Wells likes Ricketts' bluster

February, 22, 2011
2/22/11
3:37
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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AP Photo/Matt YorkCubs owner Tom Ricketts had a simple message for his players when he met with them on Saturday.
MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Randy Wells liked the message he said owner Tom Ricketts delivered to the team on Saturday: Chicago has always been a Cubs town, and it's their job to play like it this season.

"Yeah, that's not something you hear every day or every camp," Wells said. "I think that's kind of cool.

"I got drafted in 2002 and the Tribune Co. owned the team. You never heard what their concept was or how they felt about things. We get Tom's concepts about community and other topics as well. He's very accessible to everyone. Tom is really a down to earth guy. It's a lot easier to play for someone like that."

A recent Chicago newspaper article suggested Chicago has become a White Sox town because of their play along with the off-field drama and offseason moves. It's a theory Ricketts shot down as he begins his second season as owner.

"He said that it's our town, and we need to step it up and play like it is. That's a good message," Wells said.

Through a spokesperson, Ricketts declined comment to ESPNChicago.com, saying he preferred out of respect to the players to keep what he talked about in the meeting private.

"When you hear the owner talk about doing everything he can to help the team win and that he feels we have the personnel to win, that makes you feel pretty good," Wells said. "He and his family are very hands-on. He's already improved our spring training situation. He's improving things at Wrigley. That's a great thing."

After getting swept in the first round of the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, the Cubs missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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