By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter
6:12 PM CDT, May 15, 2013
Cash bison perhaps, but cash cows? No. I think the Ricketts want to win and also make gobs of cash, too. It would be embarrassing for them to get richer and richer and have the Cubs be awful throughout their ownership. Wouldn’t it?
Paul, do I have to tell you how long I have been a Cubs fan before I can ask a question? It seems to be a common trend in your mailbag, where long-suffering fans feel they are owed something from the organization. Ricketts doesn't seem to think he owes anybody anything (including the city, rooftop owners, WGN, etc.). If Epstein and Ricketts do not produce a contender in a few years, do you see Cubs fans becoming disillusioned and the franchise taking a serious, long-term hit? Or are we all too devoted/sadistic that we will hang around complaining for decades to come? -- Joe C., Chicago
No, it’s not required to tell me how long you’ve been a Cubs fan, but everyone does anyways. Most Cubs fans I know are too devoted/sadistic to completely ignore the team, even when they are awful. I know this because they keep asking me about the Cubs, whether it’s at a bar or a restaurant or O’Hare or wherever. They may not watch every game, but they know what’s going on. The ones the Cubs are definitely losing are the casual fans who only pay attention when the team is winning. Truthfully, I kind of enjoy seeing the empty seats at Wrigley and hearing the inflated attendance figures, then guesstimating the number of no-shows. It reminds me of 2006, when the last of the 2003 bandwagon-jumpers bailed out. Be assured if the Cubs are contending again by 2015, they’ll be back again, pretending they’re diehards and never left.
Who in the Cub organization keeps you entertained with no Sweet Lou or Big Z around? Do you think the Cubs should bring back Big Z perhaps just to beat up a Gatorade machine and a catcher during a pregame show? -- Joel K., Cedarhurst, N.Y.
I find Jed Hoyer quite hilarious, though unintentionally so. The Jed-Theo bunt-off in February was better than any sitcom I’ve seen in 2013. Hopefully Big Z will get a job somewhere and we can see him pitch in Wrigley one more time. (He has reportedly singned a minor league deal with the Phillies.) A standing ovation would be warranted for all the entertainment he provided. Also, he owes me $100, so I’d like to get my money.
In regards to Marmol, have the Cubs ever considered placing him in the starting rotation? The conversion has worked, in the past, for other clubs, and we really have nothing to lose. -- Mike Johnson, Temecula, Calf.
No, he started out as a starter in 2006. It did not work. Trade is the only option.
What about re-doing all the seating in Wrigley and making the backs of each videos showing commercials, etc. They've done it on the airlines. I love that stadium. There is nothing like it any place else. -- Chuck Wadro, Ormond Beach, Fla.
Sure. As long as they don’t interrupt the game with those unnecessary pilot announcements about the altitude, as they do in the middle of “The Office” reruns on United.
Why is it that the Ricketts family is taking such a beating in the media for wanting to make improvements to Wrigley? When Reinsdorf wanted a new stadium (not just rehab Comiskey), he put the city over a barrel and the Sox-fan-mayor bent over backwards to make a Sox-friendly deal to build a stadium, cut property taxes and kissed their butt to have them stay. Now the Ricketts family wants to spend their OWN money to rehab Wrigley and the city is making things difficult. Wrigleyville was a hole in the earth in the 70's and early 80's until Cubs fans made Wrigley Field such a cool place to hang out and party. Without the ballpark, the neighborhood would be dead. -- Tom Wardzala, Oak Park
I agree that without the ballpark the neighborhood would be dead, or at least just another hipster-heavy zone like Wicker Park, with no parking and overpriced beverages. But I don’t think the Ricketts family is taking a beating at all. In fact, most of the commentary I’ve seen has been in favor of their renovation plans, including the Jumbotron I’m sure will become the albatross of the New Wrigley. Reinsdorf took much more of a beating back in the 80s. Now he’s an avuncular figure in Chicago with seven championship trophies. Tom Ricketts just needs to have thicker skin, like Reinsdorf has, and better consultants.
Since the Cubs are broadcast over three different channels depending on programming conflicts, why can't they at least display a consistent game situation graphic at the upper left of the screen? One set-up and just switch out the station logo. I want to see the pitch count always displayed. Too much to ask? -- John D., Skokie
Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll pass it on to The Kapman.
I read Jed Hoyer's comments about being patient and nearly lost my lunch. What a cop-out. I guess when you're losing at this rate, any tired refrain works. He also said they liked Edwin Jackson because of his “consistency.” He's been consistently bad. Jackson has a career 70-76 record with a 4.46 ERA. Brent Lillibridge is a career .217 hitter. Kameron Loe is 33-41 and also had a 4.46 ERA. I know Lillibridge and Loe are gone, but who is looking at these guys and saying, “Wow, we've got to get some of that!”? As you pointed out, the Cubs seem to pick up a ton of players other teams have given up on. Is it just a pathetic amount of ego or are they really that daft? I eagerly await your answer! -- Steve Monroe, Chicago
I assume you’re referring to Hoyer’s comments on the rebuild, where he also said “you can make some pretty bad decisions” if you go on a buying spree instead of building piece-by-piece like the Nationals. If you look at the 2012 Marlins or the current Angels and Dodgers, you’d have to say he was right. They all overspent and it hasn’t worked out for any of them. As for the three players, do you expect him to give up on Jackson already? Remember Travis Wood looked bad at this time last year. And Lillibridge and Loe were basically the 23rd and 25th men on the team-- low-salaried, stop-gap pick-ups who were expendable. Their replacements will be replaced as well, like most guys at the end of the bench or the bullpen. That’s just baseball.
With Garza coming back, the Cubs need to move pitcher to the bullpen. Isn't this a wonderful opportunity to show Cub fans that things are truly different and regardless of contract, the worst performing pitcher gets sent down? No one will mistake Edwin Jackson for Cy Young, but given his history of failing to get out of the fifth/sixth innings, wouldn't this be the right time to see if he can turn into Dennis Eckersley? Eck had trouble getting out of those innings too and the A's resurrected his career. -- Brian Eisenmenger, Winfield
They didn’t pay Jackson $52 million to be a closer. Villanueva will go the pen, as everyone knew back in spring training. The only reason it’s news again is because the Cubs won’t announce it yet, so it keeps being asked over and over.
You have been, dare I say, fairly pleasant with your 2013 mailbag answers. No snarky replies. No tearing down of a questioner's self-esteem. What gives? Are you truly #committed? -- Chad Rucker, Chicago
Under advice of counsel, I plead the fifth.
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