By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter
7:01 PM CDT, March 21, 2013
Please tell us why the Cubs can’t let their plus kids play up here and learn together, like Tampa Bay, the Angels, etc. Sixty-year-old Cubs fan. I think it would be exciting to watch. Not the pitchers, of course. Edward Hansen, Hanover Park
Of course, not the pitchers. Actually, the only kid who looks ready is Javier Baez, who led the team with four home runs this spring and was tied for the lead with 10 RBIs before being sent down. The Cubs don’t want to rush him at age 20, though it would certainly give their fans something to look forward to if they handed him the third base spot and let Luis Valbuena go back to his utilityman role. I don’t fault them for their game plan on Baez, though arguably he already is their best hitter, not to mention a better fielder than Starlin Castro.
What reasons do you attribute to the steady decline in attendance at Wrigley Field for the past five seasons? What does the organization need to do to combat this problem? Ryan Milowicki, Evanston
Well, winning would be the obvious solution, along with a reasonably priced ticket plan that relates to the actual product on the field. The Cubs talk a lot about rebuilding and the patience of Cubs fans, but they continue to have among the highest ticket prices in the game. Apparently they want to have their cake and eat it, too. I don’t expect a big attendance decline from 2012. This winter in Chicago has been never-ending, so once summer hits people are going to want to go where there is sunshine, beer and the opposite sex to watch while a ballgame is going on.
The Chicago Tribune: "...The Cubs also want the city to increase the number of night games..." No! Enough already! Why? We already pack the park. Why ruin the drawing power of a Wrigley Field day time experience? Consider long, dark, cold winters -- think of the joy of full-spectrum sunlight at Wrigley Field! Joe Hutchinson, Glendale, Ariz.
Sorry, but this is an unwinnable battle, Joe. The Cubs are going to add more night games, whether it’s next year or somewhere down the road. It’s really not about attendance so much as TV, since more people are able to watch games at night, and that means more advertising revenue. The Cubs changed the culture when they added lights in 1988, and they’re not about to go backward now.
Paul, should the Cubs move to Rosemont and avoid being held hostage by the alderman who wants to tear down the scoreboard? J. Keen, Roscoe Village.
This notion of the multi-millionaire Ricketts family being held “hostage” by the rooftop owners is ludicrous, just like the idea of tearing down the scoreboard for a Jumbotron. Obviously, neither is going to happen. Let’s remember current business president Crane Kenney was in charge of the legal maneuverings when the rooftop agreement with the Cubs was signed. Whether the rooftops owners are leeches or not -- and most fans seem to agree they are -- the Cubs signed off on it and it’s a legally binding agreement. Perhaps Ricketts should have read the fine print when he bought the club.
Does Brett Jackson with his new swing have a chance to repeat a call-up like Rizzo. He has all the other four tools. Seamus O’Brien, Chicago.
Jackson looked pretty good this spring before being sidelined with shoulder soreness, though it was only 16 at-bats. Hopefully for the Cubs, he can translate that confidence to Triple-A Iowa and be ready for a call-up sometime this summer, especially if they deal David DeJesus for prospects.
Would it be completely out of the question for the new pope to have a crack at the seventh-inning stretch this year? @maliljy via Twitter
Thanks for the Twitter question. According to the new philosophy on the seventh-inning stretch, the pope must have some kind of Chicago connection or else be a known Cubs fan to get an invite. I’m not sure Pope Francis likes baseball or has been to Chicago. I’m sure he can probably sing as well as most of the invitees.
I missed seeing Doug Dascenzo on your list of Cubs Cult Heros. Especially loved when he got brought in to finish a game where the Cubs were getting blown out. George Brown, Corvallis, Ore.
Yes, that was an oversight on my part. Perhaps he will wind up in Part II of Cubs Cult Heroes, along with Tuffy Rhodes, Randall Simon and some other fan suggestions. Stay tuned.
Will Mack Newton make a comeback appearance at spring training? Phil Ciciora, Savoy, Ill.
Spring training is almost over, and still no sign of the famous trainer/tae-kwon-do master/motivational speaker. But they still have the team shrink around, so he’ll have to do extra duty on the motivational front.
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