No Cubs move to U.S. Cellular Field
MESA, Ariz. -- While revealing nothing new regarding rumors that Wrigley Field will undergo a major renovation in the near future, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was clear on one point.
"There's no plans for us to play anywhere else but Wrigley Field," Ricketts said Friday, during a nine-minute session with reporters to address the state of the Cubs.
Speculation had the Cubs possibly playing home games across town at U.S. Cellular Field or even at Milwaukee's Miller Park as early as the 2013 season while Wrigley Field turned into a construction zone for the summer.
There are some construction plans with a more definite schedule. Ricketts did say that construction on a new spring training facility in Mesa remains on schedule for 2014.
With the Cubs heading out for their first full-squad workout Friday, Ricketts took a brief turn addressing the team.
"My message is, we talk about let's use all 40 days as best as we can and just communicate with them," Ricketts, adding that his speech was short and to the point. "One of the things I talk about is making sure if there's something we can do better, let us know. We want to be the best organization in baseball. If there's feedback, make sure it gets up to us so we can do the best that we can."
That was at least part of the inspiration for bringing aboard new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and new general manager Jed Hoyer. They, in turn, brought in new manager Dale Sveum.
"I talk to Theo all the time; it's great," Ricketts said. "Just as everyone knows he's very thoughtful at everything he does. There are a lot of guys working hard. You ask them hard questions, they have great answers. There is nothing he hasn't seen. It's just been a great relationship. It's been terrific."
Management in harmony is great, but what fans are looking for are victories. Ricketts admitted that plenty of tickets remain available for games in April and May, a sign that perhaps fans aren't convinced the club's revival will be a quick one. Ricketts remained confident.
"We're not preaching patience,'" he said. "We're preaching [to] have expectations. Expect these guys to play hard. Expect them to compete every game. Expect them to have a great season. It's not about patience. We have a great team, and we're going to have a great year."
That isn't exactly a prediction that the club will make the playoffs, though. Expectations around baseball are that the Cubs will be a mediocre team in the National League at best.
"You can't do anything about that stuff," Ricketts said. "All you can do is take a look at the guys that are in that room and see how hard they want to win. Dale and the guys are going to make them play hard. I think if everyone stays healthy and everybody does what they're supposed to do, we're going to have a great season."
Doug Padilla covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.