Cubs: Tom Ricketts shows no care for fans, the team or baseball
Despite owning the Chicago Cubs with his family, Tom Ricketts doesn’t really care about the fans, the team, or baseball itself.
In 2016, when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, and Tom Ricketts stood alongside Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Joe Maddon, the team, and everyone else who helped make the dream a reality, it had a storybook quality to it. Everyone, from top to bottom, came together to celebrate the miracle team that came back from down three to one and brought the Northside its first championship in over a century. It felt like a family with the Ricketts having brought it all together.
Maybe it’s the pessimist in me getting down when times are tough, but recent statements from the Ricketts patriarch have confirmed to me that his appreciation for the game and for the team is just not there. In reality, I should have seen the writing on the wall when he gave the Cubs two straight offseasons of minimal improvements by handcuffing Epstein and Hoyer financially and then dodging fan blowback when it inevitably came.
COVID-19, however, made Ricketts’s stance very clear: this team is a cash cow, not a family. That may seem like something obvious. Billionaires don’t usually buy organizations solely because they like them. Still, there’s got to be some interest in establishing a winning franchise for the community and taking pride in their success. There should be some desire to get the team back on the field and, at least, give them a safe environment to play in because, you know, they’re people too.
Yet, when given a chance, Ricketts willingly sided with other owners and the MLB, saying their losses were of “biblical” proportions and that the league is not very profitable (despite a billion going towards securing broadcasting on Turner Sports). If this brand of crying poor sounds familiar to you, you need only look back to the 2019 offseason. And the offseason before that. If he and the rest of the owners wanted baseball back, they could’ve done that already and just let the players get full prorated salaries.
In reality, a lot of what Ricketts and the other baseball owners are doing is not just to save money this season but to set up an ideal battlefield for Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations for 2021. Yet, doing this will only lead to the players fighting harder to get their grievances addressed and could push us even closer to a strike. This is not good for baseball or the fans, but it’s exactly what the owners are sending us towards.
My only ask of the owners and specifically Tom Ricketts is this: prove me wrong. The Chicago Cubs means a lot to so many people and has a history as rich as the game of baseball itself. You’ll only have detractors in Chicago if you keep expressing this blatant disinterest in getting the team back in Wrigley and putting the best product out there for fans.
You may keep saying this is hardest on you, but tell that to the minor leaguers you cut, the players and workers missing their salaries, and the fans eagerly waiting for America’s summer pastime.