Chicago Cubs News

Cubs Convention Day 2

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Day 2 0f the Cubs convention took on a much more serious tone than day 1. The Ricketts family held a seminar with the fans, manager Mike Quade also held a seminar with the fans or tried to at least, and some of the Cubs players addressed recent comments by former teammate- and now Cardinal- Ryan Theriot.

The Cubs began the day 2 by declaring August 10th as Ron Santo day. Before the Cubs take the field against the Washington Nationals, they will unveil a Ron Santo statue that will be displayed outside Wrigley Field.All of the Cubs players will wear #10 during that game.

After the Cubs announced Ron Santo day, the Ricketts family took the stage to address some of the Questions that fans about the future of the Chicago Cubs.

"One thing Ricketts seemed intent on making clear was that his first priority in owning the Cubs was not to line his own pockets with cash.“Just so everybody knows, it’s simple math when it comes to a baseball team,” Ricketts told the crowd of about 1,000 Cubs fans. “No money leaves the system. We sell tickets, we get our revenues from television, we get our revenues concessions and that’s where we start.“… Every single dollar not spent on operational expenses goes to the baseball budget. … We give [general manager] Jim [Hendry] every dollar we can, literally. Then he decides if it goes to the amateur side or to the payroll. In terms of payroll, we still are among the very highest in the league.” ESPN Chicago"

Considering the backlash that came from Ricketts’ October announcement that the Major League payroll would be decreased, Tom Ricketts probably felt it necessary to clear up the uncertainty. But, if you ask me, it sounds like Ricketts is quietly protecting himself over Jim Hendry. Meaning when he said “We give Jim every dollar we can, literally. Then he decides if it goes to the amateur side or to the payroll.” Essentially that is what Ricketts announced in October, that they were shifting funds to the amateur side – player development, drafting, farm system- of the baseball operations. So, that decision must have came from Hendry, meaning he will criticized if that move does not work.

Ricketts also spent time talking about the decision to go with Mike Quade as the Cubs manager, instead of fan favorite Ryne Sandberg…

"Perhaps the biggest potential stir came halfway through the one-hour session when a fan from Skokie asked how Sandberg could be allowed to leave the organization and how Hendry still has his job.Ricketts said that Sandberg is still a valued member of the organization, but as for passing him up and giving the manager opening to Mike Quade, he was 100 percent in favor of Hendry’s decision. He said Sandberg was not asked to leave the organization but made the decision to leave on his own. There are no hard feelings from the Cubs’ view on Sandberg deciding to leave in order to enhance his chances of becoming a manager. ESPN Chicago"

Honestly, what else did you expect Ricketts to say about the managerial hiring? Obviously he was not going to say that A) The Cubs made the wrong choice by hiring Quade, and B) the Cubs forced Sandberg to leave the organization. In all reality, I’m sure that the Cubs felt like in sort they were pushing Sandberg out of the organization. But, you can not blame Ricketts for doing so. The person to blame is Jim Hendry, who essentially promised Sandberg that he would become the Cubs manager after he got experience managing in the Minor Leagues. Sandberg did his part, but Hendry came up short.

Speaking of Hendry, Ricketts also commented on Hendry’s job status heading into the 2011 season…

"As for Hendry, Ricketts gave his support.“We came in a year ago and I think it would be incredibly unfair to walk into an organization and judge people without information,” Ricketts said. “We spent a lot of time traveling to the affiliates and getting to know [staff]. Over the past year I have grown in confidence with Jim, to be honest. He has a good team of people that he’s put together.The real judge of how well he does is how many players we’re consistently bringing up to the major leagues and are the dollars we’re spending [worth it]. Hopefully we’re becoming smarter with how we do contracts.“I think Jim is doing a great job and we’re starting to see some of the fruits of his labor.” ESPN Chicago"

Again, what else can you expect Ricketts to say? He is not going to throw Hendry under the bus in front of one thousand fans. The only time where he might have took a shot at Hendry is when he said “hopefully we’re becoming smarter with how we do contracts.” Are they getting smarter with how they do contracts? No. But they are getting more creative with how they do contracts. To be honest, even if the Cubs miss the playoffs- which is likely- it is still safe to say that Hendry will not be fired. Ricketts has complete trust and confidence in Hendry, which is why it is unlikely that he will fire him.

As for Mike Quade, he was suppose to have a seminar with the fans, but David Kaplan of WGN Radio rudely took over the session. As Bruce Miles notes, Kaplan asked 15 questions thus taking most of the opportunity away from the fans. Considering that I generally am not a fan of David Kaplan, I will not go in full detail of the things he touched as  most of it was a waste time. Here’s, however, something that I did find to be the most ridiculous from Kaplan.

"Kap went into populist mode a little later when he mentioned a favorite whipping boy of his, Aramis Ramirez, whom he has accused of being “a dog” in the past. Let’s remember that Ramirez is a middle-of-the-order hitter who is paid to drive in runs.Kap: “You’re at home. It’s a tie ballgame. It’s the bottom of the eighth. You’ve got, let’s say, Aramis Ramirez. Let’s pull someone out of thin air (sure). You’ve got guys at first and second. We keep seeing, not just the Cubs, everywhere in the game, ‘I can’t ask my 4-hole hitter to lay a bunt down. Why is that? A guy gets paid 15 million dollars. I can’t ask him to bunt.’ Then he shouldn’t be in the damn game.”Actually, some people in the crowd applauded this line. Cubs people rolled their eyes.Quade: “We’ve just got a different philosophy there. I think he’s getting $15 million to drive in the winning run (applause). We can bunt him. They walk the 5-hole guy, and the fifth-hole guy hits into a double play. Then you’re asking me, ‘Why in the hell did you bunt Ramirez?’ Those guys in the middle of the order get paid to hit. Those middle-of-the-lineup guys have to drive in runs. When you start asking them to play small ball, you’re normally in trouble.”One member of the Cubs family later said that if you ask Ramirez or any other No. 4 hitter to bunt in that situation, you’re telling him you have no confidence in him to drive in a run. He also said you’re giving away one of your 27 outs. Daily Herald"

Before I give my opinion on the comments from Kaplan, I just want to share a thought about David Kaplan. Remember those people who always think they know everything? Well, that is exactly who David Kaplan is. He thinks that he is the only one that knows what to do. In addition, I think he embarrasses the rest of the Chicago reporters by how much emotion he puts into reporting. As a reporter, Kaplan should not be calling professional players “dogs”, or say something like “he should not be in the damn game.” No one is ever going to take you serious if act like a child. Even as a blogger-where I have the freedom to say just about anything- I refrain from name calling, and cursing, because I feel it is unprofessional.

As for his Aramis Ramirez rant, just answer me this, Would you tell Albert Pujols to bunt? How about Ryan Howard? Alex Rodriguez? Mark Teixiera? Do I really have to say anything more?

Speaking of tirades, former Cub- turned Cardinal- Ryan Theriot went on an anti-Cub tirade the day he joined the Cardinals. Cubs players finally got some parting shots at their former teammate.

"Theriot made some caustic remarks about the Cubs organization to a St. Louis radio station after being traded from the Dodgers to the Cardinals in November, leading to his newfound status as a villain. He said he was “finally on the right side” of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and that the Cubs never stressed winning a World Series when he came up in the organization.“It was almost an afterthought,” he said. “It really wasn’t talked about too much. It was like an unattainable goal. And now, being here with an organization like this, it’s right there for the taking.”His comments angered some former teammates.“I’m not going to lie, I was a little (ticked),” Geovany Soto told fans, drawing applause during a session with Carlos Zambrano, Koyie Hill and Tom Gorzelanny.Hill said he was trying to be “politically correct” with his remarks after being asked whether Theriot would face any retribution from Cubs pitchers.“There’s probably a decent chance he’s going to feel how hard the dirt is around the home-plate batters’ box,” Hill said. “At least once, maybe once an at-bat. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I want to get an apology out of him, and until the whole team, the whole organization kind of feels satisfied …”Zambrano then chimed in, adding he had had “only one thing to say” about Theriot: “He’s the enemy now.” Chicago Tribune"

Whether it was because the Cubs traded him or for whatever reason, Theriot took some unjust shots at the Cubs organization. I do not think the Cubs will be missing Theriot considering that they have a young phenom in Starlin Castro, and Blake DeWitt is essentially a better fielding version of Ryan Theriot. Hopefully Theriot enjoys dirt, which by the way, you gotta love Koyie Hill for coming out and saying that the Cubs pitchers may give Theriot some chin music.

Day 3 of the Cubs convention will be focused mostly on the prospects of the Cubs organization, as minor leagues Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter, and D.J. LeMahieu will take part in the “Down on the Farm” seminar.

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