by Kent Sterling
There have been times in the nearly four years he has owned and operated the Chicago Cubs that fans and media have questioned Tom Ricketts competence. So many flaws are obvious in the onfield product that fans who filled Wrigley relentlessly for a decade are finally deciding to stay home.
People said for years that you couldn’t keep fans out of Wrigley if you beat them away with a bat. Well, you can if that bat swings and misses with runners in scoring position with as much regularity as the Cubs do.
Now, Ricketts is on the cover of his own fan rag, and the headline declares that he’s the “Cubs #1 fan.” The strategy behind this must be awful, although I can’t imagine what it is. It seems similar to that of Lloyd Bridges’ character Izzy Mendelbaum on “Seinfeld”, who wore a shirt emblazoned with “World’s Greatest Dad” to prove the he was the world’s greatest dad. What prompted this absurd ode to a billionaire whose smile
looks more like a grimace is anyone’s guess, so I made three:
- The reparation of Ricketts’ image after threatening to move the team from Wrigley, which was preposterous on its face. There is no way – zero chance – that the Cubs would turn their backs on the only asset available to the team to compel a reasonable level of attendance. Without Wrigley, the Cubs are the Royals – no offense to the Royals. No one in their right mind took Ricketts’ threat seriously.
- Kissing Ricketts’ ass because he’s not enjoying his job as much as he thought he would. “Here’s list list of options from our brainstorm for cheering up Tom – hiring a clown to pass out candy in the halls, renting a dunk tank and giving Hendry $400 to sit in it for an hour while Tom throws at the target, buying him the boxed set collection of Charles Grodin movies, bring in the other three guys from barbershop quartet camp he’s always talking about, or we throw his picture on the cover of Vine Line and follow him around for a day for feature. Thoughts? Okay, we’ll do them all!”
- Because the editors believe readers are genuinely curious how this putrid sausage is made by the head butcher. No one is that dumb.
That Ricketts sees his continued branding as a great fan of the team he owns, rather than the owner of a team with great fans as positive for the Cubs, the Ricketts, or baseball in general shows a growing dissociation with reality that would baffle a panel of Freud, Jung, Joyce Brothers, Dr. Phil, and Deepak Chopra.
The bizarre regular guy routine isn’t just an insult to the intellect of the fans, but an affront to rich people in general.
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