Being a Chicago Cubs fan is undoubtedly different since the team erased more than a century of futility and disappointment in 2016, winning the franchise's first World Series title in 108 years.
The expectation is now quite clear: win. With the completion of the 1060 Project, a complete renovation of Wrigley Field, and the continued development of the entire Wrigleyville neighborhood, there's no doubt the money is there to field a championship-caliber team on an annual basis. But, unlike prior to 2016, there is a demand from fans that the seemingly endless stream of cash flowing into the Ricketts' family coffers ends up on the field in the form of a quallity roster.
Since the team's midseason sell-off at the 2021 trade deadline that jettisoned Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez within 24 hours, there's been a clear drop-off in the quality of said roster. Even in 2023, largely considered a success given the improvements the team made in the standings, the team missed the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
High prices, mediocre on-field product cost the Cubs a lot of loyal fans
Combine a subpar product with still-staggeringly high gameday prices and last week's news that the Cubs are, at least for the time being, abandoning their long-running season ticket holder waiting list is hardly a shock.
It's become too expensive for fans, especially entire families, to attend games regularly - and when the team is fairly mediocre, the decision not to attend becomes a lot easier for a lot of folks. Now, the Cubs are saying this is a normal cycle the team is going through and that ticket demand jumped following the hiring of Craig Counsell.
That may well be true, but it doesn't negate the fact that if you're going to charge people top-dollar to be at the ballpark: not just the tickets themselves, but to park, get concessions and souvenirs and everything else that accompanies that experience, the on-field product needs to be top-notch.
While it's trending in the right direction under Hoyer, the season ticket holder waiting list drying up after some folks waited years to get the call is a sign that the longstanding patience generations of Cubs fans were known for is no more - today's fan demands winning - end of story.