Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Do Lunch

There was a lunch yesterday. At that lunch, Tom Ricketts talked into an open microphone and pleased the fans who "get it."

"We have to have a manager who really understands ... the scrutiny you get and (must) be able to handle those periods in June when you lose three games in a row and people start talking about Year 103 of the curse," Ricketts said. "We have to someone who understands what they're getting into."
Ricketts also said the team has to have a manager who's "still engaged in being a coach" and is willing to teach fundamentals.

"We're going to have a younger team going forward," Ricketts said.

There are two bits here. The first, if taken at face value, is that Tom Ricketts thinks the Cubs need a manager who understands curses. If that's what Tom thinks makes for a good Cubs manager, then this team is screwed.

Now, perhaps what he meant is that the manager needs to know that some fans and media dopes are going to start asking "Year 103" questions and that the new manager must have a thick enough skin to ignore such inanity. If that's what Tom meant, he both spoke poorly and is also correct.

But for those fans thinking that 2011 would be a quick turn around, the second bit threw hope into cold storage.

Going young is a polite way of saying "cheap."

That also has implications for the managerial search. You don't need an expensive guy to let the kids play and distinguish themselves on the field. You need a manager who will fill out a lineup card and teach.

You don't need a Point C guy like Phil Jackson. You need the Point A to B guy.

Like Mike Quade.

Mike will do anything for the job, and, given he won't have any other offers, he'll be cheap. The second is important both in terms of cash flow and in terms of firing him when 2011 goes in the crapper (as Andy Dolan has already projected).

Besides. The manager is irrelevant so long as Jim Hendry is the GM.

If Ricketts really wants to fix this what he should do is this: Make Jim Hendry the manager and get a new GM who will fire Hendry after 2011. Hendry's already under contract and he's been a coach of young players before (at Creighton).

This would work. To bad the Ricketts have shown themselves to be family owners more Mike McCaskeyish than Rocky Wirtzish.

"If Ricketts really wants to fix this what he should do is this: Make Jim Hendry the manager and get a new GM who will fire Hendry after 2011. Hendry's already under contract and he's been a coach of young players before (at Creighton)."

Example 3,329,409 why bloggers are not allowed to run a snack bar at a movie theatre, let alone even a little league time.
perhaps quade as manager, ryno as his bench, base coach etc
perhaps quade as manager, ryno as his bench, base coach etc
I still don't get your Ricketts "vendetta"?

What exactly do YOU expect that they should have done? They took over in November and added 10 million extra to payroll.

What more do you expect owners to do? Does Ricketts need to play first base and bat 400 before you approve?

This incessant bitching is starting to sound like sour grapes, because he ain't Mark Cuban.

If payroll slides back to 100 Mil and we hire Santo for manager. Then you have reason to bitch. However that time ain't here yet.

Why is Chuck viewed as a "anti-Ricketts" or "pro-Cuban" or whatever simply because he expresses the very logical frustration with the Ricketts not firing an incompentent Jim Hendry?

You can be agnostic about ownership and still realize that Hendry is the wrong man going forward - and that the Ricketts deserve criticism for not making a change.
I agree that Hendry needs to go. I stated in July that it was smarter to make a chance during the off-season.

The list of candidates available in July would be much shorter, than the list in October.

What is ultimately better for the health of the franchise? A blogger getting his "pound of flesh" NOW!!!!! or the Ricketts conducting thorough interviews to determine the best candidate going forward?

Wouldn't it have been a good idea to put someone who is a good baseball man overseeing Hendry before this season? Basically you'd be demoting Hendry, but you'd be giving him a chance to prove whether he could do the GM job under the new restraints imposed by Ricketts.

I get kind of tired of hearing how Hendry isn't responsible for the bad mistakes he made such as overpaying free agents because Zell gave him orders to put a winner on the field or that his managers have too much input into the roster. He still could have made smarter decisions while following those edicts.
I certainly never absolved Hendry of any mistakes. I think he has done a poor job, and deserves to be fired.


They did the responsible business person thing to do. They took over the company. They cleaned the slate and begun THEIR OWN EVALUATIONS.

Now they can go into their first real off-season as owners and have a better feel of what they need in a GM, President, etc.

I'm not saying these folks will be the greatest owners in history. I'm not even saying they will be GOOD owners. I'm just saying that its much to early to evaluate them as owners.
12:38 comment was mine.


Why don't you pick the name/URL option when posting? You don't have to provide a URL, just whatever handle, name or nym you prefer.

As far as what good business people do, they perform their due diligence BEFORE the purchase. I'm pretty sure that in most acquisitions that the CEO or board will designate certain plants or certain people for termination even before they have control. There may be more changes down the road as they see which plants/people can conform to their new business practices and standards but I think good companies hit the ground running, not crawling.

As for who they could have gotten last November, I don't know but I'm sure there were people available. I'm sure that there were several people who had retired from GM or upper management positions in recent years who might have enjoyed a "part time" job of keeping an eye on Hendry and conferring with Tom and the clan over club matters.

To be honest, Tom should have had such a person involved from the very beginning, even before his name surfaced as being one of the leading bidders.
I'm not even sure Ricketts would have been allowed to hold interviews for the job until the deal was closed?

I stll feel that an extra year of status quo is ultimately better, than 5 years of having made another bad hire.

Now the Ricketts have a year of inter workings under their belts. They have a true grasp of what the expected revenue streams are going to be. Have a full year to see who is competent, who isnt.

Now they can form their lists and make an educated decision. Seems much more prudent to me. Opinions are liable to vary though.


While the Ricketts couldn't have assigned anyone to a position with the Cubs until they owned the keys to the executive offices, nothing would have stopped them from hiring someone to work as a consultant for them as they formulated their bid and created their plan for the future of the Cubs prior to the completion of purchase. Once they owned the Cubs, then they could have created a position within the Cubs hierarchy for that trusted adviser.
I think the Cubs still have a chance at making the playoffs. I am an optimist.
I supposed they COULD have done that Frank. But do we have the right to have expected that?

They may turn out to be terrible owners? I just think the leash to determine that needs to be longer than 6 months.

They DID raise payroll 10 Million, while also not allowing Hendry to give out any crippling, long term deals. That alone tells me they "get it" on some level.

Again, just my opinion

In truth I am a Cardinals and White sox fan...
"Why is Chuck viewed as a "anti-Ricketts" or "pro-Cuban" or whatever simply because he expresses the very logical frustration with the Ricketts not firing an incompentent Jim Hendry?"

What Chuck fails to grasp is the reasons WHY Ricketts didn't fire Hendry?

1. Tim Wilken (if Hendry is canned, Wilken will leave - they have a very strong business relationship).
2. $$$ (Which Chuck has very litle of himself yet seems fine with spending others like it was water).
3. Stability (The Ricketts are still getting their feet wet and they know it. Keeping Hendry around assures that a capable GM is in charge (look at his overall record) will be at the helm as they work on bigger projects IE the ballpark, spring training facilities and their own network!
On number one, I call bullshit. Wilken never worked with Hendry until hired by the Cubs. He could very well stay if and when Hendry is shitcanned. See the following link for Wilken's bio:

Item 2, who gives a crap how much money someone makes? What does that have to do with any point that Chuck attempts to make here?

Item 3, your point once again shows that the Ricketts should have hired a professional baseball man to advise them. And many people don't believe that Hendry is a capable GM. His overall record is not all that great, only when you start comparing him to Cub GMs over the last 50 years does he look like he is worth a frigging shit.

You want stability in the GM's office, yet Hendry's Cubs are constantly yo-yo-ing from bad to good and back to bad again. I want a franchise that consistently wins like St. Louis, Boston, Minnesota or the Yankees. Hendry hasn't gotten the job done.
1. Yes he has. Even Steve Stone said it on Chicago Tribune Live not too long ago when Lou left and Hendry stayed. If Hendry goes, Wilken will follow suit not too long after. Plus, I still believe Maddux might being groom for the slot. Hendry came out this weekend and stated despite Towers boost that he was staying with the Cubs and actually his role was going to increase compared to this past year. IMHO, that is who Ricketts has tag to be the next GM. He just needs some time to get ready.
2. Like Chuck, you don't get it. It's not YOUR's the RICKETTS MONEY. When you have a couple billion to throw around (to quote KGB in "Rounders" "You can do whatever the f#$k you please". Until then, I suggest not KNOCKING people when they decide not to waste millions of dollars as you suggest.
3. Ricketts eventually will bring in a baseball guy. He has stated that in the past. It's just they have bigger fish to fry (the stadium revonations, Spring Training facilities, the network deal, adding more ad revenue) then worrying about bringing in a "baseball guy" to take on a team that is just looking to play kids and shed payroll over the next 2 years. And yes, Hendry has done a good job overall despite your rant. The reason being is this: when he took over for the disaster that was McFail, this team was a loser almost every year. Since 2003, we have had more winning seasons then not including 3 divisional titles. It's just hasn't translated to a World title which you pay attention to the White Sox winning, has a lot of luck involved.

The bottom line is this: getting ridding rid of Hendry at this point would be counter productive. The team despite what some Cubs blue kool-aid drinkers think is in rebuilding mode. I don't expect the Cubs to compete for another 2 seasons. That just the way things are. Their main tasks right now is to keep developing their own prospects and getting rid of all long term deals. Once that happens, then you can go after a few big ticket FA that could put this team over in 2013 or so. Getting rid of Hendry now and wasting more resources ($$$) to get rid of him and would just prolong the rebuilding process.

And building a franchise that consistently wins outside of the Yankees (who almost have a unlimited line of $$$) takes time. I think the Ricketts are not so much are looking at the Red Sox model (though I think that is the model for the business side of it) but the Phillies in terms of building their team. The Phillies were able to build a strong core of in-house players to be the nucleus of a team that constantly wins, then added a few pieces in FA to get them over the top. That is exactly what I think Ricketts wants to do. Build in-house first that becomes your nucleus and then get your FA studs to push you over. Castro/Colvin/Cashner sprinkled in with Barney and Dewitt (you always need strong role players) and it looks like you have a strong start after 1 year.
1. When did Tim Wilken work with Hendry before either was with the Cubs? Read the bio on Wilken. I provided a link and the source was the Cubs themselves. I don't see anywhere that he worked with Hendry in a Major League organization. And he certainly worked a good number of years away from Hendry for other organizations. I fail to see where Wilken is married to Hendry or tied to his coat tails. And Steve Stone hasn't been an insider for Cubs' information since 2004. Why would you believe anything he says about the inner workings of the Cubs today? He doesn't have the access to know diddly.

2. My comment regarding money was in regards to someone prefacing an argument with a suggestion that Chuck made very little money. What does someone's opinion of Chuck's income have to do with the suggestions that Chuck makes here? I guess I need to spell that out a little more clearly.

3. Rant -verb- to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.

Let me get this straight. My post was far less verbose than yours, contained no personal critiques and yet mine is the rant. I suppose I could have left out the potty language.

I think Hendry does more harm than good, that it would be worth whatever millions it would take to relieve him of his duties. Many of the problems that Cubs have going forward are a result of Hendry's incompetence and I have no confidence that he can fix them.
"My comment regarding money was in regards to someone prefacing an argument with a suggestion that Chuck made very little money. What does someone's opinion of Chuck's income have to do with the suggestions that Chuck makes here? I guess I need to spell that out a little more clearly."

No you need it spell out A LOT CLEARER. Ricketts owns the ball club, Chucky does not therefore it is dime and he does what he pleases with it. If Chuck wants to go around spending tens of millions to bring in a GM for another that will only do the same things Hendry is right now, then why doesn't Chucky go out and make himself a few billion and buy the team. Until then shut up. It's like booing at a ball game. Unless you can do better..shut up! I think that is sound advice for both of you.

BTW...Da Bears are 3-0 without an offensive line and not even a peep about them on this "Chicago Sports Blog". Seems to me Chuck just likes to rant about all the negative in the world..which speaks volumes about him as a person.
Dear Mr. Anonymous,

Thank you for the advice. I'll give it all the consideration it is due. Flush!
Sandberg is going to take another job. He was offered bench coach in Chicago.
Yep and Quade is the man. 2 year deal with a 3rd year option. Gives the Cubs room to either extend him if things go well or cut ties without giving any money if they don't. And they get a guy who knows our system, brings a ton of experience and energy to the table along with player development.

Point, game and 1st set go to Mr. Ricketts over Chuck!
Ricketts gives full credit for this decision to Hendry. We'll see what happens. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.
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