Chicago Cubs Are Dealing With a Case of the Ricketts

May 18, 2012 – 1:05 am by Hickey

Back when the Cubs were for sale, Major League Baseball didn’t award the team to Mark Cuban because it was concerned for all of the potential PR headaches he could bring them.

He’s no sporting gentleman! He wears t-shirts and criticizes officials!

And so the team was sold to the Ricketts family, which was presumably as far away from controversy as possible. I mean, these people are from Nebraska, for chrissakes. Doesn’t get much blander than that.

Alas, the Cubs received a headache that never could have been conceived previously when a New York Times article was published Thursday detailing plans being weighed by the Super PAC funded by family patriarch Joe Ricketts. Among the more troubling notions in the report:

“The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an ‘extremely literate conservative African-American’ who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a ‘metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.’”

Guess Herman Cain wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Anyone know LeVar Burton’s politics?

Anyway, for the most part the media’s response to the story is slightly overblown. For one, Ricketts merely commissioned this report. These aren’t his personal findings, just the findings of whoever he paid to find them. And furthermore Joe Ricketts has no hand in the day-to-day operations of the Cubs. That task falls to his son, Tom, and I think all of us can agree that our parents are capable of doing things we’d like to distance ourselves from.

Plus, everyone in this country is entitled to their beliefs, particularly if they’ve got a spare $10 million to help share them with the rest of us.

However, there are a couple of unavoidable issues.

Joe Ricketts is a big fiscal responsibility guy, yet he allows his son to pay Alfonso Soriano $18 million a year. I realize that contract was signed before they bought the team, but hell. Put your money where your mouth is and get rid of the boondoggles saddling future generations.

More significantly, the Cubs are currently in the process of trying to get money from the City of Chicago for the renovation of Wrigley Field. Old Man Ricketts’ politics indicate he should be morally opposed to using public money for anything, although he apparently has no issue with the matter when it comes to his investment.

The bigger problem is that Chicago’s mayor is Rahm Emanuel. You know, the guy who was Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff and is notorious for holding grudges and having a hot temper. Not the kind of guy you want to piss off when you are trying to get money from him.

The Cubs have previously stated that renovations are completely necessary in order for the team to stay in Wrigley. Without them, it’s possible the team will have to move to some lame-ass suburb in the next decade — which is obviously the axe they will try to hold over the City of Chicago’s head — which bring us to another interesting point.

Even with renovations, the upkeep at Wrigley will be expensive and the amount of revenue available to pull in limited. However, just up and leaving the stadium would be a wildly unpopular move with the fanbase. Unless, of course, you were left with no other choice because you were unable to get any money from a very angry mayor.

Considering the elder Ricketts’ clear taste for underhanded politics, it would not surprise me in the least if he wants to see the team leave the city in order to make more money — remember, there is barely any parking at Wrigley, plus a lot of beer and concessions are lost to neighborhood establishments. And what better way to get to the suburbs than to force an untenable situation with Chicago?

I’ve never been a conspiracy guy, but in this case the dots seem easy to connect.

Is it unlikely? Yes. But it is evident that Mr. Ricketts is willing to do just about anything necessary to get what he wants, the limits of which we just don’t know.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  1. 2 Responses to “Chicago Cubs Are Dealing With a Case of the Ricketts”

  2. You’ve been reading/watching Game of Thrones, haven’t you? All this underhanded, backstabbing politics…but yet, it makes perfect sense! The way you have the dots laid out, or the ducks lined up or whatever metaphor you’d like to use…it just makes a lot of sense. But then again, I love me a good conspiracy.

    I don’t know what LaVar Burton’s views are, but I did meet him once. His mother lives (or lived, she may not be with us anymore) in Fort Wayne and he came to the bookstore I was working at in the period between undergrad and ND. I did a double-take when he came through the line with his family, and then when he smiled I knew it was him. I didn’t really make a big deal out of it, but I said it was nice to meet him. He seemed pretty cool.

    And…yeah. That’s about it.

    By MJenks on May 18, 2012

  3. You know, one thing I’m pretty tired of is this lame veneration for stadia just because they’re old. Fenway is 100 years old? I guess that’s cool. The Boston Red Sox are still playing in a stadium with obstructed views? In 2012? Just because they always have?

    Having Wrigley is cool just as the answer to the trivia question that it’s the oldest Federal League park still standing. But keeping it? Every single addition and change they make to it just adds more and more ‘junk’ to the neighborhood.

    It’s old and getting older. Some traditions just aren’t worth it, anymore. The House that Ruth Built is now just a park. There’s probably a plaque. Bill Maseroski’s homer is immortalised in the Pitt campus. Ebbett’s and the Polo Grounds are housing projects. Tiger Stadium is an empty lot with a diamond and flagpole.

    Baseball is too in love with its ‘traditions’ sometimes. Just get the former-HOK Sport morons to design a stadium that looks just like every other ‘modern’ stadium and be done with it. Even as a non-Cubs fan, I have better things to do than hear about them trying to save a venerable old landmark by placing more seats over the sidewalk or perhaps on top of the roof.

    Night baseball didn’t ruin anything and neither will a new stadium.

    By Santa Claustrophobia on May 18, 2012

Post a Comment