- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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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.”
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