The Cubs keep finding new and unusual ways to lose games. Today’s 5-3 loss came after a bizarre play after a Padres rundown. While Lou Piniella thought time had been called, no one was covering home plate and the Padres took advantage of the situation to score another run. And so goes the Cubs season.
On Monday, Tim McGinnis, who writes the blog “Tales from Aisle 424,” wrote that the Ricketts need to have one member of the family who would stand up and voice his, or her, dissatisfaction with the Cubs. He suggested that person be Todd Ricketts.
Does McGinnis really think it would be good press for one of the Ricketts to be the drunk, disorderly, profane spewing fan? How would he know what goes on behind closed doors of a Cubs Board of Directors meeting? How does he know that no one is voicing dissatisfaction, perhaps in the ways he has suggested, only not in public? The problem is that none of the Ricketts can afford to be seen acting this way in public.
The Ricketts have an image to uphold. Not one of them is a Steinbrenner or a Cuban, Yes, there are some fans who would like to see the new owners acting like a Steinbrenner or a Cuban, but those fans seem to be in the minority. When asked about whether he thought one of the family members should be more like Mark Cuban or George Steinbrenner, Tom Ricketts answered, “Mark Cuban can go on the court and yell at the officials, but how many championships has that gotten the Mavericks? That’s not how we do things.”
The Ricketts are not going to act this way because, for the most part, they shun the spotlight. Yes, Tom is the face of the new Cubs. He is out in the bleachers and stands signing autographs, posing for photos and getting “advice” from everyone he meets. He listens to it all, and sometimes can be seen taking notes. It’s even said he reads every email he gets. How can he not be angry about how “year one” under his family’s leadership is going? He is unhappy. He is angry – as the owner and as a fan, but it’s not his nature to show it in public, nor is it the nature of his siblings to show it in public. They hear the fans, and as fans, they also feel the pain. However, they are smart business people, as well as smart fans. Tom has enough on his plate now. He doesn’t need to be “reigning in” one of his siblings for the sake of getting fans riled up. Leave that to the team, just not Carlos Zambrano.
The other point made in the blog post was that the Cubs can’t buy any more loyalty than they have right now, and that loyalty is dwindling. If you have been watching the games on television, you have seen how empty the bleachers have been. Part of that is kids going back to school, part is people are fed up with the losing team, ticket prices that are too high and a Wrigley Experience that just isn’t a good one right now.
This weekend’s games against the Braves are sure to draw more fans into the Friendly Confines. People will want to say their farewells to Derrek Lee, who yesterday accepted a trade to the Braves for three pitching prospects. It’s also the last summer weekend before schools are back in session. After that, expect attendance figures to drop again. Fans are giving up on this year’s team. The only hope is for something better next year.