by Kent Sterling
It has long been said that the Chicago Cubs can drive the sane completely mad. What owning the team can do was anyone’s guess until today when Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told the media, “I think we have a team right now that can go to the playoffs.”
Predicting victory is a screwy choice when a team is capable of it, but for a team coming off the worst three-year run in the sad and tormenting history of the franchise is the act of a loon or liar.
The Cubs made no meaningful additions to the roster that opened 2013, and traded virtually all of the parts in which anyone showed serious interest, and are expected to deal soon-to-be 2014 opening day starter Jeff Samardzija before the trade deadline.
Ricketts continued, “The whole organization has a great vibe right now, from top to bottom. Everybody knows we have a lot of talent coming up. Everyone knows we’ve got some young guys that are going to step up this year and perform. We’ve got energetic new management. It’s a great energy.”
I will wager $100,000 today that the Cubs will not go to the playoffs if Ricketts offers me $100K when the Cubs lose their 90th game. If neither happens, it’s a wash. To raise the $100K, I would have to sell my house, and everything in it. For Ricketts, $100K is 1% of the new revenue generated by the Cubs new signage deal with Anheuser Busch. Still a great deal for me.
Give me a call, Tom. Happy to take your walking around cash.
The Cubs have functioned under Ricketts as the Kansas City Royals used to. Anyone who makes more than a living wage and has value is dealt for prospects.
There is only one type of guy easier to hate than a silver spooner, and that’s a silver spooner who lies through his teeth every time his lips move. The very least fans should be able to expect from the head man at Wrigley Field is a dose of honesty that might temper expectations for those not yet old enough to understand that all major league ballplayers are not created equal.
My Dad took me to my first Cubs game just after I turned six. He gave me his scorecard and pencil, and told me to get an autograph from the Reds player standing next to the fence. I ran to the rail, stuck out my card and pencil, and the Red happily signed. When I got back to my seat, Dad was laughing. The Reds player from whom I copped an autograph was none other than Fred Whitfield. The guy next to him was Pete Rose.
I didn’t know the difference because my only exposure to professional baseball was via a 19-inch black and white TV. What’s Ricketts’ excuse?
Ricketts has evolved as a gasbag over his four-plus years as the owner of the team he famously became a fan of while living across Addison fromWrigley Field, and his bleating has become more and more annoying.
He began his reign of competitive poverty by insisting that he would invest in talent. So far, he has lived up to his word by awarding extensions to both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Castro paid off by watching trains go by while at shortstop and notching an OPS of .631, which only qualifies as mediocre because Darwin Barney’s was a rancid .569. Rizzo hit .233. Did Ricketts invest? Yes, but he promised to invest in talent.
See what I did there?
With today’s comments, Ricketts is now drawing suspicion as to whether he might be a danger to himself. Lying is one thing, but misrepresenting the potential of your team by nearly 30 wins is the act of a fool, nut, or sociopath.
That he believes anyone would take his bizarre assurances seriously speaks to his low regard for the intellect of Cubs fans.
Buying tickets to watch his product confirms his belief that we are easily buffaloed lemmings