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Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: September 19, 10:05 AM ET
No. 112: Chicago Cubs

By Doug Mittler
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 112
Title track: 114
Ownership: 93
Coaching: 98
Players: 108
Fan relations: 100
Affordability: 113
Stadium experience: 94
Bang for the buck: 118

Through Sept. 10, the Cubs had the worst record in the NL Central, and according to fans, the team doesn't care. Those who voted in our survey gave the Cubs the lowest score of all MLB teams for "players who always give their best effort." This season the Cubbies also have traded several key players, including Carlos Marmol to the NL West-leading Dodgers and Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, and the 114 ranking in title track says that even the fans knew a postseason was a dream. Twenty-five-dollar parking spaces, a $44 game ticket, a $20 cap -- while the "Wrigley experience" has sold itself well in the past and has drawn an average of 32,738 fans per game (capacity is 41,160) this season, the storied walls are showing their age. Perhaps sensing the need for change, and their 31-point drop in our stadium experience ranking, the Ricketts family (who dropped 25 spots in the ownership category) is investing $500 million over the next five years to renovate Wrigley. The Cubs say the face-lift will create 2,100 jobs and ultimately generate $1.2 billion in new net revenue -- and perhaps boost their MLB-worst bang for the buck ranking. In the interim, the Cubs keep trying to draw fans through giveaways like Darwin Barney bobbleheads and free promo items to the first 5,000 kids who arrive at the park each Sunday (the first 1,000 of whom get to run the bases postgame). Still, it may be awhile before Cubs players feel a renewed competitive fervor. As Marmol told reporters weeks after his trade, "I don't mind. Tell Theo [Epstein, Cubs president] he made a good move. I'm a Dodger, in first place. How about first place, huh?" Indeed.