Cubs Get Ricketts: Strike That, Reverse It

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In what feels like the longest and most drawn out ownership story in baseball history, though I have almost no frame of reference, the Tribune Company finally picked a buyer for the Chicago Cubs. Tom Ricketts and family made their fortune by starting TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage firm. The bid clocked in at around $900 Million. Sounds straight enough.

But of course, the Cubs are one of those teams that are "steeped in tradition" so the new guys have to concoct some sort of sappy story to get all the North Side yahoos to get behind them as some sort of Ownership Of The People. With Ricketts it's that he lived in a Wrigleyville apartment right next to the park while attending the University of Chica.... zzzzzz.

The very worst part about Ricketts' trip down memory lane? It made me actually agree with Jay Mariotti for the first time in my life. Do you know how hard that is to say? I'm so ashamed.

I don't care that the new owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts, met his wife somewhere in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Nor do I care that he lived every guy's Wrigleyville dream, slumming in an apartment above a bar by the ballpark. This is just more of the same gooey romanticism that Cubdom eats from the first victory in April to the last inevitable loss of autumn -- and never amounts to anything but the same "OHHHHH, NOOOOO!!!" from Ron Santo in the radio booth, echoing 101 years of agony.

Can these people win the friggin' World Series already? With no experience in pro sports ownership, what do they know about running a baseball franchise? In particular, what do they know about running a franchise supported by a fanatical cult of loons, who ignore tidal waves of hopeless futility and, somehow, come back for more punishment after every October choke job?

Ok , so maybe I don't agree with him totally. I just like that he called Cubs fans a fanatical cult of loons. Most sports owners don't know what they're doing when they make their initial foray into the business. The successful ones usually hire the right people, and give them the reins. That's a pretty simple business strategy.

In the bidding for the Cubs there was one major exception to this rule in Mark Cuban. Mariotti brings him up, but I never bought into him as a legitimate contender. His bid was hopeless beyond financial reasons, but according to the Wall Street journal, it's for purely financial reasons that Ricketts was chosen. He was the one most likely to close the deal the soonest. The Tribune needed that money and they needed it fast. I guess it's preferable to selling your headquarters or taking out a giant loan form some Mexican guy that you can never pay back. My friend Shawn did that once and now he only has two fingers.

What the hell was I talking about again? Oh yeah. The Cubs got sold. Good luck with all that.


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8 Comments

...come back for more punishment after every October choke job.

In this sentence, Jay is using a code to invite Ozzie to his autoerotic asphyxiation party this weekend.

What incentive does an owner have to put a winning team on the field when the Cubs Faithful put up the cash and suck down the suds year after year?
Fuken Windy City Wahoos.

It figures that the Cubs would be bought by a disease that softens the bones.

Wahoos? easy there, Phillas.

You're a little bit off there, Phillas. Sox fans are [y]ahoos, Cub fans are rubes.

I beg for your fergiveness, Chief.

To be fair, Wrigley is a totally fucking awesome place to have a beer and a dog, catch some rays, and say something questionably racist to an outfielder.

I never bought the "you support the team even when they are bad so they will always be bad" argument.

Loyal fanbases get championships as often as bandwagon ones do.

Full disclosure: Cards fan

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