City of Chicago and Cubs Fans Should Tell Tom Ricketts to Go to Hell – or Schaumburg

by Kent Sterling

Smilin' Tom Ricketts

Smilin’ Tom Ricketts

I’ve finally had it with this smarmy intellectual creep.  Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has finally gone too far – way too far – in campaigning for what is now the framework of an agreement  for expanding the profitability of Wrigley Field and the area near it.

There is language for additional night events – up to 61, between the regularly scheduled Cubs games, concerts, possible rescheduled games due to cancellations, and games picked up by ESPN that won’t count against the schedule.

Ricketts wants to put signage everywhere the eye can see in and around Wrigley, and wants to violate the agreement with rooftop owners.  He wants restrictions in place to prohibit advertising outside Wrigley and visible inside Wrigley.  There is also a prohibition of peddling, likely to stop the vendors catching people on their way in. In short – nobody gets to make money from the foot traffic near Wrigley but the Cubs.

All of that is just business as usual for business.  Maximizing the ability to profit is Ricketts right, even if they go over the “Mr. Potter” (from “It’s a Wonderful Life”) line in restricting the guys who sell discount peanuts across the street from the main entrance, and near the Addison el stop.  Ricketts paid $850 million like a boob for the Cubs.  Getting a chance to recoup it isn’t evil.

What is evil is what this grinning gnome said in discussing the framework of the agreement, “If this plan is approved, we will win the World Series for our fans and our city. We need this project in order to bring our fans a winner. The financial impact of this proposal will help us do that.

“It’s a significant amount of dollars that can be generated. … I’m not sure exactly which dollars come in which years, but it absolutely increases Theo’s [Epstein] ability to put dollars to work on the field — and substantially.”

What an idiotic promise.  To advance the notion that there is a guaranteed quid pro quo for allowing the Cubs to turn Wrigley Field into a whorehouse of billboards, video screens, and increased square footage designed to do nothing more than allow Ricketts to stuff his pockets at the expense of the rubes who continue to hold out hope that one day the Cubs will win.

Ricketts, if he weren’t such a disingenuous twit, would have said, “Hey, what do you think, I bought this mess to blow my family’s fortune.  I want cash, and the more I can wring out of it, the better.  You know why?  Because this is America, and that’s what we do here.  If you could make a billion dollars on the backs of the morons who continue to march into Wrigley Field to watch the product I eviscerate as I shake their hands and thank them for coming, wouldn’t you!”

Yes, fans watch Ricketts and his gang of poor stewards trot out a terrible team season after season, and then thank him.  Now because Ricketts wants to turn one of the most beautiful places on earth into  a garden of images clamoring for the attention of the three million fans who show up each year to watch the Cubs suck, he guarantees a World Series championship.

It’s a P.T. Barnum-esque statement that should be a large enough insult to keep even the most ravenous fan from paying to watch misery in blue pinstripes.  Of course, it won’t because people are idiots.  Ricketts is a bad enough guy to leverage that idiocy into mogul level wealth.

The only acceptable response is for Cubs fans to deny themselves the torture of watching Edwin Jackson earn his $13 million a year for throwing enough wild pitches to make a scorecard illegible, and Alfonso Soriano avoid RBIs like his religion prohibits it.  If Cubs fans were smart enough to grasp the level at which they are being fleeced, the only person watching this daily tragedy of sub-mediocrity would be head grifter Crane Kenney.

Profiting from the misery of others is a chart topper of immorality, and with every utterance of optimism, Ricketts secures his spot as one of our cultures most miserable cretins.  By guaranteeing a World Series title – if the City of Chicago approves his heavy handed effort to turn Wrigley into Vegas East – he has crossed a line that belies a huge sack, and a tiny heart.

Cubs fans have suffered through three crazy ownerships over the last century.  From the time the Wrigley Family became majority owners in 1921 and ran the team with quaint incompetance through the Tribune Company’s occasional reasonable stewardship to the money grubbing Ricketts, the loyalty of a great fan base has been as ill-served as any in the history of sports.

It’s time they rise up and end this mockery.  Hurt this leech where it hurts – his wallet.

13 thoughts on “City of Chicago and Cubs Fans Should Tell Tom Ricketts to Go to Hell – or Schaumburg

  1. David

    Amen. Its about time someone has the intelligence and guts to tell the truth.
    One of the most profitable teams in baseball.
    Highest prices in baseball.
    Tells everyone its not about the money and than tries to squeeze every nickel out of every Cubs fan. He has taken all the fun out of Wrigley.

  2. jeff rocket

    Tom Ricketts should be ashamed of himself… Trying to put everyone out of business… Over 30,000 square feet of advertising on hotel and captain morgan’s club …$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ …. also putting all vendors out of business… What a wish list…. also wanting a percentage of every bar in wrigleyville… Taking over the rooftops by putting them all out of business when they have a 20 year contract….. This is a simply case of Dr. Jeckle and Mr Hyde…… We want Sam Zell back

  3. mark mcquire

    Yeah I saw daddy ricketts on youtube say how stupid cub fans are to keep buying our worthless product. Tom Ricketts believes if he puts in a couple dollars you will win the world series what a joke!!!! also it doesn’t cost 200 million to build a hotel…. maybe 60 million … such inflated numbers… Last but least I read from carol Slevak in 2004 from the Sun times that the rooftop owners signed the worst deal at 17percent gross (equates to 50percent net) who were the guys CRANE KENNEY AND MIKE LUFRANO SAYING IT WAS A GREAT DEAL …. and now they want to put them out of buisness when they have a 20yr contract…. a contract is a contract right????? Due Dilengence Mr Ricketts ….. I wish Mr mark CUBAN BOUGHT THE TEAM…. AT LEAST HE KNOWS HOW TO NEGOIATE IN GOOD FAITH ….

  4. Melissa

    Thanks, Kent. Finally someone who gets it! Tom Ricketts is not doing any favors for the city of Chicago or the community of Wrigleyville.

  5. terry o

    I am a huge Cub fan…and if the park cannot generate enough revenue then move to Rosemont. I am so sick of hearing these roof top owners complaining that they are getting screwed….

  6. Daniel

    The question you have to ask is – what would the neighborhood look like if the Cubs moved? Bars / shops / restaurants would lose a ton of money and many would be forced to close. The Cubs are a huge economic engine for the neighborhood and the city. PLUS, Ricketts is investing his own money for renovations – not tapping into tax dollars like the Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks – all of which basically paid nothing for their new stadiums. I assume you wrote a long piece detailing your disdain for the amount of advertising / jumbotron at the Cell? Or how cagey Reinsdorf is for shaking down tax payers?

    So what, peanut vendors (who by the way would be out of business if the Cubs moved) need to move a block further away to sell their stuff? Who cares? Why do you care if there are more advertisements in Wrigley?

    Also, do some research and mention that the Cubs are in-line for a huge, huge financial windfall once they are able to renegotiate their regional sports deal – one that could be worth upwards of $3B over 20 years. Reference the Dodgers deal with Fox.

    1. Pauly Balst

      Reinsdorf haters crack me up. He built the United Center with his own money, and it’s the most successful arena in the history of the free world, at 100% capacity for years now. So Rahm Emanuel wants to use his McCormick TIF money to do what? Build an arena with public money to compete with Reinsdorf!

      Reinsdorf drafted and retained the greatest player in any sport in Michael Jordan, whereas the Tribune Company traded several hall of famers.

      Reinsdorf brought a baseball world championship to this city.

      Reinsdorfs position was simple. Build a stadium or I move to the Sox the suburbs or Tampa. The city agreed, then forced him to put it in the ghetto due to patronage and payoffs. He is on record saying he will take blame for design, but no way he would have put it there WITH HIS OWN MONEY.

      Pols got what they wanted.

      1. John Johnson

        Jerry Reinsdorf purchased the Bulls with Jordan already on the roster. And he has never drafted anyone personally. The Bulls and Hawks are 50-50 partners in the United Center. The Hawks are not Reinsdorf’s tenant.

  7. Daryl Earnest

    Daniel, the United Center is PRIVATELY OWNED BY REINSDORF, NUMBNUTS! The Blackhawks are his TENANT. Yeesh.

    1. Jim Curry

      Reinsdorf was LUCKY, to inherit Jordand who made him millions.he is a mooch and leech of the state who built the usually vacent south side toilet known as the Cell.

  8. Rahm Tickets

    @ Kent – How exactly is Tom Ricketts intellectual? By getting into U of C undergrad when doing so was comparatively easy? The man has a certain low cunning, but he’s not intellectual.

    @ Daniel – What would the neighborhood look like if the Cubs moved? Pretty much like the rest of the North Side, almost all of which is nice, Cubs or no Cubs. (Uptown still is sketchy.)

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Intellectual in my world is a self-proclaimed status. It has more to do with his attitude than capabilities.


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