lets be real, our team was terrible and the future looked bleak. Theo took over a organization that had a $125M payroll, 20 games under .500, weak farm system, no long term plan in place, and scouted like it was still 1950.

    Also, I think Theo and Co did not fully understand what they were getting themselves into. And how could they? Its just very hard to get things done in this city unless you know someone with juice. If Jerry Reinsdorf wants to modify his staduim he gives former Gov Jim Thompson a call and boom its done. The Cubs do not have that luxury so they have to get EVERYTHING approved.

    That being said punting the 2014 season and the very notion that the team might punt the 2015 season is still depressing and a tuff pill to swallow. Im just trying to rationalize everything and provide some perspective.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      But Ricketts bashes the President during the election insanity and thus pisses off the mayor. Nice move. That was real smart.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Except that didn’t happen.

        • caryatid62

          Note the use of the word “THEIR.”

          “The Mayor was livid when he read that the Ricketts were going to launch a $10 million campaign against President Obama — with the type of racially motivated ads that are insulting to the President and the Presidential Campaign,” an Emanuel aide told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He is also livid with their blatant hypocrisy.”

          Publicly, Emanuel blasted the effort, which planned to link Obama to incendiary comments Wright has made in the past. “America is too great a country with too great a future for the content that they’re talking about. And it’s insulting to the president. It’s insulting to the country,” he said.

          The Ricketts family owns the Chicago Cubs, and Joe’s son Tom is chairman of the team. The bombshell report couldn’t come at a worse time for the Ricketts, who are seeking public funds to renovate 98-year-old Wrigley Field. Emanuel has a plan to use amusement tax revenues and other incentives to pay for the renovations to the park, which did not have night lights until 1988.

          Emanuel is reportedly refusing to take the Ricketts’ calls.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I note it, in a quote from an anonymous aide, who could be speaking about anyone in the Ricketts family. Not exactly a smoking gun – just a hasty, unclear quote.

            This is all getting away from the point that we know who was involved in that issue, and it had nothing to do with the kids.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Brett, Bloomberg.com article dated May 18, 2012 Titled: Cubs owner Ricketts’ Anti-Obama Plot Risks Stadium Growth. I guess what happened depends on which cable news network a person considers to be truthful.

      • mjhurdle

        Joe Ricketts has no involvement with the Cubs though.
        To say that he is the “Cubs Owner” is a bit of a stretch that was probably used because “Cubs Owner says crazy things” is a better headline than “retired rich guy says crazy things”.

        • aaronb

          No involvement other than the only person in the Ricketts family with money. Without Joe Ricketts the kids couldn’t have bought the Mesa Cubs.

          • BT

            I’d like to have “no money” like Tom Ricketts. While you are correct that the kids could not have afforded the Chicago Cubs without their dad, the rest of your statement is pretty far off the mark.

            • aaronb

              Those kids are less “Self Made” than Paris Hilton. To act like the Cubs have no correlation to Joe Ricketts is beyond disingenuous.

              • BT

                I didn’t say self made. YOU said they had no money. If you want to toss around terms like disingenuous, you’d best be careful.

                You are also being comically unfair to the career of Tom Ricketts. Yes he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, yes he could have majored in basket weaving in college and still not starved, but he has been a successful business man in his own right


                • hansman

                  Pretty sure that Todd and Tom got similar breaks in life, yet one is a multi-millionaire with his own business and the other runs a bike shop.

                • Brains

                  he was born with ten silver spoons in his mouth and he doesn’t like to share. now his bad direction is giving poor theo silver hair.

                  • Brains

                    that poem was for you Brett, i feel creative today

              • mjhurdle

                it is hard to take your partly defensible argument that joe has influence with the Cubs seriously when you combine it with the humorously uninformed statement of “Those kids are less “Self Made” than Paris Hilton.”

                • hansman

                  Meh, it’s wealth-ism (if that is a word) at it’s finest.

              • roz

                That’s wholly untrue. Tom Ricketts has been very successful in his own right.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        I stand corrected but as they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Personally Emanuel doesn’t strike me as the type of guy you would want to piss off. The article points out that Rahm was livid after it was revealed what was going on. I’ve got to think that he must feel some animosity for the son also.


    I too get caught up in the emotion of the retool, rebuild, build….. When the emotion of the whole thing starts getting to me I just think of things as that family vacation we’ve all taken….
    We’re the kids that mom and dad (FO) shoved into the family van and said that we’re going on a super cool vacation. Yep, us kids bitched and complained that it was going to be a long drive. Mom and dad (FO) told us a little white lie about how far we’re going to drive, and keep reminding us about how super cool the vacation will be. Half way there…. we’re bitching and complaining and jabbing each other with pencils. Mom and dad would love to leave us alongside the road at some point’(s), but keep reminding us that it won’t be much longer… just a little further… “Are we there yet”…. Almost… After a long painful ride we arrived at the super cool vacation spot to find that we have all day passes at Six Flags and head of the line privileges for the best ride (no more waiting in line for us).
    That’s my twisted take on this little trip of ours. Yep, I hope we see all day passes and head of the line privileges for the next 50 years! Hope we don’t stop for a piss break… I’ll pee in a bottle!

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      You can wake up now. That was a beautiful story. I guess Chevy Chase wasn’t the Dad.


        Good one woody!

  • YourResidentJag
  • Cusifer

    The problem I have with “the plan” is that it fails to acknowledge the importance of veteran leadership. The minors will be stocked with big strong excellent prospects who will be promoted to the majors and find a team devoid of veteran leadership. To me, this is what played out last year with Castro and Rizzo. Soriano was the only veteran we had and the years long trade rumors swirling around his head made it hard for him to be that guy. We need a Matt Holliday, a Russell Martin, a Chris Carpenter, or even a Coco Crisp, etc. to lead. IMO those sorts of players aren’t just needed to bolster a win-now team, they’re needed to mentor the young prospects during bad years. The failure of last year’s team to drive in runs I think is directly tied to this.

    • CubFan Paul

      “The problem I have with “the plan” is that it fails to acknowledge the importance of veteran leadership”

      ‘The plan’ is bullshit. There’s enough emerging talent from the minors now that they should be out seeking veteran players to surround the kids/core (Castro, Welly, Rizzo, Lake, Olt, Watkins, Vitters).

      “The failure of last year’s team to drive in runs I think is directly tied to this”

      The stat guys don’t think so.

    • mjhurdle

      So hitting with RISP is directly tied to not having a veteran player?
      What about when Soriano and Dejesus were there and they still didn’t hit with RISP?

      I like the idea of the magical effect of veteran players and how all the young players just get better for some reason because some guy that has been in the league a long time is on the roster, but for some reason i have to believe that the Cubs were bad last year because they didn’t have a lot of talented players, not because they didn’t have enough old people on the team.

      • CubFan Paul

        “they didn’t have a lot of talented players”


      • Cusifer

        I’m in no way saying last year’s team would have been “good”. I’m saying these youngins need a steadying force in the locker room. Two guys that were just waiting to get dealt all year don’t exactly match that description. How are you supposed to be a leader when you could be Tampa or New York the next morning? Who do you think Rizzo and Castro looked to as their mentors? I’m not really saying anything earth-shattering here, but I do think management hasn’t spent enough effort to make sure those guys are there.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Actually, the front office is very keen on having veteran leadership. You can get those guys later in the offseason, and you needn’t sign $50 million contracts to get it.

      • Cusifer

        I hope they find the right guys. From the bleachers and through the TV (obviously not a great perspective), the leaders are hard to pick out and root for. Maybe the clubhouse is full of them, and we all just can’t see it.