Perhaps we should be encouraged by the Todd Ricketts "Undercover Boss" episode
For those of you who may have missed it, "Undercover Boss" is a show where the presumed "boss" of a company goes incognito and does menial jobs with menial schlubs in his own company, generally fails miserably, then cleans himself up and makes futile conciliatory gestures towards said schlubs, the end. Todd Ricketts was featured in this week's show.
The masses didn't really enjoy it very much. Andy very nicely summarizes for us here.
I choose to be encouraged, and here's why:
In all the other episodes, the "boss" is usually the boss due to his or her own merits. It is not necessary that the head of FedEx be able to wrap a package more quickly than his trained package wrappers, for example. He got to his lofty position because of his other abilities, that far outweigh the abilities of mere mortal men. The show, by and large, is nothing more than a feel-good device for the Tea Party set: a garbageman can handle a garbage can more effectively than the CEO of his company; thus, in some small, ultimately trivial way, Sam Schlub is better than G. Thurston Gotrocks.
Of course, in our specific case, the Ricketts children are nothing more than the lottery winners of the Lucky Sperm club. They did nothing to build the 900 million dollars American it took to buy the Cubs: that was thanks to their father, as well as the butt crazy dot.com economy which eventually crashed and left us where we are at today.
In fact, most of the angst Cub Fan Nation is feeling right now is because none of us really know what the Ricketts kids are truly capable of, outside of swilling Old Styles and picking up chicks in the bleachers. (Yep, that goes for all the kids).
So this particular episode of "UB" took on far more importance than the usual weekly doses of "Freaky Friday" schlock. I don't give a rip if a billionaire isn't a very good panhandler. But, hey, I DID want to see what one of the Ricketts kids is made of.
It wasn't real encouraging that Toddy didn't know how to operate a hose, or a hand truck. But I don't hold it against him that he wanted to spend as little time as possible in the Wrigley Field bathrooms. I usually dash in and out of there myself, holding my breath as long as possible. I don't always give the best high-fives, either, although I would know better than to try to give one to an authentic black guy. An enthusiastic nod and a loud "YEAH" always seems to work.
But what made me sit up in my chair and take notice was his hot-dog vending effort. After several hours sitting in his heated box, Todd (rightly) determined that the last four weiners were no longer fit for human consumption, so he dipped into his own pocket to "buy off" the Foul Four, and surreptiously dumped them in the trash.
Now, it may have had nothing to do with the condition of the dogs, he might have just been lazy, but hear me out:
Aren't the four lousy hot dogs an apt metaphor for the expiring utility of Fukudome, Zambrano and Soriano? Or how about the financials of Crane Kenney's and Jim Hendry's employment? Yes, $15MM+ is a ridiculous amount of money to waste on a player contract, but $4.50 is a ridiculous amount of money to waste on a skinny hot dog in a soggy bun. Might Todd be setting a precedent here, one where the Ricketts are encouraged to dip into their pockets, pay down the bills, and throw out some of their more useless employees? Put some new baseball people in charge; let another set of eyes look at the organization, and determine whether we should be buyers, sellers, or builders?
I think the Great Hot Dog Toss might be a small first step towards something much more substantial: namely; rather than sitting on their asses and waiting for the bad Hendry contracts to expire, maybe the kids are gonna go out a year or two sooner to try to win?
In the meantime, I'll just be sitting here, waiting for the economy to bounce back. Should be any day now.