I guess you could call me a spokesperson for thousands of other Cub fans. I am 86, have been a fan since 1938. My health is now deteriorating, so don't have time for still another rebuilding mode. About 15 years ago I said I wasn't going to die till the Cubs won a pennant! My only opportunity to see the Cubs is on WGN. And now that too will be coming to an end. God help all the Theos and Ricketts of the world when they grow old. -- Betty M. Lux, Beech Grove, Ind.
Theo has a few gray hairs, and he knows fans are getting antsy.
Dale Sveum gets fired by the Cubs even though they give him basically nothing to work with. On top of that, they deal some of their better pitchers for future prospects. How was Dale expected to compete? Even their so-called future stars Rizzo and Castro were busts.
The White Sox give Ventura a contract extension even though their record was worse than the Cubs. As far as I'm concerned, Sveum got the shaft. -- Bob Ungar, Des Plaines
I agree he should have been retained, but I’m sure there are New York Jets fans who wish Pete Carroll wasn’t fired after only one season. Theo and Co. pointed to a bigger picture that was based more on talent and wins and losses. We’ll see how this shakes out, but all parties have moved on.
Several years ago the Cubs signed a pitcher lefty Conception out of Cuba for a lot of money. He never is mentioned or talked about as potential player that will coming to the big club. -- Jim, Clarendon Hills
And I don’t think he’ll be arriving any time soon. Gerardo Concepcion received a five-year, $6 million contract but was outrighted off the 40-man roster after only one season and pitched in only two games in the Arizona League in 2013.
He’s only 21, but I wouldn’t be buying a Cubs jersey with his name on the back anytime soon.
At a time when many teams are actively trying to expand their fan base, the Cubs seem intent on shrinking theirs. They limit caravans to the Chicago area and will probably not renew with WGN, so fans outside Chicago will no longer be able to watch games. Theory: Tom Ricketts has a very controlling personality and wants establish a fiefdom in Chicago. What are your thoughts? I realize you have to be tactful. -- Jaime Sommers Goldman, Universal City, Texas
I’ve covered a few organizations who have sent players and officials to locations as far as three hours away from their city to conduct charity events and schmooze with fans. This goes a long way toward building goodwill and enticing fans to make the trip to their park on weekends. I feel bad for the people of the Peoria area, but you could changes were imminent when the Cubs’ Class-A affiliate moved from Peoria to Kane County.
I think the Cubs want to fortify their fan base in the Chicagoland, which is starting to become crucial with declining home attendance. The plan usually is to rally the locals by making visits to schools and parks, and parents are more tempted to bring their kids to games and spend their disposable income at Wrigley on a more frequent basis. But the product on the field must get better soon.
Why don't the cubs simply raise the height of the right field advertising above the sightline of the rooftops? Second, I've been a Cub fan since the mid-60's, and I loved the ambiance of Wrigley before the advertising behind home plate, in the dugouts, on the outfield doors, around the scoreboard and against the grandstand façade, not to mention the lights and night games.
My point is Wrigley is not really Wrigley for many fans anyway, so how about replacing the center field scoreboard with a Jumbotron about twice its size for revenue and using the manual scoreboard somewhere else on the project as a fan experience/history exhibit for fans. Just sayin’. -- Brady Smith, Peoria
Can you imagine how high that signage would be? I would suggest an airline put some advertising up there because it would go well with the planes flying into O’Hare.
With apologies to the manual scoreboard operators, I’m all for a new modern scoreboard with larger type and enough space to list all the out-of-town games.
I see the Cubs are still in the flipping mode. When, in your opinion, will they reach .500, make the playoffs and reach the World Series. -- Stan, Frankfort
I’d say reaching .500 by 2016 is realistic. St. Louis will remain a force in the National League Central for several years, and Pittsburgh still has the power arms to remain competitive. The extra wild card gives everyone a better chance of reaching the playoffs, but the Cubs need more power arms before declaring when it would be realistic to reach the playoffs.
I can see the .500 mark as a possibility in 2015 only if Castro and Rizzo rebound, Baez makes a sudden impact, Samardzija is still here and develops into an ace in his contract year, and Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta continue their ascent.
I would rather the Cubs move out of Wrigley and let ALL of the business' suffer for being stubborn. Thoughts? -- D Stafford, Ottawa
During the strike of 1994, one politician suggested that negotiators for the owners and players be locked up in a room and be served with nothing but cheese and not allowed to leave until they struck a deal.
I think we’re getting close to that point. So much in the neighborhood depends on the success of the Cubs, and these haven’t been good times for the team and ticket brokers. You wonder how close is the breaking point, especially after Crane Kenney revealed at the Cubs’ Convention there was progress.
Of all the minor league players that the Chicago Cubs have, which players have a shoot of making the club out of spring training? -- Korey Geiken, Mesa, Ariz.
I’m curious to see what impact Mike Olt can make in spring training. Kyle Hendricks has an outside shot in the rotation, but I don’t see many openings for rookies.
Could you tell me who the Cubs received for David DeJesus? He is a good player, and they should have received a decent prospect. But I have heard nothing mentioned. -- Bill Burwell, Watseka
They received cash considerations, or a savings of about $2.5 million.
Having watched the Cubs struggle mightily over the last 40 years, I find the build for sustained success approach taken by Theo refreshing. I understand the impatience of Cub fans who do not feel like the team has done enough to get a decent major league team on the field, but my desire is to see something better than decent. My semi-local team, the Nationals, have provided a blueprint that I sincerely hope the Cubs continue to follow, building a solid core through drafting and player development (Harper, Desmond, Strasburg, the Zimmermans and Rendon) and completing the rebuild with smart trades and free agent acquisitions (Gio Gonzalez, Denard Span, Jason Werth, Rafael Soriano, Doug Fister).
The 2005 Nats were right where the Cubs were when Theo came to town two years ago -- horrible on the major league level but building a strong group of prospects in the low to middle minor leagues. By 2011, the Nats were approaching respectability and in 2012 they had the best record in the NL. After a dip last year, they look like a World Series favorite. After 40-plus years of following a loser, I'm excited about watching this team bring up the prospects in the 2014 to 2016 timeframe, and only THEN adding the last pieces through smart trades and free agent moves. Impatient Cub fans need to recall past moves of impatient Cubs teams (Soriano, for example) and develop some patience of their own. -- Mike Wagner, Richmond, Va.
You’ve developed a tremendous amount of patience over the past 40 seasons.