Friday, September 10, 2010

Year One Feels 5771 Years Long

New Years, no matter what calendar you follow, is a time to reflect back and look forward. On the lunar calendar, that time also coincides with the end of the baseball season. Looking back and looking forward at the Cubs only yields one thought: Disappointment.

While the thinking Cubs fans out there saw 2010 as a transitional year with likely minimal success on the field, none of us saw it going this poorly. Moreover, those who saw a poor season coming certainly hoped that trade chips like Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly might yield some stuff of real value. Even that didn't happen.

So, the record was poor and the Cubs didn't really reload for the future. But there was still reason all fans could have hope for the future.

The reason for that hope was the new ownership of the Ricketts family. Tribune ownership was only ever interested in upstreaming profits from the Cubs to the consolidated income statement and ensuring WGN TV and radio had hundreds of hours of programming.

Perhaps a billionaire family would be less interested in cash flow and more interested in showing off their shinny new yacht. Perhaps they might even think of winning a race with that yacht.

Yeah, we were disappointed in 2010, but we saw that coming. 2011 is going to be better, right? Even the Ricketts themselves knew this. Their first marketing campaign, "Year One," even tried to separate themselves from the previous 101 years of failure. They knew they needed to change things. That's where fans could have hope.

So far, they've not only changed nothing, but they've become buffoons in the process.

The ownership changed hands on October 30, 2009. To date, there have been no front office changes of the ownership's choosing (Lou Piniella was smart enough to quit on his own). What has there been?

- Lawsuits against rooftop ownersLet's laugh at you. Altogether.  A one... A two...
- Outfield signage to block rooftop signs
- Hastily arranged open houses for season ticket holders
- New bars
- Bison Dogs
- Noodles
- Reality TV
- Statues. With more to come!

A few days ago, two of the Ricketts early cheerleaders, Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein, went off on the Ricketts for nearly an hour (you can hear the whole thing here).

They were spot on with one exception. They, for some reason, had a lot of confidence that the Ricketts knew what they were doing. Why they would have confidence in a family that has never owned a sports franchise, they have never explained. That confidence is certainly out the window now.

And there's disappointment ahead as far as anyone can see.

Boers and Bernsteins are boobs themselves so I guess they know one when they see it.

Simmer down guy. It's Year One. This was going to be a long term project since Day 1. Give them 5 years in order to turn the ballpark around and get rid of bad contacts. If by then they still don't have it going in the right direction, then you have a right to bark. Until then, I suggest easing off and let them do what are the nessecary steps to get this franchise in the 21st Century.

BTW, you have Mark Pawelek on your "future watch". Forget he is no longer with the Boise Hawks, he is no longer in the Cubs farm system. Same goes for Donald Veal. Might want to update that.
Hi, Stew!

By the way, you know that five years out they have no contracts, right? And 1 year out, they only have 3 (Zambrano, Dempster and Soriano).

Nah. You don't even know the sur rises in the east.

Good to see you posting again. I like your alternate take/perpective on the Cubs. I am sure you had a smile when you read about the phoney press release in Milwaukee trouncing Hendry. It was sadly spot on.
Now that I have a 90-minute commute from 4:30pm to 6:00pm, I've had a chance to listen to more Boers and Bernstein than most sane people can take. Is it a prerequisite that men have to be jagger-asses to be on the radio these days?

I have to admit that I have complaints about how the team is being run. I was bitching about the emphasis on the restroom improvements over getting better players before this season started. There does seem to be a problem with style over substance so far with clan Ricketts.

While I find the talk of adding more statues to be a laughable diversion, I don't understand why it deserves nearly an hour of ridicule. Certainly this is another example of tone-deaf public relations, but I doubt if the building of statues is the main focus of the owners.

And the thing of it is, neither we nor the boobs that comprise B&B know what the Rickettses are planning. Maybe when it is all made public, everyone will be amazed at the genius of it. I will admit that I am not willing to take that leap of faith yet.
"And the thing of it is, neither we nor the boobs that comprise B&B know what the Rickettses are planning."

Exactly. Give them time. People like Chuck and B&B (all boobs) have no clue on the long term plans are for the Ricketts. They have given us hints with the stadium revonation being a "top priority" along with them eventually wanting their own station like the YES Network. Other then that, we don't know. Give them sometime, they earn it.

Besides this is not our money, it's the Ricketts money. Personally I find it rather pathetic that someone like the blogger who can barely pay for a meal at McDonald's without a loan is telling a group of billionares of not only how to spend their money but also how to run their investments. If you look in the dictionary for what defines a tool in the 21st Century, you will find the picture of a blogger front and center.
I wouldn't call Chuck a boob. We all have our frustrations with this team and we all have our opinions. Some of us have reached the point where checking the obits makes it really clear that we have no guarantee that we'll be here for "next year" or 5 years down the road so our lack of patience with long range planning should be understandable.

I still wonder why the Rickettses negotiated a deal for the team that apparently has left the Cubs cash strapped. And I wonder why they seem so tone deaf to public perception. Tom actually seemed proud of the new troughs at Wrigley, a feature of the park that many find distasteful if not downright disgusting.

The deal with Boers and Bernstein is that they are not fans of the team (and proudly stated so during their extended diatribe) and that their entire existence seems to be dedicated toward ridiculing people. Maybe it makes for good radio, but that behavior is generally indicative of immaturity.
I still think its too early to cast judgment on the Ricketts ownership. They DID instantly add 10 million dollars to the payroll last off season. Any and all bad contracts were signed before their watch.

If payroll is trimmed down to 110 this off season, then I will worry. If we sign an Adam Dunn/Vic Martinez and pick up a John Lannan/Jeremy Guthie and a bullpen piece and have 130-140 in 2011 payroll. Then I can't really expect more from ownership.

It's not realistic nor a superior approach for an ownership group to come in and start rolling heads from day 1. Sure Steinbrenner had some success with that approach. Peter Angelos hasn't.

Let the whole deal play out is basically my point.

It's not to early to rate what they've done so far, and how that compares to other sports franchises that underwent ownership change.

The early returns are anything but encouraging.

That said, two weeks from today they could swing a bloody axe and chop the whole front office and hire Theo Epstein.

Wouldn't that be nice?
It would be, Chuck. But how does Ricketts go back on his comments from Pinella press conference about Hendry being the guy for 2011?

Besides, Epstein isn't going anywhere. We need to find our own Theo.
So do you think that somehow Hendry is going to magically become the equal of Theo? I think that is just as likely as Theo coming to the Cubs.
"But how does Ricketts go back on his comments from Pinella press conference about Hendry being the guy for 2011?"

How? Like this:

"I changed my fucken mind and it's my team. OK?"
Ricketts didn't really say "Hendry is my guy forever". All he said was Hendry was the GM "going into 2011".

Technically we are going into 2011 right now.

"I changed my fucken mind and it's my team. OK?"

I like it but don't think he has the stones to appear wishy-washy to the Chicago media. Hopefully, you're right. Really anything short of a change in GM leaves me without hope for next year(s).
Going back on his "word" to the media wouldn't be seen as wishy-washy. Not any more than keeping a failed GM is.
"I wouldn't call Chuck a boob."

He has a blog and believes his opinion somehow matters over anyone elses. To me, that is boobness in itself. If you want specific answers, just read over some of his posts over the past few years and some of the ridicilous stuff he wrote. I honestly was laughing so hard at work when I glanced through a few, that I had to get out of my chair and go to the bathroom in order not to distrub people. Never has anyone's ego been so inflated with absolutely jacksheet to show for it. He is a boob.

Oh at least I will say this for Boers and Bernstein. They might be boobs but they are highly paid to be sports commentators for a living. They did the hard work and sacrifice to be in that position so my hat is off to them for that. Chuck gets a modem and suddenly believes he is a #1 sports commentator in America (now that Jay Mariotti is going to the pokey). So on top of being a boob, he is a poser. And to top it off, he is a total jag wannabe yuppie Cub fan who couldn't find first to third on a basepath without a map. That to me equals the Triple Crown of douchness.
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