Countdown to Pitchers and Catchers Reporting to Mesa: 4 days
Joe Maddon was honored Friday night in Baltimore at the Cal Ripken St. Foundation’s 11th Annual Gala. The Cubs skipper, and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, received the Aspire Award according to a report from Brittany Ghiroli.
Cal Ripken Jr. presented the award to Joe Maddon for the work he’s done with his Hazelton Integration Project.
The annual event “draws more than 800 attendees with numerous celebrity guests to honor notable figures in business, entertainment and sports.” The Aspire Gala has become one of the “largest single-day fundraising events in Maryland, raising $2.3 million in 2014.”
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was started in 2001 and has “impacted over 800,000 kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park initiative and Badges for Baseball programming.”
Wrigley Field Restoration – The 1060 Project
Jonathan Berlin and Rick Tuma did an incredible amount of research and figured out, based on public records, hundreds of photos and Google Earth, how the outfield signs and video boards will impact the rooftops. And who owns the rooftops that will be affected the most by the outfield signage and new light structures.
The Ricketts family finalized the purchase of three rooftop properties and Tom Ricketts confirmed the family purchased the buildings during last month’s convention. According to a report from the Tribune, the Ricketts family is not only transforming Wrigley Field, but Wrigleyville, too.
The family would like to see attending a Cubs game become an event that begins and ends with an excellent experience outside of the park, with obviously a Cubs’ win in the middle.
The Tribune pointed out, “the corner of Clark and Addison isn’t just an address for 81 home games a year; it can be seen as the home to a Ricketts-controlled retail, sports and entertainment district designed to draw growing levels of disposable income from baseball fans and nonfans alike.”
The Ricketts family tried to purchase all of the rooftops shortly after purchasing the Cubs in 2009. The attempts were unsuccessful, but the family was able to purchase the McDonald’s property in 2011. Rooftop owner Mark Schlenker told the Tribune that “the team once got the owners of the Sheffield Avenue rooftop clubs on a conference call and let them know they wanted to buy their businesses.” Schlenker said the Cubs plan “to own all of that land someday.”
According to the Tribune, the rooftop lawsuit indicated “the Cubs also tried last fall to buy three rooftops owned by a group that includes Max Waisvisz. According to the suit, Crane Kenney told one of Waisvisz’s partners, Dan Finkel, that the team will own all these rooftops eventually – either directly or through a bank proceeding. When the Cubs learned the rooftops might be facing an immediate foreclosure suit someone from the team called the bank and offered to buy the mortgage. Shortly afterward, the bank sued the ownership group, accusing it of failing to make payments on about $18 million in loans and mortgages on two buildings on Sheffield.”
The primary owner of those two properties, Tom Gramatis, “settled with the bank and a judge put a receiver in control of the businesses Jan. 15.” The receiver met with “unnamed prospective buyers” that day according to the Tribune.
Those properties could be available soon, which would open the door for the Ricketts family to purchase more property around the ballpark.
The Cardinals and Braves have borrowed the rooftop concept from the Cubs for their parks, now the Ricketts family seems focused on making sure the Cubs control as much surrounding neighborhood as possible and all of the views into Wrigley Field.
News, Notes and Rumors
According to Keith Law, RHP Jacob Nix is showing first round potential while RHP Dillon Tate is not being used in the right role by his college coach … and not only is Tate not helping his team in the best way, but his college coach is hurting his future.
Jim Duquette posted his five key takeaways from the Hot Stove Season.
Joe Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times it still feels weird to not be managing the Rays.
David Schoenfield finished releasing his pre-Spring Training power rankings Friday. For full disclosure, he posted his rankings from last year. Schoenfield ranked the Cubs 27th out of the 30 teams prior to the 2014 season and thought they would finish the year with a 68-94 record. The Cubs ended up 73-89. Schoenfield admitted he did not account for Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks posting sub-3.00 ERAs.
Anthony Castrovince attempted to figure out which division is the toughest in the game. He leaned toward one of the central divisions either the NL or the AL, in the end he said what is the toughest division in baseball might be the toughest question in baseball.
C.J. Nitkowski wrote an excellent report about the full meaning of signing a minor league deal. Nitkowski provided a lot of insight as to what should go in to a player’s decision before he signs a minor league deal with an organization. And Nitkowski illustrated why the decision might not be as easy as some may think.
And last, but not least, Dan Bernstein thinks it’s time to end this losers’ anthem.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Emilio Bonifacio
2012 – The Rays and Joe Maddon agreed to terms on a three-year contract that ran through the 2015 season.
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Hansen
1984 – Nate Schierholtz, born
1983 – Cubs purchased Sandy Wihtol from the Indians
1969 – Brian Williams, born
1964 – Second baseman Ken Hubbs was killed in a plane crash near Provo, Utah, while en route to Colton, California. Hubbs was piloting the red and white Cessna and it crashed during a winter storm. Hubbs was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1962 and took flying lessons to help overcome his fear of flying the previous two off-seasons. Hubbs obtained his license the month before the crash. As a 20-year old in 1962, Hubbs batted .260/.299/.346 with 24 doubles, nine triples and five home runs for a .646 OPS.
1962 – Rolando Roomes, born
1948 – Ron Cey, born
1941 – Minneapolis of the American Association purchased Zeke Bonura from the Cubs
1938 – Chuck Estrada, born
1934 – Radio broadcast rights were granted to Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Cincinnati.
1932 – Footer Johnson, born
1869 – Charlie Irwin, born