Chicago Cubs: Cowardice will take center stage at Cubs Convention
The Chicago Cubs released information about next week’s Cubs Convention Thursday. Notably absent was a Q&A panel with the Ricketts family.
For the second time in as many years, it appears there will be no question and answer session with Tom Ricketts and the rest of the family. What does this mean? Cubs ownership won’t have to face the music when it comes the myriad of questions fans have heading into 2020.
Last year, the family declined to have a panel, as well, saying that fans had found it ‘boring’ in the past. Well that may have been the case when we were all still basking in Joe Maddon‘s young club making an improbable run to the NLCS in 2015 or still soaking up the team’s 2016 World Series championship. But all of that feel-good magic is long gone – and Ricketts knows it.
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Since that stretch, the mood has soured – and rightfully so. Many questioned the team’s decision to continue employing Addison Russell in the wake of domestic abuse allegations in recent years – and the issues continue to pile up. Why have the Cubs stopped spending in the middle of a competitive window? Will the hyped Marquee Network deliver? As of right now, millions of households won’t be able to watch games next month. The list goes on and on.
That’s a problem. A big one.
Next weekend marks my third Cubs Convention. My brother-in-law got me into it. To be honest, I never had the money to go before that but when he suggested we make it our annual tradition, I was all about it.
2018 was interesting. One year removed from a World Series title, the Cubs made it back to the NLCS for the third-straight year before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a division title and another deep October run in recent memory, it was hard to really be all that disappointed – let’s be honest.
Last year, Chicago won 95 games before falling to the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card game. I was there for that, all 13 innings – a marathon that, as we all know, ended in disappointment. Still, 95 wins is nothing to sneeze at, as all Cubs fans can attest to. So, once again, I was largely content enjoying my beer and the always raucous atmosphere at the Sheraton.
But when Ricketts takes the stage to kick off the three-day event next Friday, I anticipate an entirely different kind of energy in the room. Without the panel, it seems like a good bet that fans are going to make it very well known how they’re feeling: angry, disappointed and fleeced.
We’ve been sold on a vision: one where the Cubs are annual competitors and the goal is World Series or bust. Ricketts and his siblings had no problem taking showers in the praise (and money) of Cubs fans during the good times – but now that the mood in the room has shifted, they’ve retreated to higher ground.
Let’s be fair. The Ricketts family has done tremendous things for the organization, its fans and Wrigleyville, as a whole. They helped breathe new life into Wrigley Field and their efforts have completely altered what it’s like to be a baseball fan on the North Side. A break-even season used to be considered a success. Now, it’s October or bust. None of that should be taken lightly.
All that being said, there’s a degree of responsibility and accountability that should come with owning a professional sports franchise, especially one so revered as the Cubs. That means owning your mistakes and decisions come hell or high water. So step up, Ricketts. The fans deserve to hear from you – at the very least.