At the 2015 Cubs Convention, there were a surpassingly large number of compliments directed towards the Ricketts Family – Chairman Tom Ricketts in particular. Now, I’m not saying it was surprising because the fans were so complimentary, but the sheer amount of praise was relatively high for a team that finished in last place. Of course, this was the Cubs Convention. The sample of people that go a convention about the Cubs is probably a bit biased in their love for the team and the end of the 2014 season was exciting and filled with rookie debuts.
Still, this was before the 2015 season, the playoffs, and all of the awards that followed. These fans were praising an owner under whose watch, after taking over in 2009, the team finished five straight losing seasons from 2010-2014. But, as we know, Cubs fans are Cubs fans. We follow the team with a passion, we win with intensity and lose with even more. Moreover, the team had a bright future ahead, the organization had been made incredibly healthy over the preceding few years, and ownership had started authorizing some sizable spending. The praise, though, however deserved, still felt like a year ahead of schedule.
And, even if you weren’t going by convention applause metrics, you can see how popular the Ricketts family is just by looking at some polling data. Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan conducted a team ownership ratings poll and the Cubs ownership group finished second best, just barely behind the San Francisco Giants, and ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Although it’s not surprising or necessarily telling of anything in particular, it’s always nice to see the Cubs at the top of these sorts of lists. The average overall rating was 3.05 out of 5, and the Cubs (Ricketts) came in at 4.4. Being just barely behind the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series Champion Giants and ahead of the “best fans in baseball” St. Louis Cardinals is being among elite company.
The rest of the NL Central, aside from the Cardinals, didn’t fair quite as well, though. The Pirates and Brewers are in the middle of the pack and the Cincinnati Reds are fourth from the bottom. Moreover, they all finished with far fewer overall votes than the Cubs and Cardinals.
There’s plenty of interesting information in the article, so go give it a read. Do you think the Cubs should have finished this high? Would you trade the Ricketts for any other ownership group in baseball? Either way, their relative position feels well-earned and well-deserved as we sit here today.