Friday was a big day for the Chicago Cubs … The Ricketts Family is now in charge.
The Ricketts Family met the Chicago Media and fan base for the first time as owners of the Chicago Cubs on Friday morning. Mr. Ricketts began the press conference by saying, “After three long years, we are very excited to say today the Ricketts Family is the owner of the Chicago Cubs.” Tom Ricketts, the Cubs’ Chairman of the Board, introduced the rest of the family (Pete, Laura and Todd) and acknowledged his parents in attendance.
“We’re going to win the World Series by striving every day in every way to be the best franchise in baseball. We’re going to invest in the best facilities in baseball, world-class facilities where every player wants to play and every coach wants to coach. We’re going to hire the best personnel and we’re going to hold them to the highest standards of excellence and accountability.”
One of Mr. Ricketts strongest statements of the morning press conference, “We are here for the long term and we are here to win.” The Ricketts Family has one goal, with no agenda and that is to win. They are planning on reinvesting into the team and building a winner that starts with the farm system. Mr. Ricketts discussed long-term and short-term goals with Wrigley Field … including improving the restrooms, widening the concourses and improving the concessions.
Mr. Ricketts discussed the Triangle Building that could be completed by 2012. The Triangle Building “is the key to bringing Wrigley up to the standard” the Ricketts Family wants to have for the long term of the old ballpark. The Triangle Building will have offices for the Cubs front office, which will allow for the team’s facilities to be improved and, most importantly, updated.
“Saying you’re going to win the World Series and winning the World Series are two different things.” The key to winning is being competitive and building a farm system according to Mr. Ricketts. He mentioned the fact they have planned for an increase in the budget every year to improve and build the Cubs’ minor league system in order to develop talent that will allow the big league team to win on a consistent basis.
Mr. Ricketts discussed the Spring Training facilities and the ongoing talks between the groups in Arizona and the group in Florida. The Cubs will look for the best deal in order to have the type of facilities they feel they deserve.
Mr. Ricketts admitted there would be a “slight increase” in payroll for the 2010 season as well as a “slight increase” in ticket prices for next season.
Crane Kenney will serve as the Team President and report directly to Tom Ricketts … Jim Hendry will report to Crane Kenney. Mr. Ricketts said during Boers and Bernstein that he will have a working relationship with Jim Hendry
The Ricketts Family are planning to be visible owners and in the stands during games.
Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella will be back next season.
Tom Ricketts joked about his brother Todd being the first base coach and he would coach third. Mr. Ricketts added, “The key is to hire the people you trust, give them the opportunity to make decisions and then you hold them accountable.”
Mr. Ricketts said during his interview on Boers and Bernstein there are no current plans for a Cubs Network … as Crane Kenney had discussed last winter. The TV contracts are set for many years and without games to show that would limit programming on an “All Cubs Channel”.
Toward the end of his morning press conference, Mr. Ricketts said, “There is no curse. There is no curse. There is no curse. If anybody on our team thinks he’s cursed, we’ll move him to a lesser-cursed team. We’re not going to put up with that. Cubs fans have to look forward not backward. From this day forward let’s just get that behind us.”
“For us, hope is not a strategy anymore.”
The Ricketts Family made all of the right statements and gave all of the right answers. Their enthusiasm and excitement appeared genuine … and as Mr. Ricketts stated, it is time for them to get to work.
- Audio of entire Ricketts Family Press Conference
- Boers and Bernstein Podcast of Interview with Tom Ricketts
A note to our readers, for those that have not listened, or watched the press conference from Friday morning, take the time to do so and listen to what the new owners of the Chicago Cubs had to say on Friday.
Miscellaneous Tidbits from Friday
- Ryan Dempster was the only player that attended the press conference.
- The Cubs are planning on petitioning the league to host the 2014 All-Star game to coincide the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field