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June 2011

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COMMENTS

Chet's Corner: Fix the team, not the stadium….

Written by , Posted in General

When I heard Mike Quade announce the starting pitchers for Tuesdays double header against the Giants I began laughing hysterically.

He was being interviewed by a Comcast Sportsnet reporter before the third game of the Sox series and was asked who would start in the double header against the Giants.  His answer led me to laughter because it seemed as though he put thought into it.  It was as though he was hemming and hawing over whether Doug Davis would lead us off or Rodrigo Lopez.   At this point, Mike, does it matter?  I liken this to waffling between Bologna or Hot Dogs for lunch…it’s all a processed part of the pig no matter how you slice it.

I’m not laughing at Quade either , I think I am laughing with him.  While Tom Ricketts is playing Wal-Mart greeter to the fans at home games, trying to find out what type of hot dog they would rather eat from the concourse concession stand, the manager is trying to put a team on the field.  I mean, come on,  you have a double header and your two headed monster is a guy who couldn’t stick with a team and another veteran journeyman who was relegated to a far superior teams AAA affiliate.   Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…..our problem!

Vienna Beef for thought, when you’re entering a season and your staff ace recently had his head examined, you have problems.  While we are at it, when you don’t have a clear staff ace , you have problems. Closer by committee works a lot better then staff ace by committee.   With a preamble like this, one must come to the conclusion that your starting staff will be as smooth as an unfolding lawn chair for the bulk of the season.  It was clear in spring training, but the kool-aid was fresh and they were passing rose colored glasses out to everybody from Mesa to Wrigleyville.

I am to the point where I ponder the concept of Len and Bob popping prescription pills in the booth to make it through these games.  I know I would need something to do what they do.   From home, I can distract myself watching this vanilla, error filled, and quite frankly unintelligent band of ballplayers flip and flop about the field, but they can’t!

Then again, and I have said this before, don’t be shocked if this team looks eerily similar next season.  The selling point will be, “we just need to stay healthy.”  How many times have we heard “health” being a reason for a failed season in the Jim Hendry regime? I can count three off the top of my head……this will be four!

By the way, if you have any thoughts of ownership improving this team, keep them locked away for another day.  This owner is a business man.  He is more interested in improving the surroundings of Wrigley Field, then he is putting a winning team on it.  This leads to an interesting phone survey I received a few weeks back.  As a Wrigleyville resident I was asked, in so many questions,  if I was indeed a Cubs fan.  I was then asked if I agreed with the rumored plans for the “Triangle Building” that was proposed for the open lot outside Wrigley.  Then, and this is the kicker, I was told that the Ricketts family has $200 million of their own money set aside for the construction of this building.  The point of the survey was to find out if I was opposed to city tax dollars funding the remainder.

Tom, we don’t need any more bars or restaurants or parking around Wrigley.  We don’t need any more souvenir shops or bike racks or  parks or whatever it is you want to build.  I understand that you don’t like watching the businesses of Wrigleyville make a dollar off your product.  I get it when  you cringe at the fact that there are business opportunities in the neighborhood that are untapped in the Ricketts name.  What I don’t get is your oblivious behavior when it comes to the actual team you purchased.  You act as though we are in a slump, as though we have capable hands at the wheel.  I wonder what will happen when attendance drops below 25,000 on a regular basis.  When you can’t sell your buffalo dogs, or $7 beers, or how about those $100 tickets?

Maybe, just maybe, a winning team could pay for all of the “exterior” projects you have in mind?  Chicago backs a winner like no other! I wonder what extra revenue would be available when “World Series Champion” follows Chicago Cubs?

Start worrying about the team and its leadership Mr. Ricketts, and the rest will fall in place. Until then, the Cubs organization looks like Bologna and Hot Dogs, or as some like to call it, lips and assholes.

  • I do agree that a winning team would make financing improvements in and around Wrigley much easier. I am not sure what Ricketts or Hendry was supposed to have done to win this season. Maybe keep Lily, but I doubt that his presence would have turned the season around.
    .
    The Cubs were not going to win this year unless the veterans suddenly showed up. We did not really expect them to show, and they did not disappoint.
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    I think there is a small possibility for improvement next year (assuming they do not pick up Ramirez’ contract).
    .
    My complaint would be that I do not see Ricketts being serious about the future. I do not see (hear about) Ricketts taking the steps to make the ballclub a first class organization (actually, the improvements to the field, etc. could be considered part of such an effort, but on their own can not).

  • Norm

    I know I’m in the minority but I agree with the way Ricketts is putting the major league team on the back burner for a couple years. The bad contracts need to go and I don’t see any way around that.
    The only way to improve the big league team immediately is to spend on free agents. No thanks.

    As a former resident of Wrigleyville and now suburbanite, I disagree that there doesn’t need to be more parking around Wrigley. Does any other stadium, in ANY sport, not have an attached parking lot? Even Fenway has a number of small parking lots around it while the Cubs have street parking and shuttle service!
    I have no problem with Ricketts looking for ways to maximize revenue in that run-down stadium while waiting for the contract blunders to run their course, or, at the least, shorten to few enough years to be traded.

  • Aaron

    Jim Caple’s espn.com column includes some suggestions for ways Major League Baseball can solve some of its current problems. They’re all jokes, but this one hit a bit closer to home: “Ricketts family sells Cubs to Mark Cuban: The Dodgers and Mets sagas prompt the Ricketts family to sell the team before Selig gets pissed at them, too. Buoyed by the Mavericks’ NBA title, the other owners approve a sale to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who immediately invests hundreds of millions in the franchise, signing Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, trading for the always-available Cliff Lee, hiring Ryne Sandberg as manager and returning Wrigley Field to its former glory as baseball’s finest cathedral.

    Alas, the Cubs still don’t reach the World Series.”

    The whole column can be found here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple-110629_dodger_realignment&sportCat=mlb

  • chet

    here is my overall prediction…..if we don’t trade Aramis, we pick up his option. I don’t see any better options taking over third.

    I also see Hendry getting a contract extension on the basis that he did what he did with Soriano and Z, and Bradley becuase the Trib forced him to boost the payroll.

  • Buddy

    The Cubs just figured out what the rest of the league already knew…Doug Davis is done.

  • Don’t let the Under Armor door hit you on the ass on the way out, Doug.

  • Rick Beato

    Jim Hendry should have been released the day the new owners bought the team. I said that four years ago. He is not competent. And anyone who says we are spending our effort on building through the minor leagues is using strange logic. Two starters went down. We had 20 starters on 4 minor league teams, at least in theory. Our answer wss to sign Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez and Russ Ortiz. Look up their numbers . . . we signed 3 “veterans” that no one else could have wanted. We have no one on the farm ready to step in. When the OFs went down, we brought up Snyder and Montanez, both around 29. Campana came up and offers some speed but he is not a major league OF by any stretch of the imagination. If we keep Aramis, we show again the empty farm system we keep lauding. Carlos Pena must be traded now, quickly while his hot streak has him up to .229. Will we? I doubt it. Brett Jackson was supposed to be ready to come up, hurt his hand, cannot seem to get his stroke back. I think before long we Cub fans, who should by now accept only one thing .. . a World Series championship . . . are going to think we were better off under the TRIBUNE. That amazes me, but Smiling Ricketts, who thinks that injuries had much to do with this mess, is Clueless.

  • Rick Beato

    One Goal. I like that, let’s steal it from John McDonough.

  • Rick Beato

    One Goal. I like that, let’s steal it from John McDonough.

  • Doc Raker

    Cubs released Doug Davis and sign Steve Trout looking for those career norms of Trout’s to be big help for the last ranked pitching staff in the bigs.

  • I am hoping that we can send Lopez packing…I heard a rumor about Phil Niekro staging a comeback.

  • Michael

    It almost seems like the doubleheader yesterday was an audition for Lopez and Davis to keep their job…two starters enter, one starter leaves. Can’t say I’m surprised, sad…or have any emotion really whatsoever. Nor can I say I liked that experiment any better than the Russell experiment.

  • CubbieDude

    Down to seeds and stems, someone once said.

  • PackerCubBull

    I actually like that Ricketts is setting aside 200M to build the triangle building. I am confident that once all these bad contracts expire, and Ricketts gets to build his building and fix up Wrigley and the money starts coming in, the Cubs will start being competitive every year. And I think the state needs to give him the money to fix up Wrigley. Tom Tunney and Pat Quinn are against it because they’re White Sox fans.

  • chet

    Wrigley is apparently the only stadium in Chicago that does not get funding from tax payer dollars.

    The Cubs are also responsible for generating something like 40-50% of the Chicago Amusement Tax.

    At least these are stats that the telemarketer was spitting out to me….who know how close to true they are.

  • PackerCubBull

    It is true that they don’t get any public funding, and they do generate a good amount of the Amusement Tax. I think they should get their fair shake