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Ricketts getting the hang of running Cubs

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.