Data Shows Chicago Cubs Fans Love the Ricketts' Ownership

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Data Shows Chicago Cubs Fans Love the Ricketts’ Ownership

Chicago Cubs

tom ricketts wrigleyAt 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.

That said, 2015 was quite the bright spot. After having one of the most exciting seasons ever, the Cubs’ ownership group opened the check book once again, signing the single best positional player on the market (Jason Heyward) to a huge deal, in addition to free agents Ben Zobrist and John Lackey. Sure enough, the Ricketts family received an even bigger, warmer welcome at the 2016 Cubs Convention.

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.

Unsurprisingly, the Miami Marlins are dead last and the New York Mets are right beside them. If you’re wondering why the New York Mets, despite a World Series appearance in 2015, are at the bottom of the pile, dig a little deeper into their ownership story, specifically with regards to their expected vs. actual payroll. In fact, having created an equation to determine expected ownership rating based on 2015 winning% and payroll, the Mets underperformed by the greatest amount.

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.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami