Defending Tom Ricketts


The next few months for team chairman Tom Ricketts will likely be the most important months for the Cubs owner since his family took control of the organization from the Chicago Tribune company after the 2009 season. However, despite his brief time as team chairman, Tom Ricketts has already faced heavy criticism from fans and local reporters. The criticism would appear to be unwarranted. Just because Tom Ricketts does not have a twitter account like some other professional sports team owners, that does not mean that the Cubs chairman does not know what he is doing.

Before Ricketts offically announced the firing of Jim Hendry as Chicago Cubs general manager, many criticized him for not having any baseball knowledge. But, this sentiment is wrong on many levels. For one, all you have to do is look at the effort that Ricketts has put in this season in imrpoving the organization. For one, Ricketts spent two months researching and touring the Cubs minor league system. On this tour, Ricketts became familiar with the various prospects, coaches, and scouts within the system. Such a trip by an owner is usually unheard of.But going to back to his introductory press conference, Ricketts is determined to make the Cubs one of the best organizations in all of baseball. The best way of doing that is by improving the farm system, which Ricketts know has first hand knowledge of.

The other popular misconception is that Ricketts does not seem to focus on the baseball operations of the Cubs. That again, could not be further from the truth. Before the season started, news got out that Ricketts was developing a world-class facility in the Dominican Republic. There is an increasing amount of talent coming from the Dominican Republic, and once the new facility opens, that should increase the Cubs presence in international signings. On top of that, the Cubs are coming off of a very successful draft. In fact, the Cubs draft probably ranks in the top 5 this season. Reason being that Ricketts allowed scouting director Tim Wilken to go after players that others team were afraid to touch because they viewed those players as being “tough signs”. That resulted in the Cubs signing 18 of their top 20 draft choices, and spending a club record $12 million to make sure those prospects signed.

While the actions that Ricketts has made so far may not have an immediate impact, his decisions may have set the foundation for the Cubs becomming one of the top organizations in all of baseball. There is no on this planet that wants to see the Cubs win the World Series as much as Ricketts does, but, the chairman realizes that in order for the Cubs as organization to have contunued success, he has to build from the ground up.

Now the criticism of Ricketts has crossed over into his search for a new general manager. Some believe that Ricketts is taking on too much, and may not be able to make the smart hire. How those people formulated that belief is beyond me. Ricketts has done an incredible amount of research behind the scenes, and he is not obligated to make those findings public. Believe it or not, the Cubs chairman has developed some highly touted connections around the baseball industry. With advice from those connections, Ricketts is going to make a very smart choice when it comes to the next general manager.