Please stick with me through this whole thing, because I promise you my point is worth considering. I PROMISE you something is going to click.
Reality has set in that the heroes that brought us our first World Series after 108 years of nothing are gone, with the exception of Jason Heyward, Wilson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, and former player turned manager David Ross.
Now we are left with a team looking towards the future, an architect of destruction in Jed Hoyer, and an owner that has made it loud and clear he is here for profit. It’s time for Tom Ricketts to cash out and give fans and players an ownership group that wants to win in a big market.
In 2009, the Ricketts family, led by Tom, purchased the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Company for a transaction the Tribune valued at around $845 million (in reality, it was about $900 million). At the time of purchase, father of the family Joe, founder of TD Ameritrade, said “Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports. The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world, and we count our family among them.”
They count themselves in on the greatest fans in the world. Lol.
From the start of their reign as owners, the Ricketts led efforts to upgrade and renovate Wrigley Field while keeping its historical and iconic features intact. Starting in 2013, they introduced what they called the “1060 Project” (for Wrigley’s address, 1060 W Addison). The projected cost was $575 million, and included improvements to the interior and exterior of Wrigley Field, as well as the surrounding areas around the ballpark.
I won’t get into specifics and stuff of what they did, because that isn’t the point of this whole thing. But what they did definitely had pros and cons. Biggest pros being the things done to bring more comfort and hospitality for players, media, and staff all around with improvements to the clubhouses. press boxes, and new front office building next to the stadium in particular. Additional work done to bring more businesses (mostly restaurants/bars) opportunities to be involved and benefit/thrive in Wrigley as well are hugely well-praised in Wrigleyville.
The biggest controversy by far was the installation of the video boards in left and right fields, blocking the views of the historic rooftop seats across the street. Lawsuits, protests, the who shabang went down because of that. But ultimately, they went up, and will forever be there.
The Ricketts also led the charge for Marquee Sports Network, showing the door to Cubs games being broadcasted on NBC Sports Chicago, but also the local stations, channel 7 ABC and our BELOVED channel 9 WGN. You know, the way it should be.
RIP WGN. I love you.
For funsies, let’s take a look at Tom announcing Marquee Sports Network at the Cubs convention in 2020 before the pandemic happened.
“Believe me, you won’t be booing about that in a year.”
Well, he was right. We’re not booing about THAT. It’s like he knew.
NOW LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. As it stands right now, let’s look at the value of the Chicago Cubs franchise.
THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE CURRENTLY WORTH $3.36 BILLION DOLLARS. Although the franchise was worth $700 million at the time of sale, let’s still say they were purchased for $900 million. We are approaching 4x profit on investment.
The city of Chicago is the third largest market in sports, behind New York and Los Angeles. In baseball, New York and Los Angeles have owners that understand they are in a big market and are going to make money regardless of the product on the field. Yet more times than not you will see the Yankees and the Dodgers, heck even the Mets this year, spending that money and making those moves to get to the top and STAY at the top. Consistently.
We had a taste of that, starting in 2014. Cubs secured Joe Maddon, then they got Jon Lester. After 2015, the Cubs went all in on Jason Heyward. Midseason they trade assets mid-season the curse breaks and the Cubs win the World Series. 2017, the Cubs trade for Wade Davis in the bullpen. They made a mid-season move, showing to go for it again possibly trading another asset to (of all people) the White Sox for Jose Quintana. An NLCS loss to the Dodgers, but it looked like it was going to be the Cubs & Dodgers for years to come. The more past 2016 we got, the moves became TRADES, not SIGNINGS.
Then, mystery came about, sort of.
THIS IS WHERE I AM GOING TO MAKE MY POINT AND BLOW YOUR MIND. I’M GLAD YOU’VE STUCK AROUND THIS LONG (OR SKIPPED TO THIS PART HONESTLY THAT’S COOL TOO).
I mean it was almost a certainty that extensions should be in play for the core players – Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Baez, maybe even Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks. You had to figure something out. Right? There have been no big signings and contracts. The farm has been depleted because of trades. So the winning had to come from signings.
Tom Ricketts said money was tight, there was no money, there couldn’t be talks yet.
Please see the chart above again.
WHAT? HOW? WHY?
And how did we fall for this?
Fast forward to now, because I know you’re all bored and sad and pissed. This is my point. I think Tom Ricketts brought a World Series to the Cubs by spending and Theo drafting, and now it does not matter what happens. He got the trophy already, he only needed one to ensure our satisfaction/happiness/glory & praise, and now he can just bring in his money.
That’s it. That’s my point.
It does not matter to Tom Ricketts if the team is successful or not for the next 10+ years, because he got a ring. He brought us one trophy. He has flipped the house and is upping the rent to earn his return. The rent in this case is him limiting/lowering the amount he is allowing to be spent on the team. He wants to make money, not win championships.
Is that something people seriously do? Absolutely, you’re just not supposed to in the 3rd biggest sports market in the country. And who saw that? THEO EPSTEIN. Theo saw that they weren’t going to let him spend to win, and I think that’s really why he decided it was time to leave. Theo himself ended the curse in Boston, then ended the curse in Chicago. There was nothing more for him to prove, especially without being allowed to.
So Jed Hoyer said, hey, I’ll take a big promotion and play MLB The Show Franchise Mode for a while with absolutely no money. Why not? That’s a Ricketts guy right there.
Cubs fans have been used to this and numb to this for decades and lifetimes before, and we deserve better. We’ve tasted the top of the food chain, and there is no reason to drop back down other than the selfish Ricketts taking advantage of our money. It’s time for it to end, and it’s time we get an owner we deserve and one that cares about the product being put on the field. And our star players (HEROES) deserved the respect and opportunity to be here for life.
We got played and fooled by the external appearances the Ricketts put out there, the cover of the book if you will. And now we are witnessing the internal selfish intentions they really had in mind all along.
THAT is why it is time for new, real, INVESTED ownership on the north side, for the first time in a century. Unfortunately, all they see is dollar signs, and the Ricketts do not care if we are unhappy. We will be trapped in this relationship for the foreseeable future.
At least we have the Bears…. oh wait.