Archive | Tom Ricketts Family

So Cool — Massive Video Scoreboard Installation & Bleachers Renovation Underway

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Lou

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Finally – construction has begun in earnest to install a new massive Video Scoreboard in left field for the first time ever at Wrigley Field.  We’ll finally get to see those controversial video replays while STILL AT the Friendly Confines — instead of having to wait to get home to watch Sportscenter later that night.

The Cubs have also demolished the left and right field bleachers.  They will be rebuilt with wider concourses and more amenities for fans.  Check out these amazing photos of what the ballpark currently looks like…

The Ricketts Family has gotta be salivating right now.  Let’s just hope we have a warm winter so this can all get finished before opening day in April 2015 against the hated St. Louis Cardinals…

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We’re Back! Cubs Ready To Contend In 2015…

Posted on 03 November 2014 by Lou

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Well, here we go again.  It’s been just shy of 2 years — but I’m finally ready to jump back on that “Cubs-writing horse” again.

At least my last post back on December 20th, 2012 –YES 2012! — was pretty much right on.  The Cubs were on the verge of signing Edwin Jackson to a 4-year, $52 million deal.  I was besides myself.  The Cubs had lost 91 games in 2011 and then 101 games in 2012.  Theo & Co. were preaching a good old-fashioned rebuild.  They lost out on the Anibel Sanchez sweepstakes to the more competitive Detroit Tigers.  Fine I get it – you swing and missed on a solid starter.  But did that mean you had to go sign Edwin Jackson to a bad contract?! Hell No!  But they did anyway. And as I predicted, it was a bad move (in 2013, Jackson went 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.46 WHIP and in 2014, Jackson went 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA and 1.64 WHIP). And that was it – I could not bear to continue to vent about this team any longer.

But 683 days later, I have finally put that all behind me.  Cubby Blue forever, right?  It hasn’t been easy, but I feel like Theo & Co. are back on course.  Theo acknowledged his Jackson-signing-mistake and vowed never to make a rash decision like that, just to make a move that might placate the fan base.

Sure the Cubs lost 96 games in 2013.  But they continued the re-build the right way with key trades to acquire young talent (Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, etc,).  After the 2013 season, , the Cubs swung and missed on the Tanaka sweepstakes, but they learned from their Edwin Jackson mess and stayed true to the re-build.  They didn’t go take their Tanaka money and spent it on one or 2 lower tier players.  They kept it for a rainy day (see “rainy day” signing of Joe Maddon below).

Sure the Cubs lost 89 games in 2014.  But they continued the re-build the right way with key trades to acquire young talent (Addison Russell, Bill McKinney, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, etc.).  There was a different vibe in the clubhouse and in Wrigley Field, as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo returned to All-Star form.  They were as excited as heck when they won, and never sank too low when they lost.  Manager Rick Renteria wasn’t perfect, but he had a great attitude for the task at hand.  And that positive attitude resonated with his players.  And when Tampa Rays manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract just a little over a week ago, the Cubs had the perfect chance to land a manager who could lead them all the way back to contention.  Sure it may not have been the most popular move in some circles, but Theo had a decision to make for the “organization” not just for “one player” or “one coach” or “one executive” or “one fan” like me.  And if landing one of the best managers in baseball meant you had to fire a respected manager like Renteria, then it had to be done for the good of the organization.

So it all comes full circle from the whole Edwin Jackson signing debacle.

It reminded Theo & Co. that one move was not going to turn the Cubs into perennial World Series front-runners.

It reminded Theo & Co. that they needed to stay true to a well-formulated plan.

It reminded Theo & Co. that not all of their moves were going to be popular with the team or with the fans.  Fans were mad when the Cubs traded away Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel (and the list could go on and on).  But look where they are now because Theo & Co. made those unpopular trades.

Some fans are mad that they sought another manager even when Rick Renteria was still under contract.  Some fans are mad that they are paying $25 million over 5 years to Joe Maddon when they think the Cubs should be paying more money to players that actually perform on the field.  But let’s look at that $25 million as 1 year of the Tanaka deal that never happened thereby giving Theo & Co. the financial means necessary to land a manager with the caliber of Maddon without comprising the pool of funds that can still be used to land productive players on the field.

We will have to see how the 2014 off-season moves all shake out, but I have a pretty good feeling that the number of losses in 2015 will be considerably less than the 89 losses in 2014.  And given my perfect prediction on how the whole Edwin Jackson signing would turn out, you can take that to the bank…

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Bankruptcy Court Gives Tribune Co. to Proceed with Cubs Sale to Ricketts Family

Posted on 16 October 2009 by Lou

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All hands on deck.  The completion of the Cubs sale to the Ricketts Family is inching closer and closer to fruition. Earlier this week, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge ruled that the Tribune Co. can proceed with the sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Ricketts Family for the whopping sum of $845 million. The 1-day bankruptcy filing took place to protect the Ricketts Family from future lawsuits by Tribune Co. creditors who might try to seek a claim against the Chicago Cubs entity.  Now that the courts have ruled that the Tribune Co. and the Cubs can proceed with the sale, things should move along quickly.

Yippee!!!  As I have said before, the Cubs really need to get the Ricketts Family on board before the start of the free agency period (which begins 15 days after the end of the World Series) if the Cubs are to have any chance of making a tiny “dip” (definitely not a big splash) in the free agent market.  With the departure of Rich Harden and hopefully Milton Bradley (even if we have to eat some of his salary), that should free up a little money from which GM Jim Hendry can add a piece or two. The Cubs clearly won’t be able to land a Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, but the Cubs do have some holds that need to be filled.  Having the Ricketts family in place to give guidance to Hendry by the end of October will be a huge step in the right direction.

Go Cubs Go!

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Cubs Looking for Answers…

Posted on 10 October 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs will be looking for answers in 2010.  Let’s hope the Ricketts family has their act together before the end of the World Series.  The Ricketts family will need to be on the same page with GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella before the start of free agency in late November.

Pitching-wise, the Cubs are set with a starting rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny.  The Cubs will likely say goodbye to free agent pitchers Rich Harden and Kevin Gregg, but will look to sign John Grabow soon to serve as the team’s set-up man for Carlos Marmol.  The Cubs will also probably like to try to re-sign Reed Johnson despite his 2009 injury issues.

After signing Grabow, the Cubs certainly need to find a way to trade troubled outfielder Milton Bradley.  Not sure who is going to be willing to take him, but the Cubs will likely have to pick up some of the $20 million still owed to him over the next 2 years.  Not good – but it is what it is.

GM Jim Hendry will also need to figure out who is going to start at 2nd base and center field in 2010.

So while there are some voids that need to be filled in 2010, the Cubs can take a more cautious approach this off-season to see if the team can right the ship after an under-achieving 2009 MLB schedule…

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MLB Approves Sale of Chicago Cubs to Ricketts Family

Posted on 07 October 2009 by Lou

It’s official!  All 29 other MLB team owners unanimously approved the sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Ricketts family.  The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October 2009, and it is believed that the Ricketts family will assume control over the day-to-day operations of the Cubs prior to the free agency period that starts up within days after the end of the World Series Fall Classic.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had this to say about the owners approval:  “We’re extremely pleased that the sale process is drawing to a close, and we are confident that the Ricketts family will be great owners and custodians of the Chicago Cubs.  All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful to the Tribune Company for their years of stewardship of this proud and historic franchise.”

That is good news that the Ricketts family should be in position to make decisions prior to the start of 2010 free agency, but because GM Jim Hendry has mortgaged the team so much of the last 2 years, the Cubs will not be a big player anyway.  Hopefully Ricketts and Hendry can get together to at least make a few minor moves that will bring quality players in at an affordable price for the 2010 season… Management needs to focus on players who tend to stay healthy during the course of the year, players that are good in the clubhouse and players that are fan-friendly to the faithful that trek to Wrigley Field in droves all season long…

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