Friday, November 18, 2011

It Keeps Getting Better

It's been nearly a flawless offseason for the Cubs. Theo Epstein is here and he's brought with him a cavalcade of management stars. Jed Hoyer is the GM to do the dirty work of dealing with the media and the 29 other baseball GMs every day. Jason McLeod will attempt to remove the Hendry from Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken (aside: what are they still doing here? Weren't we told they were too loyal to Hendry to stay if he left?). And new manager Dale Sveum will babysit the clubhouse as everyone not named Garza, Castro and Cashner consults out of town real estate agents.

This could not have possibly gone any better for Tom Ricketts. His tenure as owner to date was not exactly inspiring. He needed a quick turnaround in the franchise's direction or things could have spiraled down and gone out of control.

Theo's hire, and the hires that followed, reversed that trend sharply. How sharply?

To the point that the press looks at this story and sees money to renovate Wrigley Field as a real possibility.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is dumping all three city members of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority — including former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew — in a housecleaning that could set the stage to renegotiate the White Sox lease, modify its restaurant deal and, possibly, have the state acquire and renovate Wrigley Field.
As a first step, none of the new members will accept the perks that come with the job: discounted tickets; free food and beverages; special parking privileges and access to skyboxes for non-charity events.
Nice to see more of the Daley cronyism fading away. But, how likely is more money for Wrigley Field? The article is pretty silent. It focuses mostly on the White Sox sweetheart lease, a lease that, according to the article, "requires the Sox to pay just $1.5 million in annual rent."

What does it say about the Cubs?

(Emanuel's) board members could attempt to revive a failed 2008 plan to have the state acquire and renovate Wrigley Field. Emanuel wants to find a way to save 97-year-old Wrigley without forfeiting 35 years' worth of amusement tax growth. The mayor has called that Cubs' plan a "non-starter."
So, there really is no plan or structure currently being floated, but Crain's sees turnover at ISFA as a sign of good things for the Cubs.

Just maybe nothing has happened at all yet, but the Cubs new reputation is so good that Crain's just assumes plans are being made? That's a fairly logical assumption.

And it speaks volumes about the good will that Theo Epstein has injected into this franchise.

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