Day two of the 2015 Cubs Convention began with the Ricketts Family Forum. Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts spent the first hour talking about the year that was, Wrigley Field and answering questions from fans in the packed ballroom. Pete Ricketts could not attend the convention this year he was elected Governor of Nebraska.
The Cubs contemplated playing home games at Miller Park for two years during the Wrigley Field Restoration Project, but decided against it.
Tom Ricketts confirmed the family purchased two rooftop building. Ricketts said they will continue to run those properties as rooftop clubs.
Laura Ricketts asked for a show of hands of those in favor of the team keeping ‘Go Cubs Go’ as the club’s victory song. An overwhelming majority of the crowd would like the Cubs to continue to use the song. Laura said there are no plans to eliminate ‘Go Cubs Go’, but the Ricketts family did not commit one way or the other that the team would continue to use it.
Tom Ricketts is hoping to know in the near future when the Cubs will be able to host the All-Star Game again. Ricketts said it’s the Cubs turn.
Nothing has really changed on the Sammy Sosa front. Tom Ricketts was a big fan of Sosa when he played. Tom said a couple of things would have to happen before he is welcomed back.
As for the tampering charges the Rays filed against the Cubs, Tom said there was not an update at this point. MLB is still investigating. Tom Ricketts said, “We know we didn’t tamper with [Joe] Maddon.”
Tom Ricketts, at one point of the session, proudly stated, “I think we have the best organization in the game.”
2014 was a transition year for the Chicago Cubs. Tom Ricketts said the organization stayed on course with delivering the three goals the family set when they purchased the team: Win the World Series, Preserve Wrigley Field while being a good neighbor in the community.
The Cubs also opened the facility in Mesa. The Cubs set a Spring Training attendance record a year ago, for both the Cactus and Grapefruit League, and are on track to break the record the team set last spring.
Tom pointed out it was a important year on the field in terms of prospects coming up from the system while Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro made the All-Star team and Jake Arrieta emergence. He feels the Cubs are building a winning organization and clearly last year there were important steps forward in achieving the goal at the Major League level.
The Ricketts family is doing everything they can to take care of Wrigley. They were asked about the ivy being down in the outfield and that is a process that happens annually. The ivy has to be removed in order to check the bricks in order to replace the ones that are beyond repair.
Laura Ricketts praised the fans for their patience with the team and asked for more as the Wrigley Field project takes place. The Cubs will have pardon our dust signs posted throughout Wrigley during the season. It was revealed in an afternoon session, the signs will actually say “Under Cubstruction.”
The Cubs contemplated playing games for a couple years at Miller Park in order to complete the Wrigley project faster. Delays can happen, and have, that are beyond the team’s control. The Cubs decided it was best to play at Wrigley while the construction was ongoing, even though it would take longer to complete the project.
The challenge with preserving and renovating Wrigley Field has been to keep what people love while moving it forward. Laura Ricketts promised the Cubs will be respectful when it comes to the restoration. She thinks when it’s done, the Cubs will have the most unique park to watch a game in the league.
The Cubs plan on making Wrigley more family and kid friendly.
Tom Ricketts acknowledged the family purchased two rooftops buildings. The family purchased separate from the team and those properties will continue to operate as rooftop clubs.
The Cubs are hoping to be able to stream the games in the Chicago market soon. But right now that can’t happen under MLB rules. The team is looking into ways for the games carried on WGN-Ch. 9 and ABC-7 to be syndicated in markets that would be blacked out due to MLB viewing those areas to be included in the Cubs market/territory. It’s a high priority for the team to make sure fans get as many games as possible.
Tom was asked if the All-Star game could be on the horizon for Wrigley. He said he thinks it would be great to have the game at Wrigley and they are hoping to have an answer on that soon. Ricketts said, “It’s our turn.” But obviously the Wrigley project will have to be completed first.
The Cubs have been pretty active in the International market. Tom Ricketts was asked about his team signing more International free agents. Ricketts explained the Cubs have scouts in Korea, Taiwan and the Dominican Republic and feels the Cubs “do as good as anyone internationally.”
The Ricketts family answered the questions and listened to a lot of praise on Saturday morning from those in attendance. And there was a confidence with the family that has not been present in past years, almost like they know where the organization is going and really like where it’s heading.