Chicago Cubs: Ricketts family

Attendance in 2013 lowest in last 15 years

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
5:56
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs finished a disappointing season with a club-record 50 home losses, which is almost criminal considering the prices they charge for tickets.

At least there weren’t that many witnesses.

The Cubs finished their homestand with a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday in front of an announced crowd of 26,171. That cemented their worst season of attendance since 1998.

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How long 'til Cubs write new script?

April, 8, 2013
4/08/13
8:58
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- There are seven basic plot types for a story, but only two kinds for the Chicago Cubs: Ones about failure and ones about hope.

When it comes to the Cubs, it’s all about the past we’ll never forget, the present we can’t stomach and the future we’ll never see.

Under the Ricketts regime, the present has been execrable. But a blissful future is always an outfield sign and a minor leaguer away.

All the talk about patience and commitment and foundation for sustained success have filtered into the brains of the most devoted Cubs fans. It’s not a bad thing to be patient, and it’s not a good thing to be angry about a perennially lousy baseball team.

But don’t tell Cubs president Theo Epstein he doesn’t care about winning this season.

As part of the public demands of his job, he has to sell hope and patience. He does it well, with charm and an earned baseball sophistication.

He’ll tell you that winning and building are intertwined, and it’s true. But it doesn’t feel good for him to answer questions about dealing with a wasted season before it’s even began. Because for Epstein, the owner of two World Series rings, baseball is better when you win.

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Report: Wrigley renovation deal close

April, 5, 2013
4/05/13
6:28
PM CT
By Associated Press
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Fans of the lovable losers have something to look forward to, after all.

The city of Chicago and the Ricketts family, who owns the Chicago Cubs, are close to an agreement on a $500 million overhaul of Wrigley Field, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal, first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, was not yet finished and they were not authorized to publicly discuss it.

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Cubs owner supports Theo Epstein

February, 17, 2013
2/17/13
3:18
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. -- A rocky year on the field in 2012 hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts about the direction his team is headed.

During a media gathering on Sunday, the club's owner and top executive offered his support of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, saying Epstein's vision of the team's future is right on target with ownership's plans.

"I think the progress is tremendous," Ricketts said. "People can't see all the decisions that are made behind the scenes. I see these guys making hundreds of smart decisions during the course of the year. Some of them are public decisions, and a lot of them are smaller decisions made behind the scenes. I just have complete total confidence that they are moving us in the right direction."

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The (Wrigley Field) fix is in?

January, 20, 2013
1/20/13
5:03
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- This weekend, while you were trying to figure out "catfishing," the Chicago Cubs cast out a new plan for renovating Wrigley Field that is far easier to understand, if not digest.

Here's the gist: The Cubs want so-called Big Government off their back.

More than two years after debuting their failed attempt to wrangle tax dollars from the city and county to help fund a $300 million renovation of historic, charming, and yes, dumpy Wrigley Field, the Cubs' owners are fighting for their right to desecrate, I mean decorate, their own home.

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New ticket prices reflect Cubs' struggles

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
9:11
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Before the 2010 season, their first as owners of the Chicago Cubs, the Ricketts family raised ticket prices by 10 percent, continuing a trend of major price increases from the last few years of Tribune Company ownership.

While the Cubs didn’t make the playoffs in 2009, they had a winning record and 2010 was only two years removed from the Cubs having the best record in the National League.

But things have changed. For the third straight season, all losing affairs of increasing magnitude, the Chicago Cubs are lowering season ticket prices for the 2013 season.

According to data from Team Marketing Report and the 2013 season ticket data sent out today by the team, the Cubs’ average season ticket price will be $44.61, down from $45.83 last season, which was the third-highest in baseball. All prices include the 12 percent amusement tax.

That figure doesn’t include the 3,500 or so club box seats the Cubs now consider “premium” seats. If you factor in those “premium” seats, the Cubs’ average ticket is $48.96, down from $50.06.

[+] EnlargeChicago Cubs Fans
Brian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesAttendance at Wrigley Field has been declining over the past few losing seasons.
Of course, a severe downgrade of fortune has coincided with the Ricketts family takeover. Since the 2008 playoffs, the team’s record has declined each season, with 2012’s 101-loss campaign marking only the third time in franchise history the team has lost 100 games.

But Wrigley Field is a tourist draw and there is a long waiting list for season ticket holders.

According to David Kronheim, who runs the analytics site numbertamer.com, the Cubs’ 2012 attendance total of 2,882,756 was the highest-ever for a team that lost 100 games. The 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks had the previous record of 2,519,560.

Still, it broke the Cubs’ streak of eight straight seasons drawing more than 3 million as the Cubs lost an average of 1,669 fans per game. The Cubs’ 2012 average of 35,590 is way down from the franchise peak of 40,743 in 2008. By the end of the season no-shows outnumbered the fans in their seats as the actual attendance looked to be a fraction of the announced numbers.

For the season, individual tickets will be priced $1-$2 more for the second straight season. In the past, the Cubs were one of the few teams not to price individual games tickets higher.

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Ricketts fine being patient with Rahm

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
4:17
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts remains determined to work with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on renovations to Wrigley Field despite a controversy involving Rickets' father that drew the ire of Emanuel last week.

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Wood hopes to find a new role with Cubs

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
7:19
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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[+] EnlargeKerry Wood
Jerry Lai/US PresswireKerry Wood waves to the crowd at Wrigley Field as he leaves the mound after his final strikeout.
As Kerry Wood walked off the mound for the last time on Friday, he was already contemplating his post-playing days future.

“I want to stay with the team and help the guys if I can,” Wood said. “I know I enjoy teaching some of the things I have learned and I’m already close to the guys.”

Before signing again with the Cubs in 2011 Wood had a sit down with team chairman Tom Ricketts. In that meeting Ricketts told the iconic Cub pitcher that there always be a place for him and his family in the organization. The job description was left unspecified, however Wood was told that this would not be a handout or token offering.

Wood’s talents are many and a front office or broadcasting job seem possible. For now, this ultimate baseball lifer wants to be there for Cubs manager Dale Sveum and his staff.

“I want to be a part of this team and organization for a long time,” Wood said in his postgame press conference. “Baseball was the one thing I knew how to do and now (that part ) is over.”

Wood and his wife, Sarah, are hard-working parents and serious fundraisers for numerous charities, including the old and soon-to-be-opened Children’s Memorial Hospital, and it appears his future will always have a connection to the Chicago Cubs and the fan base that has loved him from Day One in 1995.

Ricketts hopes Castro case ends 'shortly'

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
10:13
AM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
The Chicago Police Department said Thursday the investigation into sexual assault allegations against Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is ongoing, and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said he hopes the matter is resolved "shortly."

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Ricketts getting the hang of running Cubs

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
11:41
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. -- Tom Ricketts finally has the management team he wants for the Chicago Cubs in place for the next decade. Beginning his third season as the club’s chairman, the Nebraska native appears to be on top of his game as a business man and baseball executive.

Ricketts handled media questions in an easy and in controlled manner on Friday, answering questions when he felt it was what he wanted to do. In the past, it seemed that Ricketts would hesitate and force an answer as if he had an obligation to reply. That is no longer the case. Three times he was asked about Starlin Castro's ongoing off-the-field problems and three times he adroitly deferred to Castro’s agent and representatives, showing the awareness of a long-time owner.

Ricketts loves the team’s new “Cub Way” direction Theo Epstein has started for the franchise. “You do like to hear the ‘Cub Way,’” Ricketts said. “What we are doing is putting everything down on paper and everyone is signing off on it, everyone is working together.”

Certainly, that wasn’t the case over the last couple of seasons on the north side.

It’s refreshing for Cub fans to know that the team’s owners are responsive to the point of returning emails and phone calls on a regular basis. In fact, Ricketts walks the ballpark before home games, shaking hands and signing baseballs.

“Everyone buys in. Everyone is accountable,” Ricketts said. “I think that’s a big part of the ‘Cub Way.’”

Cub fans have three baseball executives in place, as Ricketts now will sit in with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer on both business and baseball decisions, something he avoided for some reason during the Jim Hendry regime.

“I think we have made some changes that will pay off in the short run and in the long run with a team that is going to be competitive every single year,” Ricketts said. “I feel great about it.”

So will the fan base when it starts to see results.


Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts talks about the new "Cubs Way," his expectations for the season and whether the Cubs will be playing somewhere other than Wrigley Field.

Wood back, ready to do things 'Cub Way'

February, 19, 2012
2/19/12
2:39
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
MESA, Ariz. -- Since his first spring with the Chicago Cubs in 1996, Kerry Wood has been a focal point for both fans and media. However, this time around he might be fighting off father time and a new management style.

The Cub player with the longest relationship with the team is waiting to hear all about the “Cub Way” that new the management team has put down as the holy grail for being a Cub in the future.

“I am excited to hear about it,” Wood said. “I just don’t know a lot about it yet.”

What Wood does know is that he no longer has the ear of the top Cub executives other than the Ricketts family. Wood almost went elsewhere this offseason before team chairman Tom Ricketts intervened at the last minute and the club re-signed the 35-year-old veteran to a one-year, $3 million dollar contract on Jan. 13 at the Cubs Convention.

After meeting with team president Theo Epstein in early November, Wood has not had a conversation with either Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer since that time.

Regardless of that, the popular Cub icon is ready to compete in 2012. Wood missed the last two weeks of the 2011 season with a left knee tear, having surgery to repair it on Sept. 30.

“The knee is great,” Wood said. “I am 100 percent, no problems and it has been that way for a month or so. I’ve been throwing off the mound for a while now and feel great.”

Wood may be going into his last season, but he is very optimistic about the new group of players that will comprise the 25-man roster in 2012.

“It’s good to see a change, you get kind of watered down with the same thing over and over again,” Wood said. “It’s Groundhog Day, nothing changes. So it’s good to see a change and now I’m looking forward to moving down the street [to HoHoKam Park] and playing.”

When he chooses to retire, Wood will be a part of the organization going forward, according to an agreement that he has with Ricketts.

Tom Ricketts talks Cubs front office

January, 14, 2012
1/14/12
11:42
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and his siblings spoke to an auditorium full of Cubs fans at a family seminar during the Cubs Convention on Saturday.

Afterwards, he spoke to reporters on many different subjects.

  • Ricketts on the much-maligned president of business operations Crane Kenney, who he insists is an intregal part of the business plan:

    “Crane does a terrific job,” Ricketts said. “He’s done a great job on the business side of the organization. I feel that’s going in the right direction and with Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] in there, I feel baseball ops are going in the right direction. Those things have to work hand-in-glove. They are really two sides of the same coin. They have to work together. I’m optimistic that we have a great future on both sides.”

  • Ricketts on Kenney making the first call to Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino in order to interview Epstein: “It turned out [Kenney] had a conversation with Larry that was prescheduled. It was just a coincidence they talked. I told [Kenney], if you talk to Larry, let him know [we’d like permission to talk to Epstein].

  • Ricketts on Starlin Castro, who was questioned by Chicago police over allegations of sexual assault: “From our standpoint, Starlin and his advisors put out a statement on Friday and it’s really not appropriate for us to really talk much beyond that. We just hope it gets resolved as quickly as possible and everybody moves forward.”

  • Ricketts on Epstein-mania: “Obviously there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of optimism. People are excited about the direction on the baseball side and I think that helped us with season-ticket renewals, which were very, very, very high. I think it helps, but there’s no way to quantify it. The feeling is people seem to want to be a part of this new team that should be headed in the right direction.”

  • Ricketts on Epstein and Hoyer: “We have a fresh perspective and they look at things a little differently than maybe Jim [Hendry] would have. They have brought in a handful of guys and they talk openly about decisions and with all those guys putting their collective thoughts together, they’re going to make some good calls. Theo is the ultimate decision maker, but those guys are always talking about players. They work hard. They are here early and they are here late.”

  • Ricketts on whether the previous front office was too small for major league standards: “I don’t know about that. But I think we are benefitting from fresh energy and fresh perspective from these guys.”
  • Cubs owner open to eating more salary

    January, 14, 2012
    1/14/12
    10:16
    PM CT
    Levine By Bruce Levine
    ESPNChicago.com
    Archive
    Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Saturday that he’d continue to be supportive of his front office if they thought moving a veteran player would be best for the team’s future.

    “First of all, it’s really up to the baseball guys to decide who fits on the team,” Ricketts said at the Cubs Convention. “If there is a player they think doesn’t fit and they think it’s better for the team to move him, then I’ll support it 100%, even if that means eating some salary.”

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    Cubs glad they didn't lose Kerry Wood

    January, 14, 2012
    1/14/12
    8:30
    PM CT
    Levine By Bruce Levine
    ESPNChicago.com
    Archive
    Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts acknowledged on Saturday that the front office could have handled the Kerry Wood signing in a more timely fashion.

    The 34-year-old veteran pitcher told the media on Friday that he was 25 minutes away from going for a physical with another team, with which he had agreed to a deal in principle. That’s when the Cubs closed in and finished off the contract.

    “I’m not sure why the timing ended up the way it did,” Ricketts said at the team’s annual convention. “We probably could have had that conversation a month ago. My gut would just say that [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer] were focused on everything else that was going on. We probably could have done it a little sooner.”

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    WINS ERA SO IP
    8 2.98 104 108
    OTHER LEADERS
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    HRA. Rizzo 25
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