Goatriders of the Apocalypse

A few more thoughts on the sale to the Ricketts clan


While we should probably remain concerned about the fiscal abilities of a new owner that took nearly six months to scrape together the necessary cash to seal the deal, it remains freshing to finally have a face to associate with the ownership of the Cubs. Maybe Tom Ricketts will indeed be a super-fan bent on building a winning franchise, or perhaps he'll be an amateur meddler of the Pete Angelos mold and will run the team into the ground. Probably he will be somewhere in the middle -- a little heavy-handed on some things, but overall better than what we've had from the Tribune these last 28 years.

Like a bunch of Cub fans, I previously wrote Ricketts a rather lengthy "open letter" loaded with this fan's perspective on the things the team needs. Rather than re-post it word for word, or write another one, I think I'll just highlight the two most important things.

First -- I sincerely hope that Ricketts surrounds himself with extremely knowledgeable baseball people with a long track record of success. If blogging about the Cubs these last six years has taught me one thing, it's that in many ways the organization's stance on player development and playing strategy is antiquated. You would think that a team desperate to win for the first time in 102 years would try to be perhaps a little more innovative, but "hits not walks," "five-tool prospects," and a ton of other idiotic creeds have dominated the organization for far too long.

Second -- If the Ricketts family does what they need to do regarding Wrigley Field, then we may have to tolerate a year or three of diminished expectations and lower payroll. I know, the vast majority of Cub fans out there are in love with Wrigley Field and would sooner set themselves on fire than see it changed, but the ballpark is old, it's unpleasant, and it's falling apart. One of the first things a new owner will need to consider is the renovation of the ballpark -- perhaps resulting in the complete tearing down of the upper deck -- and it might take one, or two, or even three years to do. In the meantime the Cubs may need to play their games at US Cellular, which nobody wants, or perhaps Soldier Field, which nobody but me has even suggested. Either way, get ready for a few years in the wilderness, because it's this or watch Wrigley disintegrate and eventually get condemned.



And I still am betting that when the temporary relocation occurs will be when the Cubs win a championship. It'd be just too fitting not to happen.

Regardless, we'll get to find out in the near future what the Ricketts' plan is. Hopefully they'll be ambitious. I think we're all burned out on the status quo.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award