Tom Ricketts needs to do something. Even in hiding from everyone except one reporter he believed he could use, Ricketts needs to order something done.
A trade. Yeah, that’s it. Ricketts needs to trade someone. Maybe he’ll trade Matt Garza to the Yankees before first pitch tonight.
Before he became what is turning out to be the lame front man for the family that owns the Cubs, he was one of the lemmings. In fact, he sold his baseball-hating dad on the idea of buying the Cubs because they sold every ticket even when they stunk, and they stunk a lot. But still, they came. Who needs the truth when you have that kind of turnstile count, huh?
Ricketts seems to have problems dealing with the public in an honest manner. Specifically, he has trouble treating Cubs fans as adults. Maybe a Cubs fans shouldn’t be the owner of the Cubs, after all. Or at least, maybe a Cubs fan shouldn’t be the talking hood ornament for the riches of the Ricketts empire.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether the issue is small or large. Ricketts either lies because he thinks Cubs fans will buy it as part of a trained behavior or he is flummoxed by the spotlight, unsure of how Cubs fans will deal with the truth and unwilling to risk it.
Either way, he can make himself look like a fool in a hurry.
Last year, when it was clear the Cubs were bad and Mike Quade was afraid to manage the veterans, Ricketts attributed the Cubs’ near-worst record to “injuries.’’ This spring, he made sure to tell TV interviewers that “We’ll have a good team this year’’ despite evidence to the contrary that reeked of razing the major-league roster.
The big issue, of course, came last week when it was revealed that father Joe Ricketts had agreed to fund a $10 million project called “The Plan To Defeat Barack Hussein Obama,’’ a political attack centering on the controversial preachings of the president’s former spiritual leader, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The story on the plan that Joe Ricketts reportedly was willing to fund was characterized as race-baiting and gay-baiting, among other things.
You can pretty much do anything in politics, especially now that the Super PAC rules have created secret agendas on steroids.
But lying to Cubs fans --- or treating them as brain-dead because you were treated that way --- is very public and can quickly turn into trouble for someone trying to run a business, such as the one that Joe Ricketts is trying to run through his kids, most notably Tom.
That, see, is where Tom again either lied or played Cubs fans for stupid. Tom went begging to Mayor Emanuel for tax breaks to renovate Wrigley Field. The mayor worked toward accomplishing those goals, and then reportedly went ballistic when the report came out that the wealthy family he was trying to help with tax breaks was spending some of its money trying to play dirty with the president for whom Emanuel was a chief of staff.
Tom issued a statement trying to disavow any connection to his father’s politics and said he would have “no further comment.’’
Which was a lie because he had page full of further comments in the Sun-Times over the weekend.
At one point, Tom claimed his father is not involved in the team. That’s another shovelful, seeing as how it’s dad’s money that bought the field of dreams. Dan Bernstein of WSCR-AM 670 does a wonderful job of pantsing Tom with the words and video of his father exposing whose money is running the Cubs. As Bernstein writes, “Tom Ricketts is counting on us being stupid, or us not having access to a computer. Maybe both.’’
The Ricketts family has a major problem, and it’s not the bullpen. Joe is always going to be the dad and Wrigley is always going to need fixing. How they navigate from dad and his politics to Clark and Addison is the issue.
And it might be time to make it Laura’s issue.
This family ownership is not unlike the McCaskeys. In fact, Tom sounds eerily similar to Michael, which is not a good thing unless you were a fan of fingernails on the blackboard. Tom also appears similarly out of credibility the way Michael was, and so, if the McCaskeys can change kids, why not the Rickettses?
I realize that Michael McCaskey brought it on himself when he bungled the Dave McGinniss hiring and mom subsequently sent him to his room without dessert. That’s different than the politics of the father being visited upon Ricketts kids.