Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tom Talks

Tom Ricketts must have finally had enough of people bitching that he doesn’t have a long term plan for the Cubs and the same people bitching that he should say something about it. So, Tom called an impromptu press conference and promptly admitted that he does have a plan and that it’s the exact plan that led to the 27-40 record the team has posted this year.

"I have 100 percent confidence in Jim. He's working very hard to do everything he can to get this season back where we want it to be."

Just where do you want it to be, Tom? And, while you’ve said, full stop, that you have confidence in Jim Hendry, can you tell us why that confidence is warranted?

"And I think Mike (Quade)'s done a great job. Mike's got those guys playing hard. You know they're not giving up, and there's a good spirit in the clubhouse. So those guys' (jobs) are fine."

Yeah, Mike's done about as can be expected with the talent Hendry gave him. He’s also kept a tight control on the clubhouse. No issues there.

"I think we're not going to wear (the "F**k the Goat" shirts) outside. Kind of the language in it, you've got to be careful. But I'm not too worked up about it."

If only there was a guy in the clubhouse who could police or even manage the players before they take the field.

"I've never bought into the [idea that] I should have a baseball guy to watch my baseball guy. And then what do you get? A baseball guy to watch the baseball guy who’s watching the baseball guy? I really haven’t through about an extra baseball guy. I'm not regretting not having an extra baseball guy."

While you don't regret having a "extra" guy, 27-40 suggests you might regret not having a good one.

"Obviously we don't believe it"s a dump."

Ah, faith. Wrigley Religion. Seen this many times before. Always annoying.

"In fact, Wrigley Field is the third largest tourist attraction in the state, generates $600 million for the business in the area. ... It's not a dump."

Using economic value to gauge the quality of a physical plant is not the correct comparative. Waste Management, National Waste Services, Flood Brothers, Recycling systems Inc. and a host of other companies combine to create a lot of business for the Chicago area, and far more jobs than the Cubs do. And those companies are literally dumps.

"That said, we know that it can be improved. We know we've got a lot of work to do to preserve it and improve it for the fans."

So, it is a dump. Thanks for clearing that up.

"There are a couple of factors (in lower attendance) – obviously the economy and obviously the weather. But the most important thing is I’m not worried about the attendance because if we win, we'll be full. And everything we’re doing is to win."

Didn't your dad say that you told him that they "sell out every game, win or lose"? Someone’s getting tee’d up by his father for Who You Crappin'!

What's becoming more and more apparent about the Ricketts' leadership is that he doesn’t really have a plan for the product on the field. He thought, and sold his family, on the idea that the Cubs were a cash cow that they could buy. They could use the cash flow from an inelastic demand for tickets to pay off the debt they incurred to buy the team over a period of 10 to 15 years, and then the family would have a terrific source of income for generations based in the third largest city in the US that would give them huge business and political connections. Hell, we even saw a guy become a US President after using his dad's money to buy him a baseball team.

What they failed to see was that the demand for tickets stopped being inelastic in about 2006, at least on the basis of quality of team on the field. They also haven't seemed to notice that their front office, that has been here for 17 years, can’t develop talent – a key function that the Ricketts said they needed to do. The failure to see what's really going on inside the business of the Cubs has created an environment where Tom Ricketts is the new Mike McCaskey in this town. That's a reputation that's going to be hard for him to shake.

There's a reason this page was nonplussed about the Ricketts owning the Cubs. That's because we had no idea what kind of owners they would be. At least with Don Levin and Mark Cuban, we fans had a basis for measuring their skills as an owner: The Chicago Wolves and Dallas Mavericks. Those two franchises have had solid runs of success.

That certainly is appearing less and less to be something we can expect from the Ricketts.

I like Mike Quade's leadership and character. He is refreshing.

If allowed time I think he will be successful.
Oh and speaking of attendence, this was a nice in your face reminder by Jon Greenberg this morning:

"While the Cubs need to win to sell 40,000 tickets a game, rather than a measly 35,000, the White Sox need to win to bolster their meager average of 22,745, which is worse than Arizona's, San Diego's and Houston's averages."

So again, let's here your 10,000 theorists on why Cubs fans are not showing up in mass droves and it's all the Ricketts fault.
I saw a couple innings of the Yankees series. Looked like there were an awful lot of people dressed in Yankers gear in the stands. So one series does not a season make. Whether that series denotes a new trend or if it was an outlier remains to be determined.
I have read Chuck's blog for a long time, and I have found him to be entertaining and informative, usually with thoughtful and thorough analysis concerning Cubs ownership, team management and finances. I think if you pay attention, you will have to realize that the way this team is being run from top down is a big part of the attendance drop this year, since other years April bad weather dates still sold out or came close to selling out. I know I don't pay as much attention to them as I used to.
Anyway, for all the effort you put into blasting what Chuck has to say, you would be better off just starting your own blog. It would probably be entertaining (I know I would check it from time to time to see your latest rant), and who knows, maybe you could make some extra ad $ off of it.
Thanks for replying. I laughed quite a bit reading your reply. I think you have a future in (unintentional) comedy. But in all seriousness, have you considered that perhaps you might be coming off as a bit obsessed with what Chuck is writing and may be looking a bit stalkerish yourself?

Where are you getting your numbers? Announced attendance is the number of tickets sold, not the number of people in the stands. Do you have a reliable source for the actual number of people sitting in the park at any given game?
I admit, Stew, you do not disappoint. Funny stuff. One more question: If blogs like Chuck's are for losers, what does that make those of us (including me and you) who read them and then make comments on them?
If Chuck said Stew had super models begging to be in his company Stew would call Chuck a liar.

Stew, after you buy a clue for a dollar on Wednesdays at Wrigley along with your dollar hot dog, why don't you go measure the tv and radio revenues this year and count the sold seats that are empty that you can buy on the street for 5 bucks.

After you realize that the Cub revenue is well off of budget, go look at how they are doing vis a vis the rest of baseball.

Not every team is off in attendance and most certainly not every team is off in turnstile count by what the Cubs are.

You have no idea what you are talking about and the diminishing payroll is indicative of it but blame Chuck for the ineptitude at Wrigley both in the front office and on the field if it makes you happy.
FrankS wrote:

"Where are you getting your numbers? Announced attendance is the number of tickets sold, not the number of people in the stands. Do you have a reliable source for the actual number of people sitting in the park at any given game?"

Stew's Real Dad replied:
"When did I say, attendence wasn't down? Attendence is down. The difference between Chucky and me is this: I look at attendence (and empty seats) throughout the league to see this is a "league wide problem"; not just a Cubs problem. Chuck sees the attendence drop at Wrigley and immediately blames the Ricketts for everything. One of us uses rational thought/facts/odds to come up with our conclusion. The other uses blind hatred stupdity.

BTW, I guess Royals managment is pi$$ed off all those Cubs fans showed up at their ballpark. It was in Tribune yesterday Frank$. Not only do the Cubs have still one of the best home attendence records, they have one of the best ROAD attendence records as well. Yes, there has been a drop in attendence at Wrigley, no question. But drop in attendence is a problem throughout baseball and the Cubs drop has not been as significant as some other teams. I posted about this in early May and showed the figures when Chuck was blaming Ricketts for everything. It's now late June and the same thing is still happening: Attendence is down throughout the league. Do I need to explain it for a 3rd time?"

And I'll try again.

You claimed in an earlier posting that the Cubs have been averaging 35,000 since the weather broke. All I wanted to know was who or what is your source of information for your claim that 35,000 people have been attending recent games. Do you have a source for that info?
I don't subscribe to the Tribune. I don't see the article online. At least a Google search for "cubs 35000 attendance chicago tribune" didn't turn it up. Neither did "cubs 35000" in the Trib's search engine. I could ask you to provide a link to it online. It's a common courtesy to provide them during an online discussion, but I'm sure you'll go on a 2 or 3 paragraph rant about Chuck.
You can't provide a link?
Stewie said: "BTW, will we hear anything from Chuck on the Blago guilty verdict? My guess is no but if Ricketts goes 56 MPH in a 55 MPH, I guarantee we will get a 3 page rant on it! :)"
If Ricketts got a speeding ticket for 56 in a 55, that would show at least one person in the Cub organization is thinking about speed :).
And again, announced attendance at Major League Baseball games is TICKETS SOLD, not butts in the seats. The "official" figures tell us nothing about no shows. That being said, I believe I heard Len make a comment that there were very few no shows at either the Saturday or Sunday game.
Watching the Cubs is now like watching Nascar. People only come to see the wrecks.
Wreckers or checkers!
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