keith olbermann worstI’ve long passed the point where I have an opinion on Keith Olbermann. I kinda liked him on SportsCenter, and I occasionally find him sharp and on-point when he diverts from sports discussion. He just kind of exists, and I don’t think about him much.

And then he did this:

Watching Olbermann flail to recap the Cubs/rooftops situation while labeling the Cubs the “worst persons in the sports world” of the day yesterday, I can’t help but wonder: was he always this blowhard-y, and I just didn’t know any better, because I assumed he was better informed on the issue at-hand than I was?

Because now that he’s touched on something I tend to think I understand pretty well, he sounded like an SNL caricature of a talking head, speaking miles out of his depth. (Putting a video board up in Wrigley is equivalent to putting up a video board atop a pyramid in Giza – this is a thing he said.) He completed the caricature by reading recent statements by Cubs VP of Communications Julian Green in a mocking tone. Blowhard Pro-Tip: if you don’t have a good response for something, or don’t have the time to/interest in digging into the nuance, read someone’s statements in a way (complete with “humorous” inflection changes, and facial contortions) that implies that someone is an idiot. It’ll totally make *you* look like the smart guy!

Mostly I just don’t get what Olbermann was going for here. It appears that he was set off by what he perceived to be a renewed “threat to move” by the Cubs, and somehow worked backwards to make that into the Ricketts Family is dumb, the rooftops are great, Wrigley Field is perfect as is, and people come to Wrigley Field only to see Wrigley Field. I’m guessing it was simply designed to be the kind of low-hanging-fruit rant that gets attention (ta-da), but it’s quite a shame. On some of the substance, Olbermann and I actually agree – the implausibility/undesirability of the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field, for one – but that all gets lost in a morass of pomp and glib sound bytes.

Olbermann’s real crime? Choosing the Wrigley Field situation as the predicate to declaring them the worst persons in the sports world. There are so many better avenues, what with the recently awful stretch and the ugly projections for 2014.

… then again, I guess they’re not “the worst” in those respects! Thanks, Houston!

  • DarthHater

    I have always believed that a televised steel cage death match between Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly would be both immensely entertaining and immensely beneficial to the planet.

    • EQ76

      Olbermann yes, O’Reilly no..

      • Eternal Pessimist


  • Cornish Heat

    Well he’s clearly clueless.

  • Brocktoon

    He’s not wrong about Tom Ricketts being the worst person in the world though.

    • bbmoney

      Oh yeah I totally agree…….

    • SalukiHawk

      Ok, so humor me. Make your arguments that he is the “worst person in the world.”

      • Funn Dave

        Worst person in the *sports* world, and it’s not meant to be taken literally.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Yes…rich people are evil…it’s just so simple(ton).

  • Jon

    Olberman is a shock jock. By giving this the slightest attention, you are proving exactly what he craves.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, I think this was a smart move by Olbermann. Making bad comments about the Cubs will make waves and get people to watch.

    • Jon


    • YourResidentJag

      Olbermann is no different than Skip Bayless, some of the personalities on the Score, Jim Rome, or lots of the new broadcast personalities we see out there. He was wrong about the Ricketts being evil, right on Wrigley Field (since BTW the Ricketts do own the property) and right about the mess that is the Cubs organization for years….but it was his partisan politics that led him astray.

  • cavemancubbie

    I don’t know why anyone would pay attention to the psedo-intellectuals, that inhabit the media world, like rats in a slum lord’s building. It would seem that people have nothing better to do than watch ESPN and read the dying pages of the Trib and NY Times.

  • OCCubFan

    I always thought Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” was often unreasonably nasty and hateful.

    He totally lost me when, on the occasion of Ryne Sandberg’s induction into the Hall of Fame, he said Sandberg did not deserve to be in the Hall, that Joe Gordon was better, and the viewer should look it up and compare Gordon’s and Sandberg’s numbers. I did. Sandberg was so-o-o-o much better than Gordon, any comparison was a joke.

    • DarthHater

      The comparison is not at all a joke:

      Sandberg career wOBA: .351
      Gordon career wOBA: .379


    • aisle424

      Joe Gordon?

  • cubs2003

    Olbermann is kind of a joke to me. He was MSNBC’s Bill O’Reilly. It kind of pissed me off that he took the spotlight from actual smart people like Rachel Maddow. Regardless of one’s political leanings, it’s good to have a discourse that doesn’t just let the biggest blowhard win. Haven’t seen his new show and I don’t plan to.

  • jrayn

    If only Ricketts were only able to thinly veil a threat like Steve Jobs did when he suggested leaving Cupertino (if not given approval for his new facility) and suddenly cause everyone to become kiss-ass-y.

    Also, why does Olbermann see Wrigley Field as such a baseball treasure when, in his words, nothing of baseball merit has ever happened there? Didn’t his beloved Yankees leave the most fabled grounds in all of baseball?

  • MightyBear

    Keith Olberman is, was and always will be a complete jackass.

  • V23

    Olbermann is clearly noted as being HATED by colleagues. By getting atrocious ratings, and by being fired by several networks (one even twice!).

    He’s disgusting, his point is completely contradictory, but again he’s the worst of the worst.

    • YourResidentJag

      Nah. You should read the insider book on ESPN…now that culture through its progressions was quite disgusting.

  • blublud

    People claim the Cubs can’t leave Wrigley because the stadium draws a lot of people who wouldn’t come to a new stadium.

    • blublud

      Doberman claims Wrigley is the only reason people come to see the Cubs and he an ass for it. Almost the same thing isn’t it.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Olberman is a sanctimonious liberal puke. People who follow any of these talking heads, regardless which side of the aisle they sit on, need more productive lives.

    That is the start and finish of my political thoughts.

    • Funn Dave

      What on earth do his political leanings have to do with anything?

      • YourResidentJag

        Who knows? They may have motivated this absurd commentary yesterday.

  • Los_Capitanos

    The “Wrigley Field is the only reason most fans go to games” argument is getting old. I’m sorry, I love Wrigley Field, but I think I’d love remodeled Wrigley more. If they moved, I’d go to Cubs games as frequently as I do now. I’m sure Cubs fans all over the Chicagoland area feel about the same way. And that’s what matters to Ricketts, what Cubs fans think.

    People who won’t go to games in a new stadium aren’t real Cubs fans. They’re just people who want to want to go day drinking and chase tail. You know what, Ricketts doesn’t want those people anyway.

    • Brocktoon

      I want people spending money on Cubs games because it makes the Cubs money. The people posting on message boards are the lunatic fringe of the fanbase that would watch them anywhere. Every base needs the casual fans if they want to compete.

      And I don’t know why Tom Ricketts wouldn’t want “those people” when he was one of them.

      • woody

        So basicly you have said that people who post on these boards are the “lunatic fringe”? Thanks I resemble that remark

        • Brocktoon

          Don’t we all.

    • Funn Dave

      Something tells me people would be able to drink and chase tail just as much at a new stadium as they do at Wrigley. And just because you would continue going to games if they moved, doesn’t mean everyone else will.

      • Los_Capitanos

        @FunnDave. Just my point. People who won’t go to a Cubs game if they had a new ballpark aren’t really Cubs fans.

        • Brocktoon

          But the point is by strictly worrying about drawing huge fans of the team, you are undercutting your bottom line. Less casuals = Less revenue

        • aaronb

          The Cubs certainly don’t want revenue from those people…Especially if they aren’t REAL fans.

          • Los_Capitanos

            Thats not what I’m saying at all.

            The point is it’s silly to think Cubs fans won’t go to Cubs games just because they moved from Wrigley. The casual fans typically go to games when they’re winning anyway, so even now those casual fans are staying away. Don’t believe me, check the declining attendance numbers.

  • woody

    Let’s face it the fact that we are even having a discussion about Oberman or signing another pitcher is indicative of that fact that there really is no news of merit to report. I give Brett all the credit in the world for the work he does here at BN, but with a lack of real news to report we bring in the usual suspects. Rooftops, Shark, Castro, Rizzo and of course the ever popular prospect porn. I for one am weary of all the statistical projections and speculation being sliced and diced and being served up like left over meat loaf again and again. In about three weeks we will have real games being played and real time news being reported. Thank God!

    • Funn Dave


    • Bric

      Totally agree. Prospects Gone Wild is the best 19.99 I ever spent after coming home from a night of drinking and nothing on TV but infomercials.

  • Patrick W.

    There is the ancillary benefit of a national sports media member actually saying the Cubs might move… that is actually giving it some attention. It somehow seems more threatening now that it’s been ridiculed on ESPN, no?

  • MattM

    Not that I agree with most of what he said but….. Can you guys PLEASE explain to me HOW Wrigley isn’t the reason that the Cubs have had high attendance over their existance whilst fielding the worst teams in sports history…. 104 years without a championship.

    In the 90s aside from 98 what was bringing fans in? Think about it in Pittsburgh or even Atlanta. How about in Detroit? When these teams were bad they were pulling nowhere NEAR the attendance that the Cubs do.

    How is he wrong on that again? Also, Ricketts is kind of a baby to be quite honest. If you are a business and you created a contract to get another business to pay you money but then you wanted to hurt their business whilst still making them pay you under the contract doesn’t that seem slightly unethical?

    The easiest way to turn this around is start working with those rooftops owners and using their properties to create revenue for Wrigley. Have the Rooftops become an official part of the Park. Connect them and let people walk between the field and the rooftops. Create more business. Let them have the Scoreboard on one of their properties so it doesn’t block their views. Work on a 20 year contract that eventually allows the Cubs to purchase them. There are SO many ways the Cubs could use this to their advantage and yet they continue to antaganize on it. If you start working with them as partners you will gain their respect and in turn they will start working with you instead of against you. This is business 101.

    The other thing that I think everyone needs to keep in mind is the fact that yes Tommy boy is a business owner, but think about that. His father is the reason he was able to do all of the things he’s done. He used his father’s money to create the business he had previously. It’s his father’s money that bought the Cubs. That reminds me a lot of another person who had a rich and powerfull father. W. Bush right? He owned businesses and ran them into the ground. Just because he HAD a business and went to Harvard does not make him a smart business person. Likewise with Tommy Boy. His father is absolutely a smart business person because he did it and was successful.

    I think we tend to take for granted on here that “yes Tommy Boy” is a greate and wise businessman because he owned his own business. That’s not necessarily true. From what I’ve seen he doesn’t seem to be that smart so far. Negotiations are what separate the savvy from the weak. So far he has not been terribly savvy with the rooftops.

    If you have been on the rooftops they are awesome to take in a game btw.

    • Jon

      Dude, you got to condense that down, just a bit.

    • Los_Capitanos

      I’m not really sure you know what you’re talking about here. Just ramblings that don’t make a lot of sense.

      It’s ok to have an opinion that Tom Ricketts doesn’t know what he’s doing, but at least substantiate it with cogent points rather than making assumptions. I will never watch a cubs game from a rooftop. I could save the money and watch the game at home, or at a bar, which isn’t much of a difference anyway.

      • MattM

        First off to Jon I agree I should have condensed some, but I was at work and had to get my point in one post during lunch.

        To Los Capitanos….what? Seriously? I’m using the negotiation process as my proof that his ability to negotiate is not good. I’m comparing him to Bush whose father’s money allowed him to start business and bankrupt them and then buy the Rangers. Was Bush a good businessman? What has Tom done himself? Think about it…when you talk about HIS wealth it’s not HIS wealth it’s his FAMILIES wealth and more specifically it’s his DAD’s wealth. That’s what bought the Cubs.

        Not only that but he has admitted he is nothing more than a hypocrite because he bragged when he bought the Cubs that he used to watch games out the apartment window. Now he wants to screw those people too.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “Think about it in Pittsburgh or even Atlanta. How about in Detroit? When these teams were bad they were pulling nowhere NEAR the attendance that the Cubs do.”

      Chicago metro population >> Pittsburg or Detroit (combined)

      • Brett

        Not that I’m looking to argue here, but just to point out – Chicago has two baseball teams.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          True, but white sox have about 1/2 million of the 9 million + chicago chicagoland residents (sure my estimate is off a little!)

          • MattM

            Well….one could easily look at the Orioles as a comparison……The Baltimore-D.C. metropolitan area boasts 9million people yet when the Orioles suck…..From 2002 to 2013 they have pulled in no better than 2.7 million attendance.

            They did have a great 3mil streak right after the ballpark was built but that has dissipated completely…

            • MattM

              A better comparison is the Mets who even despite a new park have only topped 3mil once since 2009. They did have a streak from 2006 to 2009 even topping 4 mil once. I suspect they were decent at the time. They come nowhere near that 3mil attendance streak the Cubs had. From 2002 to 2011 to top 3mil is amazing, and even more so when you factor in that most of the time we were bad…

      • MattM

        What Brett said. And just to point something out to you….I specifically mentioned the 90’s. In the 90’s Detroit’s population still made it the 7th largest city in the country. ON top of that they had an old (classic) stadium and still didn’t bring people in like the Cubs. Now they have a new stadium and have to put a winning team on the field to get fans.

        Even in 1995 with old Tiger’s stadium do you think that Detroit fans would have gone to games if their teams sucked and they had the third highest ticket prices? The Cubs still did very well.

        A quick search on baseball almanac about attendance. The Cubs had OVER 3 million attendance every year from 2004 to 2011. Detroit beat the 3 million mark in 2007, 2008, and 2012.

        Back in 1995 Detroit took in 1.1 million with a record of 60-84. I looked for the next year the Cubs only won 60+ games and it’s in 1997 they won 68 games and pulled in 2.1 million attendance. Hell even in the strike shortened 1994 season with a crappy record they pulled in 1.8 million.

        Do you honestly think it’s population? In 1995 the population of Detroit was

        • MattM

          (Continued from last post) Detroit’s population in 95 was 1 million people. In the Metro area it was over 4 million.

          Comparing the Cubs to the White Sox……

          In 97 Cubs attendance: 2.1 million with 68 wins
          In 97 White Sox attendance: 1.8 million with 80 wins

          Actually the White Sox have NEVER taken in more than 3 million in attendance. That includes a World Series championship….

          In 2005 the World Series champ White Sox took in 2.3 million in attendance
          That same year with a record of 79-83 the Cubs topped 3 million.

          So it’s not population….It’s not winning….The White Sox have been around as long as the Cubs so it’s not really tradition…..

          I wonder what it could be?

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Clearly you have never seen the neighborhood they put the new Comiskey. It isn’t a great location. wrigley’s location is great (though i believe there are others that would do if we need to move). I would love a tuned up historic Wrigley field, but as it is they fill the seats based on the neighborhood experience and proximity to the people with money. It isn’t the building, which is in sad shape.

            • MattM

              Really? I go to Cubs games BECAUSE of Wrigley not in spite of it. Most people I know do too…. The neighborhood is awesome as well as the atmosphere. Basically you have made my point….

              Am I saying that they shouldn’t fix it up some…….I definitely believe they should, but what I am telling you is that they have an absolutely gold mine in that park and the area. How do I know….Um I just posted the facts….They can get 3 million people to come to their park whilst winning 65 to 70 games a year. No other team can come CLOSE to matching that.

              That fact is also why no one would take them seriously about a move. If they ever did you would see the Ricketts selling that team 5 years after…They would HAVE to spend massive money to try to win because there would be no atmosphere, no neighborhood, no nothing to pull fans in like they do now.

    • Mreverything


      Are you out of your mind? A scoreboard on the building (or rooftop)? Are you aware that it would be about 500 feet away from home plate? You couldn’t make it big enough for people to see it without blocking the apartment windows for the people that live in the building. No, the Cubs should try to negotiate with the owners and as been suggested before, if that doesn’t work, just have the Cubs put up whatever has already been approved by the City. I can’t see the rooftops winning the ensuing law suit.

      • Don Eaddy

        Personally, I love the “Scoreboard/Jumbotron on rooftop idea. It makes so much sense. You would obviously be able to see it. There are advertisements all over the rooftops, like the Miller Lite ad in right, the old Budweiser rooftop in left center, and that hideous, floating Toyota sign in left center (Not quite on a rooftop, but still..) So the notion that you wouldnt be able to see a jumbotron if it were on a rooftop is false. I think it would be a great compromise between Ricketts and the rooftops. They keep their views and we get the revenue. Also, I would love to see the future Budweiser sign get the ax, along with the smaller ads on the outfield doors and the padding down the 1st and 3rd baselines. Honestly, I’d love to see Ricketts dig up some money and pay for some of this shit himself. Mark Cuban wouldn’t have pulled shit like this.

        • bbmoney

          Yeah, you could see it. But it wouldn’t make it on TV nearly as much which would make it a lot less desirable for advertisers and therefore generate less revenue for the Cubs.

          I’m not sure exactly what you mean with your Mark Cuban comments, but he’s a businessman too, so he’d almost certainly be looking to generate revenue through advertising as well. Maybe he wouldn’t have cut payroll like this, that i’ll say you’re probably right about.

          • Don Eaddy

            He wouldn’t have cut payroll and he wouldn’t be funding an entire renovation through advertising revenue. I love the work Theo has done and I know we are headed in the right direction on the field; however, we don’t know exactly what the field will look like and where that field will be. Ricketts is being cheap. I don’t know his financial situation, but assuming he had a plan when he bought the team, I would’ve thought he would have funding lined up without being entirely dependent on prostituting Wrigley Field

            • TWC

              “He wouldn’t have cut payroll and he wouldn’t be funding an entire renovation through advertising revenue.”

              Yeah. You totally know this.

              • Don Eaddy

                I feel like he would’ve taken his investment seriously and he would’ve had a plan. Lord knows where we would be right now if Ricketts hadn’t gotten lucky and stumbled across Theo Epstein to fix his team.

                Mike Quade haha

                • TWC

                  “I feel like he would’ve taken his investment seriously and he would’ve had a plan.”

                  Yeah. Ricketts doesn’t take his ownership seriously. Sure.

                  “Lord knows where we would be right now if Ricketts hadn’t gotten lucky and stumbled across Theo Epstein to fix his team.”

                  Well, you seem to have this all figured out.

                  ::rolls eyes::

                • Don Eaddy

                  I think he takes it serious in a professional sense and he seems to understand that he has certain responsibilities, but I feel like he doesn’t take the business side of owning a team as seriously as he should.

                  And I’m not suggesting I would do any better. I just wish we had been purchased by an owner who wanted to own something and make it more valuable.

                  • aaronb

                    Or to own it more as a competitive Yacht as opposed to his sole source of personal wealth.

                    • MattM

                      This statement says it all! After selling their stake in Ameritrade to purchase the Cubs they only have one money making venture.

                      That is TERRIBLE. Almost every other owner of an MLB team has other business ventures. Something else making them money.

                      Not the Ricketts!!!!

                    • TWC

                      That might suggest that Ricketts is keenly focused on a successful future for the Cubs.

                      Unless, of course, you’re a cynical jagload determined to look through everything with shit-colored glasses.

                    • DarthHater


                    • MattM

                      TWC actually it doesn’t. WHat it means is that Ricketts can put a crappy product on the field and charge premium product prices whilst making a tidy profit of 30/year after paying of the loans.

                      So in fact all he has to do is tank the team and not spend money on the team. Scoreboards, bathrooms absolutely! Those make money that a businessman can understand. Spending money to win? Well it’s a fact that most winning teams only profit 20 million. That extra 10 is what he’s after.

                      In terms of making him and his family money he has done quite well. That doesn’t making him a successful CEO of a baseball team. We all know what success means in baseball and it’s not profiting 30 million per year.

                    • Brett

                      I love your level of confidence when you don’t even realize that the Forbes “profit” figure is *before* interest on the debt is paid.

                    • MattM

                      And I would guarantee neither you nor Darth can make a strong case against this!

                      You will conveniently let this last point slide because you know it’s a fact! The Cubs the last two years have been the most profitable team in baseball.

                      If you are just in it for the money why would you spend on the team? You can just keep making your 30million.

                      That is why it’s actually bad that they sold so much in their other businesses.

                      Owners do NOT spend on teams to make money right away. They spend on teams to build a winning tradition and massive fanbase to make the team more valuable in the future. They eat money in many cases for that goal. What Tommy boy and fam are doing is gain profits yearly from the team by not spending on the most expensive part, which is the product.

                      That’s the business model that a less wealthy owner would take. They can’t afford to lose money which is the basic problem with their ownership.

                    • MattM

                      Brett I don’t see your point….They had the obligation to the loan to pay the payments. That figure had to have been included in the net profit number. So if they are paying interest they can still pay the set amount of the loan payment in that year and have the interest tacked to the end.

                      You think they are paying the entire interest amount on the loan in a year?

                      Actually in YOUR OWN article you surmised that Cubs just aren’t paying down the debt. “It’s entirely possible that the Ricketts Family has paid down none of the debt in two years, but it feels a bit surprising. It also raises questions about the $30ish million in “income” that the Cubs have been purportedly netting the last couple of years. Where exactly is that money going if every dollar that comes in the door is staying in the organization? Rainy day fund? The front office has mentioned money potentially being rolled over from year to year as needed, so that’s a possibility. But $60 million over the last two years is a pretty healthy rollover.”

                      So where is the money going? If the Ricketts educational trust is the entity that owns the Cubs then technically by paying the trust all money is going “back to the team.”

                    • MattM
                  • TWC

                    “I just wish we had been purchased by an owner who wanted to own something and make it more valuable.”

                    I cannot imagine where you got the idea that Ricketts doesn’t want to make the team more valuable, especially in light of your contention that Ricketts should eschew the huge, multi-year revenue generators of in-stadium advertising an instead focus on “see[ing] Ricketts dig up some money and pay for some of this shit himself.”

                    The contention that Cuban would just “pay for some of this shit” without having long-term revenue guarantees is specious — at best. What kind of successful businessperson has such little foresight?

                    • hansman

                      Ricketts…er, wait.

            • bbmoney

              Maybe it’s semantics and maybe he would have gone forward with a renovation without first securing more revenue, but to think he wouldn’t have tried to generate more revenue through on-field advertising is quite a stretch. All of this is theoretical of course, so you can believe what you want, but you certainly don’t know any of it as a fact.

              The prostitution comment is quite hyperbolic and in my opinion ignores the reality of business in the MLB today. Advertising and TV differentiate teams revenues more than the take at the gate. Revenues drive payroll.

              • aaronb

                He’d certainly look to add more revenue to the team.

                Judging from his ownership of Dallas though. You can surmise that he’d certainly reinvest in the on field product. Also safe to say he’d not suffer through the prolonged embarrassment of being the worst team in baseball over a 5 years period.

                He’d want it fixed or heads would roll.

                • Jon

                  It’s a moot point. He wasn’t touching Zell deal.

                  How in the hell could Selig allow the sale under those debt terms. Worst commish ever.

                  • aaronb

                    Agreed about worst commish ever.

                    He allowed Jeff Loria, Frank McCourt and the Ricketts to all purchase on his watch.

                    Not to mention Tom Hicks/Rangers bankruptcy, the Expos mess. And the attempted contraction of two teams.

                    • Brocktoon

                      And making it MLB policy to rob cities of tax revenue to fund unnecessary stadiums. It was good for MLB, but rather evil for the public good.

                • bbmoney

                  Sure, I think you’re probably right about that. Although, the Cubs haven’t been the worst team in the MLB the past 5 years, yeah they’ve been terrible the last four years, but the Astros blow away the field for worst over the last 5.

                  That doesn’t mean I’m convinced the current course isn’t actually the best one given the circumstances at the time.

                  • aaronb

                    The current course has been a self fulfilling prophecy. They’ve completely stripped the MLB without MiLB graduations or trade/free agent replacements.

                    So we are at a certain point of no return. For better or worse.

                    I still feel like we could have made this a much more enjoyable rebuild. Had we decided to band aid the MLB club while working on rebuilding the Minors.

                    • bbmoney

                      Sure, but it probably would have hurt the quality and quantity of impact talent they could have acquired (via draft, IFA’s etc.).

                      It could have been done, anything is possible, and if the FO was good enough and never missed in amateur talent acquisition (a very high bar), it probably could have been done just as effectively. But I just feel like the probability of a successful re-build under the band-aid approach is diminished. Baseball is all about probabilities, I’ll take the pain to increase the chance of a payoff later.

                      BUT, I can completely understand those who disagree, because the last 4 years have sucked, a lot, and it sure would have been nice to have had some semi-meaningful games after Memorial Day.

                    • aaronb

                      If the MLB team was better, we wouldn’t need to be relying on so much help from the minors.

                    • bbmoney

                      That’s a true statement.

                      But it does nothing to change my answer or opinion about the best course of action at the time.

                    • Brocktoon

                      bmoney, every time people talk about being ok with punting for years to get better playoff chances down the road, they always ignore the significant decrease in playoff chances in the meantime. If you give yourself a 0% playoff chance for 3(or ugh, 4) years, you better be locking in some damn near guaranteed playoff berths down the road, which the “process” simply doesn’t do.

                    • brainiac

                      i think it’s pretty obvious that ‘the plan’ strategy of ‘losing as a strategy for winning’ is a speciously false PR move to buy time.

                      name one instance where losing on purpose led a team to the world series. some of you guys will buy anything. now will building the minors help the team? of course. EVERY single team does that. how it should be extra magical or special here is just a really really good case of advertising.

                    • Brett

                      Literally every single person who makes this point ignores the 2012 CBA changes with respect to accumulating young talent. Every. Single. Person.

                    • bbmoney

                      Brocktoon, everytime someone makes sweeping generalizations like that they ignore the fact that sweeping generalizations are stupid.

                      I in fact did not ignore that. I just didn’t think their chances of building a playoff team were high enough to offset the potential future cost of talent acquisition and they’d have a had a much higher chance of getting caught in the middle with a higher payroll, more aging players, less flexibility, and less future talent.

                      You’re certainly entitled to disagree. But please don’t assume I’m an idiot. Thanks.

                    • DarthHater

                      “everytime someone makes sweeping generalizations like that they ignore the fact that sweeping generalizations are stupid.”

                      Wait a minute… Isn’t that a rather sweeping generalization? 😛

                    • aaronb


                      The CBA changes are a complete red herring. Guys still get drafted every single year. IFA’s still get signed every year. Good teams still find a way to win every year.

                      Only the Cubs would use it as an excuse as to why they can’t compete with top 5 revenue.

                      Even if by some unknown way it becomes harder to bring MiLB talent into the organiztion (NO Proof whatsoever that is the case). They can STILL use money to sign free agents and facilitate trades.

                • ClevelandCubsFan

                  OK. No one can compare the Mavs to the Cubs because the NBA is simply different. There are no minor leagues. You tank once and get the right guy off the board and you’re competitive. The. Next. Year. Surround him with good support and you’re in the playoffs. If Cuban bought the Cubs and tried to run field ops like the Mavs, we’d be screwed. “Woohoo Albert Almora! We’re gravy now!” It just doesn’t work. Cuban would have been a very different MLB owner than an NBA owner. He’d have to be.

              • Don Eaddy

                I’m not saying he (or any other potential owner with a clue) wouldn’t have used advertising as a source of revenue, I’m just saying it is irresponsible as a business man to have advertising that is not even approved yet as the primary source of revenue to fund a much needed renovation to a major investment you have made. It shows that he obviously lacked a true business plan when he bought the team and that he still isn’t quite sure what will happen. He hopes to get a deal done, but he doesn’t really have a backup option if this “plan” falls through. He is obviously bluffing with these “moving to the burbs” threats. As a HUGE Cubs fan, I am simply worried about the direction ownership has this headed. I have faith in management, but the ownership of this business is quite scary

                • Internet Random

                  “I’m just saying it is irresponsible as a business man to have advertising that is not even approved yet as the primary source of revenue to fund a much needed renovation to a major investment you have made.”

                  What are the odds that any given person commenting on any given sports blog has more business acumen than the billionaire Ricketts family?

                  • 1060Ivy

                    Yup, rich guys always make the best decision makers regardless of their background or areas of expertise.

                    • DarthHater

                      No, he wasn’t talking about random areas of expertise, he was talking about “business acumen.” Gee, I wonder if the billionaire founder of an investment banking firm has any business acumen. Hmmmm…

                    • MattM

                      DarthHater you are REALLY funny. You would also have a point if it WAS THE BILLIONAIRE FOUNDER OF AMERITRADE. Daddy Ricketts is just that. Tell me again who is running the team? It’s not the Billionaire. If your ENTIRE FAMILY IS ONLY WORTH 1.5 billion who is actually the Billionaire?

                      It can only be daddy Ricketts right?

                    • DarthHater

                      As I already said, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Tom is a billionaire or not. The issue I was addressing was business acumen. Tom is the co-founder and chief executive of an investment banking firm. So he probably has a bit more business acumen than your average chatboard contributor – even one who is capable of typing in all caps

                    • MattM

                      Darth Hater I will copy and paste what you just said right above my post above yours so you can see it and see that in fact you do care. Here is what you put “Gee, I wonder if the billionaire founder of an investment banking firm has any business acumen. Hmmmm…”

                      So do you or don’t you care? Hmmmmmmmm

                    • DarthHater

                      “Gee, I wonder if the millionaire founder of an investment banking firm has any business acumen.”

                      There. Fixed that. You happy now?

                      Of course, the basic point of the comment – that the successful founder and CEO of an investment bank probably has significant business acumen – is perfectly true even after the correction. But you just go ahead and keep focusing on whatever extraneous point gives you the most convenient pretext for whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

                    • MattM

                      George W. was president like his daddy too….was he successful? He was also an owner of multiple businesses were they successful? BTW Tommy boy was the CO-founder of that company.

                      So just background on InCapital…..their claim to fame is that they have “underwritten 200billion” blah blah.

                      So how much do they make on a dollar underwriting….. They will never say but from what I understand it’s about one half of one cent on every dollar or if lucky 1 cent on every dollar.

                      Basically, that means that he created a company that is worth at best 2 billion at worst 1 billion.

                      He dad’s net worth is that much. In that case that makes it more like a hobby than anything.

                      On top of that the fact that his dad paid for the Cubs should tell you that his dad is wiling to foot the bill for his endeavors. How do you know his dad didn’t pay to create InCapital? Where would Tom have gotten the money from?

                      Again, I’m saying this to say that I honestly think the negotiations with the rooftops are going badly BECAUSE of him. You have to look at the rooftops as an actual asset. The Cubs don’t have to pay their property taxes/power/ordinance issues/insurance etc etc….then make 2million free and clear last year. SO on a good year that number probably jumps to 3 million.

                      Here’s the other thing….What if the Cubs offered to supply them with concessions? Theres more money….

                      That’s business 101 type crap…

                    • hansman

                      “If your ENTIRE FAMILY IS ONLY WORTH 1.5 billion who is actually the Billionaire?”

                      Yes, the Ricketts are worth only 1.5 billion. Please pour more warm caviar into the bath Waddellsworth.

                      “Basically, that means that he created a company that is worth at best 2 billion at worst 1 billion.”

                      So these billion dollar companies…do they just grow on trees?

                      How about this question. you hate all rich people? Or just the ones that will help you get into a pointless pissing match over something you don’t know anything about?

                    • MattM

                      If your dad is paying for them yes they can grow on trees. Sort of like your daddy paying for your favorite ball club. When you have that money it does grow on trees.

                      Trust me I do not hate rich people….I respect Joe Ricketts for working 12 hour days like I do and building something from scratch like I am currently.

                      What I don’t like is someone who lucked into money like Tommy Boy did and didn’t really do much on his own. Again, where did Tommy boy get the money for Incapital?

                      Or the fact that just by turning 30 he and his siblings were GIVEN a spot on the Ameritrade board thus taking that opportunity from more deserving folks within Ameritrade. Just by being a Ricketts they got a board seat.

                      Not only that but just by being a Ricketts he gets a pass on everything. You all think he is some amazing talent of a businessman just because his dad has money. That’s incredible!

                      I can also tell you that a person who built his wealth from scratch Mark Cuban was not stupid enough to take those disgusting terms to purchase the team on.
                      Let’s be honest those terms are absolutely horrible and an anchor around the neck. If Tom was so smart and savvy like you all think why on earth did he agree to such a back breaking purchase agreement?

                      We all hate Bud Selig from allowing those terms, but what about Ricketts for agreeing to it. On top of that his family does not have the wealth to overcome those covenants so basically the success of the Cubs are tied directly to their revenue. If that is also the case then they need to negotiate from a different standing than they are with the rooftops.

                      They could have a partner to work with them and not an enemy, but they don’t want that.

                      And also to your last point…How do you know that what I’m saying is NOT true? Are you in their inner circle? That means everything you talk about is mere speculation as well isn’t it…

                    • mjhurdle

                      does anyone have any proof that InCapital was started with Joe Ricketts money, or is this just another “if i repeat it enough times then it must be true” things?
                      Everything I have read says that Tom did it on his own, not even asking his dad for advice during the initial setup.
                      Not saying that he didn’t use dad’s money, but i have yet to see anything to back that claim

                    • MattM

                      What have you read about Tom and his business with InCapital I would like to take a look. Also, do you know who he co-founded it with?

                      Obviously, I don’t know if he used Joe Ricketts’ money but no one knows that he didn’t either. In addition if just going by the facts his dad forked up the money for the Cubs why wouldn’t have done the same for InCapital.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      It could be @mjhurdle that he did. You know, with his background in economics from U of Chicago and his emphasis on quantitative analysis. Hmmmm…..maybe that’s why he hired Theo.

                    • MattM

                      Hmm…Good point but didn’t George W. Bush go to Harvard? Just because you have something on your resume it doesn’t mean much.

                      Or are you one of those folks who believe W. was a scholar?

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Gosh, MattM, why did I know you would respond that way? What do you want for me to pull Ricketts’ grades at University of Chicago so that we can compare notes with George Bush? I suppose even if that were in evidence it still wouldn’t be enough for you.

                      BTW, W. went to Yale and barely passed…and my politics leans more towards the left of the spectrum.

                  • MattM

                    Internet Random….Probably 50/50. Again….W. was a hundred millionaire owner of multiple business and had ABSOLUTELY NO business acumen. Look up the success rate of his businesses.

                    If you wanted business acumen you just have daddy Ricketts buy the club since it’s his money anyway. Unfortunately from what I’ve read he doesn’t even like baseball..

                    So Tommy boy pleaded with daddy to give him the money to buy his toy and daddy obliged.

                    This is why the purchase was so disgusting. The ENTIRE family was only worth 1.4-1.5 Billion. They bought the Cubs for over half of their entire families wealth! Selig is a scumbag for letting that happen.

                    Cuban is worth 8-10 Billion dollars. 850 million is seriously a drop in the bucket for him. Things would have been way different.

                    • bbmoney

                      If given access to all the same information…sure maybe it is 50/50.

                      But when one side has about 800 times more information and the random person (even if they really love the Cubs!) on the internet is guessing at most of their information and has no idea about all the details of what’s actually going on……I’ll put it more at like 1/100…and that might be kind.

                  • aaronb

                    Except the Ricketts kids AREN’T billionaires. They are the trust fun kids of a billionaire.

                    • MattM

                      AaronB you’ve hit the nail on the head yet again! The kids aren’t anything…The daddy is, and the Cubs are just the little kiddies experiment/toy.

                    • DarthHater

                      I have no idea how much he’s worth, but Tom Ricketts had his own successful career in investment banking, apart from Ameritrade. Criticize his handling of the Cubs all you like, but suggesting that he’s nothing but the trust fun kid of a billionaire is just ignorant.

                    • MattM

                      Darth Hater he is NOWHERE NEAR WORTH A BILLION dollars!

                      What do you NOT GET!!!!! It’s been mentioned over and over that the ENTIRE FAMILY IS WORTH 1.5 billion.

                      Tom was only worth 300 million. Look up the background. He was only able to contribute 100 million of the purchase price. Now where again did he get them money?

                      How did he get on the Ameritrade board Darth? Was it daddy Ricketts? Um yeah…..

                    • DarthHater

                      What part of “I have no idea how much he’s worth” and “apart from Ameritrade” is unclear to you?

                      It is a fact that Tom Ricketts is co-founder and CEO of an investment banking firm. It is a fact that this is his own accomplishment and not attributable to daddy. That’s all I’m saying.

                      If you think Tom has made bad decisions with the Cubs and you want to criticize those decisions, then do so. But criticize the decisions on their own merits and stop spewing all the made-up, adolescent horseshit about the kids being nothing.

                      And before you break your cap locks key in reply, I am perfectly aware of how the Cubs purchase was funded. Joe’s role in the funding does not mean that the Ricketts kids are nothing or lack business acumen.

                    • MattM

                      Darth again you cannot comprehend! How is the Tom’s accomplishment? He did not foot the bill for this team! His daddy did! Here is a piece of a forbes article I will link after. “The New York Times referred to Joe himself as a billionaire, but that isn’t strictly true — at least, not as of our last count for the Forbes 400 in fall 2011. Technically, the Ricketts Family Education Trust is the equity holder of the Cubs rather than Joe himself, so we don’t count the team towards our valuation of Joe’s net worth. As a result, he just missed the billionaire cut as TD Ameritrade’s stock was down.”

                      Neither Tom nor Joe own the Cubs. THe reason is because of the bullshit Rickets educational trust. The TRUST OWNS THE CUBS. Worse the trust owns the Cubs with daddy Ricketts money. Again, read what I’m saying to you Darth. How is it TOM’S accomplishment? Tom did NOT BUY THE CUBS. TOM IS NOT THE OWNER. He is the guy running the Cubs (poorly). A trust owns the Cubs. That trust is full of daddy Ricketts money not Tom’s. That trust has caused daddy Ricketts to LOSE WORTH. That’s Forbes not me saying that.

                      Here is the article


                    • aaronb


                      It’s true that Joe’s funding might not mean the kids don’t have business acumen.

                      However what makes YOU so sure that they do? What qualifications do they have OTHER than being Joe Ricketts kid?

                      How are Michael Jordan’s kids doing in the NBA? How many MLB All Star teams have Roger Clemens kids played on?

                      You seem to be putting an awful lot of faith into the genetic pool of a group of kids that have zero personal accomplishments of note between the 4 of them.

                    • DarthHater

                      I did not say that buying the Cubs was Tom’s accomplishment. I said that co-founding an investment bank was his accomplishment and that it was an accomplishment that suggests the possession of business acumen.

                      You say Tom is running the Cubs poorly. I do not necessarily disagree. But the point of the discussion should be for you to explain what you think he is doing poorly as owner and why. That is not the same as just squawking about the kids being nothing and daddy being everything.

                      I get reasonably annoyed and frustrated on a daily basis over things that the Cubs FO and ownership are doing or not doing. But, somehow, that does not compel me to engage in extraneous and silly personal attacks on the Ricketts kids. I rather strongly suspect they are all probably pretty cool people, whether I agree with everything they do with the Cubs or not.

                    • MattM

                      Hey Darth do you know who Tommy both co-founded incapital with? I would laugh so hard if it was daddy Ricketts….lol….

                      There was an interview with Joe Ricketts a couple of years ago….I think on Forbes…where he was bragging at raising his kids and he told them that he wants them to earn on their own so he said that he would not allow them on the Ameritrade board until they were 30……LOL…

                      Tommy boy got on that board right when he turned 30 too!

                    • hansman

                      Where are those Damn goalposts at and why is there beaten up strawman scattered all over the place?

                  • MattM

                    Internet Random….You honestly believe that it’s not irresponsible to create a business plan contingent on something that you do not know you will be able to get? If you don’t get it then your whole business plan was shit!

                    That doesn’t sound too promising to me….

                    • Internet Random

                      I believe that, while I’ve seen zero evidence that you have any business sense whatsoever, I’ve seen a convincing amount of evidence that the Ricketts family does.

                      Between the two of you, I’m going to trust their business judgment over yours.

                      Prove me wrong.

                    • Kyle

                      Appeal to authority fallacy

                    • Internet Random

                      Heh. No. This reminds me of a psych 101 student diagnosing everyone he knows with the neuroses he just learned about.

                      I know it’s tempting to put a label on everything when you start learning new concepts, but not every mention of authority is fallacious.

                    • BT

                      Kyle, you are a smart guy, but you arent so good at logical fallacies. Trusting one persons opinion over another is not an appeal to authority. It is the basis of decisions we make every day.

                    • Kyle

                      Yeah, that wasn’t my best work. Withdrawn, carry on.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Indeed, there is a branch of statistics called Bayesian Probability that is predicated on putting prior probabilities on hypotheses. An idea put forward by an authority on a subject carries much higher prior probability than a contradictory idea put forward by someone who has no expertise on a subject.

                      (This is a sore point for people like me, as non-scientists often assert that their “opinions” on science are as meaningful as ours are. They are not.)

          • MattM

            BTW BB…that Budweiser Roof sign thing was outside of Wrigley for YEARS.

            How much was that on TV? I’ll give you a guys its over 90 percent of the time.

            Why then would the scoreboard on a rooftop not work?

            I get that you want to defend ANYTHING Cubs (even their crappy owners) but saying stuff that is patently false doesn’t help your cause…

            • bbmoney

              “How much was that on TV?”

              Less than an advertising sign in the park would/will be….which was the only point.

              Drops mic…..

              • MattM

                How so? Drops Mic….

                The Budweiser sign was MORE visible that any signs in Wrigley. Do you live in reality? Any time that a homeplate out view was taken the sign was very apparent. I actually have a massive picture of Wrigley from 2009 from over the homeplate lights. I’m looking at it right now….GUess what I see….Um….the Budweiser roof over the left field bleachers. Not once do my eyes drop to the underarmor crap.

                • bbmoney

                  Are you really arguing that the proposed scoreboard which is on the back wall of the outfield of you know the field where the game is actually played, would get less viability on TV than a scoreboard on top of a rooftop across the street?

                  That’s just a weird argument to try to make, my friend. And if you’re making it, I can’t do nothing for you.

                  • MattM

                    Hey BBMoney. I have this picture over my tv right now. I’m looking at it again. You are in fact wrong. Just in point of fact the rooftop over the left field bleachers I’m referring to is actually closer than the scoreboard to homeplate.

                    Just common sense…… So left center is 375 from home center is 400 from home. The scoreboard is another 200 feet from the fence. The rooftops are another 200 feet from the left center fence. Which one is closer?

                    I’ll give you a minute.

                    Listen don’t believe me its fine. It’s true though. All you have to do is go to your computer and go to google and find a picture from home out. Look right over the left center fence and you will see the roof. Then look at the Scoreboard and tell me which is closer. Why do you think they made the scoreboard so big? Because it’s a MILE AWAY!

                    • bbmoney

                      Is this really happening?

                      Is the planned video board we’re discussing now going on top of the scoreboard in center? Last I heard it was a 6k sq foot scoreboard going up in on the back wall of the LF bleachers…you know…the wall in front of the rooftops where it will be seen on TV on every FB to left field, which I can’t say about something put on top of the rooftops across the street.

                      But maybe plans changed and I missed it.

                    • MattM

                      Again, why can’t you say that about it being on the roof instead of infront blocking views? I’m looking at the picture for the millionth time just the red rooftop shows up perfectly! We are talking about a 100 foot difference and if its not blocking anything they can make it bigger. Instead they WANT to block the rooftops.

                      This makes Tom a hypocrite as HE was one of the people would look out his window at Cubs games when he lived in Chicago.

                      And by the way there are no plans. That’s because Ricketts cannot negotiate. He’s trying to negotiate to BLOCK a business whose contract is to pay him. That is stupid! Here’s a better idea why not charge them 25% and put the scoreboard on the rooftop and make more money.

                      Guaranteed he has not thought about it. Why work with people. When you are a spoiled rich kid you don’t know how to play nice with others.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      I wonder if the cubs could have (did) collect revenue from budweiser for some sort of agreement to focus on that rooftop…but trying to get a camera angle that focuses on a right handed hitter while clearly showing an advertisement across the street would be difficult. The number of views matter. I wod think that left field is crutial ad territory.

                    • MattM

                      The Cubs are putting the sign right where that Budweiser building is. Its the same height and everything from ground level. There is no way they get that on camera from that view anyway.

                      If they put it on the Budweiser building they build it as big and gawdy as they want and they don’t have to worry about views. The bigger it is the bigger the advertising.

                      I would agree with your point if they were putting it at the same spot anyway. The only way they could get it from behind the hitter from field level would be to put on field level which they aren’t doing.

                    • Luke

                      What makes you think the Budweiser building could handle a huge jumbotron?

                      Those things are pretty heavy, much heavier than a billboard, and that’s a fairly old building. Not much point in putting one up there if you’re going to effectively rebuild the building beneath to make sure it stays up.

                    • MattM

                      It may or may not. The other rooftops support grandstands, equipment, and hundreds of people per day which are much heavier together than a scoreboard. Apparently when those buidlings were built back in the day it was with quality….

                    • hansman

                      A modern building will be much sturdier and less likely to crumble than one built 75+ years ago.

                      How many people does a typical rooftop hold? The jumbotron will be 250-300,000 pounds.

                • TWC

                  “I actually have a massive picture of Wrigley from 2009 … I’m looking at it right now….GUess what I see….”

                  A vague reflection of yourself, jerking off to your own breathless apoplexy over the current state of the Cubs team?

                  • MattM

                    Better than you jerking off over your love of a crappy product and promises of fairy dust in the future.

                    • Diehardthefirst

                      Ignore those comments. Large drop between a member and productive member

                  • Diehardthefirst

                    You need a timeout from BN- how about taking a week off to reflect on being a more productive member?

                    • TWC

                      You said “productive member”.


                    • DarthHater

                      Dang it, you broke my ironimeter again, Diehard.

  • RoscoeVillageFan

    If you look up Blowhard-y in the dictionary it has to have Olbermann’s picture there, right? I actually prefer Keith Lights over SC recap of days games but I can’t do an hour of Olbermann. Thing is, no one is talking about the Cubs except us, so some uninformed ribbing just to kick a “large market team” when it’s down isn’t totally unexpected. We should be better than this even in a rebuild. Still, Olbermann hasn’t convinced me to watch his show any more than the little I do. Nice post, Brett.

  • Joshua Edwards

    Talking Heads have to troll. They make absolute statements out of half – baked ideas because it gets a response. I think Olbermann used to be above it (early sportscenter days) but now he’s a caricature of himself trying to get attention. It’s too bad but it’s what it is.

    I mean, he’s gotta feed the monkey.

  • gosoxgo

    Could Olbermann possibly be any more “Out of Town Stupid”????

  • http://BN Sacko

    There will be more critisism as the year goes on. The transisions from minors to majors has to work out or we are screwed for another 2 years.

  • Fastball

    I don’t think anybody who listens to this guy and aligns with him or his view points can be considered anything but moronic. It would have to be of the rarest occasions that I would ever listen to his guy

  • Diehardthefirst

    What gave Ricketts edge over other bidders? He was willing to help Zell in IRS avoidance with 5% share. Is that what you mean by acumen?

  • Don Eaddy

    So anyway, what I was trying to say was that I feel like RIcketts should just compromise with the rooftops. If we were to put the jumbotron on the old Budweiser rooftop there would be a handful of benefits.

    One, assuming the rooftop owner would be okay with this idea, would be that this whole dispute would be over. It wouldnt block any views. Rooftop experience stays. Everyone is happy. Just negotiate the numbers to decide the money side of things and you are golden. No more dealing with all this crap.

    Two, if the jumbotron were on a rooftop the Cubs could probably make it much larger and it would end up being just as visable as it would be from the left center field wall. Money wise I would think it is realistic to think we could get the same amount of money from the ads.

    Three, it would be freaking awesome and completely original. A gigantic jumbotron on a rooftop across the street?!?! That would be amazing. I would pay the price of admission just to see it in action.

    Now, the only remaining problem would be the stupid floating Budweiser script in right. That would still block views, but hey, maybe Ricketts could afford to renovate without that stupid sign. ANd while he is at it he can take that ugly floating Toyota sign away with it. And please for the love of God remove all of the tacky white lettering from the outfield doors and padding on the side walls. I die a little bit everytime I see that stuff

    • aaronb

      They could advertise Budweiser and Toyota on the rooftop Jumbotron.

    • MattM

      I totally agree with everything you said, but the problem is I was the one that said it about an hour ago in this same thread….lol….From earlier…”The easiest way to turn this around is start working with those rooftops owners and using their properties to create revenue for Wrigley. Have the Rooftops become an official part of the Park. Connect them and let people walk between the field and the rooftops. Create more business. Let them have the Scoreboard on one of their properties so it doesn’t block their views. Work on a 20 year contract that eventually allows the Cubs to purchase them. There are SO many ways the Cubs could use this to their advantage and yet they continue to antaganize on it. If you start working with them as partners you will gain their respect and in turn they will start working with you instead of against you. This is business 101.”

    • Brett

      I think you make genuinely interesting points – but the Cubs have done the research (and they’re the ones talking to the sponsors and the TV networks), and they say signage inside the park is worth much, much more than signage outside the park (even if just across the street).

      • MattM

        I would point out that I never said it wasn’t more valuable. What I am definitely saying is that it’s much much more costly right now sitting and waiting than working with the rooftops.

        I saw one proposal from the rooftops where they estimated 30mil in revenue from signs that the Cubs would agree to let them post. That does not include a scoreboard just signs. I’ll try to find the article for you, but it was in the initial negotiations.

        It still makes no sense to me why he would not rather work WITH them than against them. Especially since he was admittedly one of those leaches that he talks about back in the 80’s. He would watch games through his window. What a hypocrite.

        If you think about it this way….Just for signage they make 30mil/year. Then add a jumbo tron on that Budweiser building and add an additional 30mil/year. You could then make the rooftop pay for the power and maintenance etc.. You save money there. Then you raise the rate you get from the rooftops to maybe 20 percent. From 2009 I think they actually paid the Cubs 4million on 17 percent. Then offer concessions to them making money on that….

        The point is that it is EASY to make money if they are open minded. Not only that Brett but no one is saying that they couldn’t STILL have signs inside Wrigley field.

        I’m sorry but that just does NOT look like a business savvy person who can’t see the benefits in this. He could make more money doing it the way I’m saying. Instead he wants to fight them and bully them and still cost himself money.

        Makes not sense, but since it’s not actually his money……I’m joking…

        • Brett

          What continues to baffle me is that you seem to be unable or unwilling – or both – to acknowledge the volumes of information that you don’t know (none of us do). We aren’t in the negotiations. We haven’t seen the books. We don’t have any deep knowledge of the actual operations of the business of the Cubs. We don’t know dick.

          And yet you read that the rooftops claimed they could generate $30 million for the Cubs in signage outside the ballpark, and suddenly you adopt that as gospel? If you don’t see the problem there, we don’t have any additional reason to continue dialoging.

          • hansman

            I think that line was crossed the last time he vomited all over the board.

          • MattM

            Brett you do the same from the Ricketts point. You tried to catch me or whatever about the Forbes article but you yourself said exactly the same as I was saying back in April. I provided a link in that post for you if you want to check out your own article.

            Not only that but how do you know that the cubs commissioned someone to find out how much more profitable it was within Wrigley that without.

            You spouted that like it was gospel. I’m alright with you telling me I’m seeing stuff as gospel but you need to admit that you do as well. You don’t like that because I take an opposite view from you. I can tell you I don’t always but when it comes to stuff like this I have a bit of experience on it and am definitely critical of some of the stuff occurring.

            So what is the difference with me posting what I read in an article and telling you and you doing exactly the same thing? How are you different from me?

            • MattM

              We know by most accounts that Ricketts has threatened to move the team on multiple occasions and he also recently came out and insulted the rooftops in public saying they were like someone looking through the window at your TV. You posted that. So, how can he insult them like they are getting something for free? They have paid the Cubs at 17 percent for a while. That added up to 2 million last year. It went as high as 5 million in 2008.

              Why would you insult someone who you have a contract and are a partner with in public? How is that a good negotiation tactic?

              That’s not bullying? I’m pretty sure that you at least agree that insulting them is not a good negotiation tactic right?

              • baldtaxguy

                Not sure I saw where there is a stated threat to move on the behalf of the Ricketts. Can you provide a link to this? I just not sure this is known “by most accounts.”

                The Showtime-through-the-window analogy was flawed since it (the view through the window) is not happening for free.

            • hansman

              The Cubs said that it is less valuable to have the ads across the street. Makes sense since the ads would be less likely to be on TV.

              Ricketts clearly has no interest in continuing the rooftop agreement beyond 2024. They won’t do anything to extend that date.

            • Brett

              Because my position assumes the Cubs act like any rational business entity and are trying to make as much money as possible.

              You’re arguing in so many directions, it’s very difficult to keep up.

              • MattM

                So in this situation the rooftops aren’t? Only the Cubs are the rational folks here and the rooftops are liars?

                The Cubs are making as much money as possible either way. They can wait out the lawsuit for years as well as they are doing right now.

                Also, if Ricketts was acting rational especially during a negotiation whose quick completion will make him money why on earth would he go outside of the mediation and make disparaging comments on the owners? That will cost him money not make him as much as possible.

                Also, even the Cubs have admitted that they are trying to put a “see through” sign that would actually block the views on the right field sign. If the sign is see through how on earth would it be able to advertise correctly.

                In addition the rooftops are their extra revenue. If they sell out they still have fans going to the rooftops to watch the games with in turn MAKES the Cubs money.

                I understand you will slant towards the Cubs no matter what but be honest…you know it’s not a good idea to do what Tommy boy did outside of the negotiations. That’s just not a smart move…

                • Jason P

                  “why on earth would he go outside of the mediation and make disparaging comments on the owners”

                  Public support. Because it resulted in this:

                • Luke


                  “Also, even the Cubs have admitted that they are trying to put a “see through” sign that would actually block the views on the right field sign. If the sign is see through how on earth would it be able to advertise correctly.”

                  The same way the Toyota sign does. The Cubs put up mock ups with cranes so the rooftops could roughly assess the degree of blockage. Brett posted the pictures. So did a bunch of other websites. Repeatedly. The rooftops made sure to make an issue of it, so I’m sure you saw those pictures if you have been following this half as closely as you claim.

                  This isn’t exactly a hard concept to grasp and the fact that you are actually attempting to use this as a vector to attack the Cubs is interesting.

                  • MattM

                    Luke are you talking about this mockup that actually blocks the views very substantially?


                    How would one not attack the Cubs for that? Obviously it blocks the views massively…. That is definitely a breach of contract….

                    • Luke

                      Actually, it very likely isn’t.

                      The contract, at least that portion that has been published, is quite clear on that point. The only blockage that is absolutely banned under Section 6 is anything that is placed for the purpose of blocking the views.

                      Anything that is part of a government approved expansion of the ballpark is not subject to the blockage language. It is quite specifically excepted.

                      Furthermore, the language quite clearly denotes an expansion of the stadium as a separate thing compared to the expansion of the seating capacity of the bleachers.

                      The relevant governmental agencies have quite clearly ruled that the the Cubs are in fact expanding Wrigley Field (even if they aren’t adding seats) and the the proposed right field (and left field) signage is part of that expansion.

                      Therefore, per the terms of the contract as published, the signage is not a breach of contract. I suspect the rooftops would attempt to dispute that, but I think they would have a very uphill battle against both the Cubs and the city to do so.

                      And, in fact, the Cubs indicated at the convention that if the rooftops do challenge in court, they are likely to challenge on zoning grounds, not on breach of contract over any lessening of views.

                    • MattM

                      Obviously in this situation the fact that both Ricketts and his employee made disparaging remarks towards the owners implying that they do not like them looking in to Wrigley those comments can also be used against them.

                      Where it gets dicey is the point that they are intentionally trying to block the views and if that can be proved would a court look past the part about it being approved as an expansion. There are tons of ways this can be fought.

                      My question is why do you NOT think that sign blocks the views from the rooftops?

                      You can’t use what the Cubs THINK I going to happen as if that’s going to happen.

                      Not only that but if the fact that it was approved as an expansion was completely true why would the city of Chicago be inclined to try to mediate with the placement of the signs, and why would the Cubs be so worried about a lawsuit.

                      If it was cut and dry like some seem to think it wouldn’t matter that they are suing unless they think they will lose.

                      Even if they are worried about an injunction all they would have to do is put up the sign immediately causing the rooftops to get the injunction and take it down while the lawsuit progressed.

                      Clearly the Cubs are worried about this and wouldn’t be trying to make statements in public etc. about it if they were so confident of winning.

                    • BT

                      The Cubs have no reason to INTENTIONALLY block the rooftops. If they could put up the signage without blocking them, they would. The rooftops aren’t going to win in court by convincing the judge, jury or arbiter (I’m not sure who decides these sort of things) that the Cubs are putting them up to intentionally block their views, regardless of what was said at the convention.

                      As to why the Cubs are worried, nothing is a slam dunk, trials are long and expensive, and anything can happen (OJ was a free man for a long time).

                    • Luke

                      “My question is why do you NOT think that sign blocks the views from the rooftops?”

                      I never said it doesn’t. I believe all I’ve said regarding that sign is that (1) it is in fact see through (I can clearly see through parts of it to the field, just like I can the Toyota sign (which I compared it to)), and (2) still advertises effectively.

                      I don’t recall making any other comments tonight about the proposed right field sign and effects on views.

                      The rest of your points have already been answered elsewhere, so I won’t bother to rehash again what others have already said.

                    • MattM

                      BT saying something in public like Ricketts has and his employee will absolutely be helpful to the rooftops.

                      As far as everything else that people are saying is concerned Kaplan is FO employee basically. He is going to release what looks good for the Cubs.

                      There is no possible way that any good attorney would allow their clients to enter into an agreement that gives this much wiggle room.

                      On top of that the Cubs are absolutely acting as if there is something in that contract that worries them or they would have started renovations by putting the signs up. The fact that they haven’t actually says something.

                    • hansman

                      Or they are trying to be good neighbors but the rooftops aren’t playing along.

                      The Cubs are now moving forward with putting up the sign.

            • Jason P

              Attempting to respond to rambling with real points tends to only result in more rambling. So I’ll go line by line.

              “Brett you do the same from the Ricketts point.” — No, he doesn’t. His viewpoint is that we don’t know all the details so we shouldn’t rush to judgment. Compared to some other bloggers out there, Brett has actually been fairly pro-rooftop (or at least not anti-rooftop).

              “You tried to catch me or whatever about the Forbes article but you yourself said exactly the same as I was saying back in April.” — Also false. Not only false, complete and utter bullcrap. Here’s what Brett said in that article: “I tend to believe that Tom Ricketts isn’t flat-out lying about how organizational dollars are used” Here’s what you said: “Also, Ricketts is kind of a baby to be quite honest.”

              Literally, complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

              “how do you know that the cubs commissioned someone to find out how much more profitable it was within Wrigley that without” — Because they have an entire business ops department whose job is to do stuff like that. Also, because common sense. Outside of Wrigley field=less visibility, both to the in-stadium crowd and the TV crowd. Less visibility=less exposure. Less exposure=less money. They actually probably wouldn’t even need to commission someone to do research to figure that out.

              “So what is the difference with me posting what I read in an article and telling you and you doing exactly the same thing?”

              What did you read and in what article did you read it? How about an actual quote? Also, you don’t “post what you read in articles”. You post what you think you saw in articles with your own made up facts and unsubstantiated assumptions thrown in. And you never use quotes because they don’t back up your argument. It’s much easier to argue in vague generalities.

              • YourResidentJag

                Also, to piggyback on what you’ve said, the general public probably isn’t going to the details of things financially because it’s in the best interest of the Cubs as an organization not to litigate, and therefore open the books for public consumption.

              • MattM

                Jason this is a great post. So now I don’t quote article huh. DId you read the quote from Brett’s article that I added? Let me add it again so you don’t look past it like you conveniently did….

                This is Bretts quote from April: It’s entirely possible that the Ricketts Family has paid down none of the debt in two years, but it feels a bit surprising. It also raises questions about the $30ish million in “income” that the Cubs have been purportedly netting the last couple of years. Where exactly is that money going if every dollar that comes in the door is staying in the organization? Rainy day fund? The front office has mentioned money potentially being rolled over from year to year as needed, so that’s a possibility. But $60 million over the last two years is a pretty healthy rollover.”

                Here is the link again….


                In that article Brett is speculating that the Cubs may not be paying down their debt they may be “putting it back into the team” in some other way…..

                • Jason P

                  Yes, and if you noticed, that paragraph you posted has a lot of question marks. He’s considering the possible explanations. And then he comes to this conclusion:

                  “I tend to believe that Tom Ricketts isn’t flat-out lying about how organizational dollars are used”

                  • MattM

                    Exactly! So he is speculating on what happens and then puts all of those possibilities aside and just says that he agrees with the Cubs.

                    My point is that I can see those same details and believe the opposite. I’ll post the reasons why I believe it the way I see it and Brett posts his view. As well as everyone else.
                    It’s because I don’t agree with all of you on this that you come back and attack me which you do…

                    • Jason P

                      He’s considering the other side of the argument because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you don’t know the facts for sure.

                      He doesn’t “put all of those possibilities aside and just says that he agrees with the Cubs”. He considers the information we do know and comes to the conclusion that there’s no reason to believe the Ricketts are just pocketing money.

                      And he was right because it has since come out that that money *was* being used to pay off debt.

                    • MattM

                      Jason where has that been proven? How much of that 30 million net the last two years has gone towards debt? You must have very strong evidence to say that it has been PROVEN!

                    • hansman

                      The supposed $30M in “profits” weren’t net.

                      Then again, I am not sure you know what EBITDA means without Googling.

                    • Tommy

                      Matt, the fact is, most of us here are Cub fans, not rooftop fans. We love the Cubs and want them to be successful.

                      I personally could give 2 hoots to the rooftop owners. They’ve made a ton of money off of their proximity to the Cubs and have made themselves out to be victims in this whole thing. It’s fairly ludicrous, and if they are doing anything, no matter how minor to keep my favorite team from moving forward, then I say to heck with them. They are nothing but a by-product of what this site is here to discuss.

                    • MattM

                      And Hansman you realize that that 200+ million dollar gross figure Forbes came up with is only part of the picture right?

                      For 2013 the Cubs took in 2.6 million. Just tickets average alone is 54 bucks per ticket. Add concessions to that and its probably 100 per ticket. That right there is over 260 million. Add in the 45 million for TV revenue and that’s 300+ so far. That does not include jersey sales or other merchandise or radio (which probably isn’t much).

                      Here is a quote from Forbes talking about the Rooftops wanting to work with the Cubs and house the signage. “Profile

                      The Cubs attendance plummeted in 2012 as the team went 61-101. In early 2013 at the Cubs Convention, the team announced a five-year, $300 million renovation project hoping to fund it, in part, with revenues acquired by additional advertising, including in the ballpark. The city would need to relax some landmark restrictions for the Cubs to put up the additional advertising. Also, Wrigleyville rooftop owners recently unveiled a proposal calling for the use of their buildings for advertising sold by the Cubs in exchange for continued unimpeded views of Wrigley Field. The association claims the advertising should bring in between $10-20 million annually to be split between the Cubs and the city of Chicago. The team currently generates $4 million annually from their share of rooftop viewers of Cubs game at Wrigley.”

                      Here is the link:


                      Anyway, I’m telling you that I think the Cubs did even better than what’s been stated. The Player expenditures for 2013 were way less than the 137M Forbes is saying.

                      Also Bloomberg’s sounds about right with a $320 million revenue number.

                    • Jason P

                      I do have evidence. A CSN article a while back said the following:

                      “It also appears that the large debt service payments that the Cubs are responsible for have maxed out the money available for the rebuilding process that Epstein and Hoyer are in.”

                    • MattM

                      Jason P you do realize that you just did EXACTLY what Brett chastised me for right? You quoted an article in which they SPECULATE that the debt payments have maxed out money.

                      Ricketts came out and specifically denied that claim.

                      It sounds like you are taking an article that you read that speculates something and are acting like it’s fact.

                      I restate my question….What ACTUAL proof do you have that the 30 million net actually paid off debt?

                    • Jason P

                      I’d love to hear when Ricketts specifically denied that he’s using Cubs revenue for debt payment.

              • brainiac

                yeah just for the record most of my understanding of the situation comes from brett. i get info elsewhere too, but his analysis puts things into perspective. and i’m very critical of the current state of the team, which i would deem “deliberately substandard, in bad faith”. brett’s analysis allows for both extremist followers to declare their allegiance to whatever harebrained waiver line signing jed comes up with, as well as the more pessimistic pragmatists like me. that’s some good blogging.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Nicely done counselor (Jason P)…the defense rests.

  • MattM

    Here’s a quote stating that the Cubs were about to approve the deal but then came back saying the “less money” excuse. “Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, said Wednesday the two sides were “very close to a deal” that would have shifted the right-field sign to the top of one of the rooftop buildings.

    That’s a solution the rooftops club owners proposed a year ago and the Cubs had ruled out on grounds that it would diminish advertising revenue because the sign would not be visible from television cameras positioned behind home plate.”

    The link is here:

    If you look at the rendition of the scoreboard btw where they are attempting to even put that it will not be visible from “behind home plate.”

    That’s common sense. If the scoreboard is at the back of the left center bleachers in front of the Budweiser sign then it wouldn’t be visible from ground level if you are trying to keep the batter in view. If you aren’t worried about the batter and the view is from behind and above then on the rooftop or on the bleacher makes not difference.

    Not only that but the main view in a baseball game is from behind the pitcher not home plate, so even that makes no sense.

  • Greenroom

    MattM is either trying to break the internet or trying to take over and rule the internet. Go outside man, get a beer. Perhaps read some buddhism, deep breaths. You are way too involved in this. I think people get your point, and its seems pretty clear that some agree and some do not agree with you. Do you think you are going to post something and everyone who has disagreed with you is suddenly going to change their minds? peace~

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  • Diehardthefirst

    Wonder if Keith has scoop on ARod dropping all suits? Maybe Yankees agreed to make it suspension with pay on condition ARod is mum so as not to further embarrass MLB by showing its hypocrisy?