#Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts says thanks

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to fans via email. Here’s the transcript:

Dear Cubs Fans,

Wow. What a season! A week later, it’s still hard to put into words just how special this past year was for all of us.

On behalf of my family and the entire Cubs organization, we want to thank you. Without your patience and support, we never would have been able to begin building a championship-caliber team the right way.

From the many great team victories to some incredible individual performances, this team got us to believe in magic and
showed us anything is possible when you set your mark high. Led by a dynamic, one-of-a-kind manager and fueled by youthful enthusiasm and remarkable talent, our team not only competed, but proved to be a real contender. With the third-best record in baseball, we experienced a 24-win turnaround from 2014 and our first postseason berth since 2008.

None of us will ever forget our October games. The vibe in the ballpark was electric thanks to your constant energy. With every “Go Cubs Go” chorus and every W flag flown, the team felt your support. Defeating the Cardinals in our first-ever postseason matchup and clinching a series at Wrigley Field for the first time in franchise history was truly incredible.
While we fell short against the Mets in the National League Championship Series, our ultimate goal remains – to win a World Series. Now more than ever, I believe we are in position to pursue and accomplish that goal.

During this past year, we also made solid progress toward our second goal of preserving Wrigley Field. Again, thank you for your patience. The new video boards debuted to rave reviews, and the Budweiser Bleachers are back and better than ever with upgraded amenities and new group spaces. This offseason will be just as productive as we work to complete our new state-of-the-art clubhouse and Wrigley Field ticket office. Most importantly, the work you won’t necessarily see is the continued replacement of the steel and concrete that will allow Wrigley Field to stand for the next generation of Cubs fans.

In addition to the tremendous progress we made on the field this season, we also made great strides in the community. The generosity of our players, fans, partners and neighbors was felt far beyond the Friendly Confines and helped us further our third goal of being a good neighbor. Our team and Cubs Charities are on track to donate more than $1.5 million this year. Cubs Charities signature programs – Cubs Scholars, Cubs on the Move Fitness Program and the Diamond Project – continued to thrive as we welcomed our third class of scholars, launched an online fitness curriculum available to more than 1 million Chicago kids and awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to improve the quality and safety of local baseball fields.

In 2015, we also saw past contributions come to life as we helped open Margaret Donahue Park and Kerry Wood Cubs Field. These wonderful community assets are enhancing the quality of life in our community and providing local athletes with a place to improve their skills while fostering their love of the game.

It is certainly encouraging to take a minute to look back and celebrate what we were able to accomplish together on and off the field. Now that our 2015 season is in the record books, there is no need to worry about predictions and going “Back to the Future.” The future is now. We are ready to carry the momentum into 2016 and continue this special journey with you.

Let’s Go Cubs,

Tom Ricketts

31 Comments

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Aloha Folks- say whatever you wan to say about “owners” but I give the Ricketts credit. They have been upfront about their plans for this organization from the get go. They have treated it as a business with a heart. I am glad the Cubs have the Ricketts as owners who look at us fans as more than just folks to fill the stands, eat hot dogs, drink beer no matter what “product” is put out on the field. From this fan, Mahalo & Arigatou Gozaimasu for this season that surpassed my expectations!

I’ll second that motion k.g. ‘Twas the season to be merry! (they have already put the holiday decorations up😀) Might have been a lot of kicking and screaming along the way but they put those paddles in the water and made a great landing. Look forward to this winter’s “plan of action”. 😀

Its the Ricketts that deservs the credit at this time of year. They had a vision of bettering the entire Organization. They hired the right man for the job.
With out all the decorations and other bull, you are correct K.g.

Thanks for building this “Dream” with the proper people running the team. From ownership to Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Joe Madden. Your decisions have put this team into a very good chance to be something so wonderful. God Bless all of you!

The Cubs were `exposed` by the Mets in the NLCS, and the Mets were `exposed` by the Royals in the WS. The Mets are not nearly as good as they appeared versus the Cubs. Murphy played `out of his mind` versus the Cubs defensively, and especially with the bat. He is a below average second baseman as y`all saw in the Series, and his bat went quiet too. Cespedes also came `back to earth` in the Series. He misplayed baseballs in the outfield, did not shine offensively, and made `boneheaded ` decisions running the bases. It was unfortunate we played a club in the postseason that was extremely hot at the time and which kept its many flaws under wraps. Did I mention the Mets do not have a shortstop even when Tejada`s in the lineup, and Lucas Duda is `challenged` defensively as a first baseman? Wright is no `Brooks Robinson` at third either, especially after his stenosis issue. Travis d`Arnaud can`t throw any potential base stealers out. Other than all that, the Mets are a good defensive team. (smiling) Congrats to the Royals! There is much to be said about making contact with baseballs, and not striking out. Lots of things are possible when baseballs are put into play. Hoping other clubs have taken note.

Hi jhosk, “Falling Apart at the Seams” seemed to be the Met’s mantra throughout the World Series. Their defense had a “where am I” theme, I got the ball, now where do I throw it? Or oops that ball went right through my glove! I really felt sorry for Terry Collins. He rarely shows any emotion. Last night I saw him do some foot stomping in frustration. Do you think there will be some heads rolling and some players who won’t be there in 2016? Congrats to the Royals. Congrats to Dale Sveum’s batting approach.

Aloha jhosk- One could say that our beloved Cubbies were running on adrenaline after the Wild Card game with the Pirates and it carried over to the series with the Cardinals. I did feel very concerned when Addison went down in that series because even though he is 21yrs old, he has shown a maturity beyond his years especially with his play in the field (I believe this will translate to his bat too). Notice how Baez still wants and thinks he can hit as many dingers as someone like a Harper. And even though he is very good athletically speaking and can play many positions, Russell proved out of the three (Castro/Baez) that he should be at SS. This left a hole in the infield against the Mets. This is not to say that Baez cannot mature as a player. As of right now, Russell should be the starting infielder and as you stated, does not need to slide head first unless it is absolutely necessary! I also felt that the Mets came out of their series with the Dodgers still “amped” up and it carried over to the NLCS. The Cubs had so many days off. The starting pitching for the Mets is very good and the young arms came together against a young hitting Cubs team. The Mets starters pitched pretty well against the Royals too. Yes, the Royals showed what a 3-Tool team consists of: Pitching-Hitting-Defense. Their execution of plays in the field was just awesome. I love seeing folks that are great with the fundamentals and they have it! I believe with hard work that Bryant can get better at third; he may never be a Brooks Robinson but he could be a very good-consistent presence at his position. We all know Russell is only going to get better at SS and Rizzo deserves credit too. That leaves Second Base: the season really turned around when Russell became the everyday SS. Castro took the change well and his hitting came alive in September and he played a pretty good 2nd. There is a lot of chatter what will happen with Castro in the off-season. If he is not traded, maybe Baez becomes the utility person for next year. If Fowler is not resigned, Gordon (Royals) is not a bad option as he can play many positions and you could have a Baez/Coghlan combo in CF. I think Baez could cover a lot of ground and help out Soler in Right. I still think a trade with the Padres is not a bad idea if you can get a Ross & Kimbrel but what do you give up? If you can make that trade you gain a very good starter in Ross then you only have to spend FA dollars for one more SP (Zimmermann/Price). I also think the FO has a situation to deal with because they brought up Schwarber this year. We can all agree that his bat is there and with maturity he will only get better. But in order for him to get better at his position he needs playing time behind the plate. I think Montero is up to the task to be his teacher but with Ross still on, it takes up a space plus I believe it holds back Lester. Lester is going to have to get used to a new catcher soon. Ross can help with that transition right now. Lester also needs to work hard on his move to First in the off-season, that is part of his job. With a move to first and a season under his belt in the NL I think he will get better. The fun for us begins now! Take care and talk to you all soon! Mahalo!

There is `a fly in the ointment,` k.g. when one considers Schwarber. I refer to the view by many intelligent observers that Willson Contreras is the Cubs` `catcher of the future.` Unless the NL plans to adopt the DH in the near future, I recommend Kyle work hard to improve his defensive outfield skills. And speaking of catchers, it looks as if we are going to have to tolerate Ross for another season as Lester`s personal catcher. That`s depressing. Two automatic outs in the same lineup for one more season. As for Ross`s $2.5 mil salary in 2016, kudos to Ross. It`s a windfall for an athlete who should have retired by now. Billy the Kid used a gun, I`m told.

Yes, White, agree Terry Collins deserved a better fate. He `trusted` his players, especially the Dark Knight, and was burned. Did you notice Ned Yost made some `curious` decisions in the postseason, but the Royals` players `covered` for Yost, and those decisions did not come back to bite Ned? I do not see any Mets` heads rolling, but also do not see Cespedes or Murphy returning, but that`s because the FO is frugal, and won`t choose to compete with the `big money` offers other organizations are sure to make. To answer a question you posed recently, I see the Mets keeping Conforto as he`s a big part of their future plans. Weren`t you impressed with Wade Davis in the WS? The man is `Money.` I suggest those who said Familia was Wade`s equal or better, were mistaken. Dan Plesac was one of those, but I reckon Dan now sees the error of his ways.

Day 1 after the World Series – sky is full of baseball players going home! First snow on Mt. Hood and 110 days until reporting to SpringbTraining! The air will be buzzing with trades, rumors, arguements of who should go, who should stay, how much to pay, ad infinatum….. My guess is that first priority for the Cubs will be pitching, pitching, pitching. Any thoughts?

Yes, it`s a given that the Cubs need to add pitching. Starting pitching is the Mets` greatest strength, and it only figures to improve. Keep in mind Zach Wheeler was `out of the picture` most of this season, and he`s potentially on a par with Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. If we were to meet the Mets in the 2016 postseason, we`d better have starters who can compete. Hammel, who`s owed north of $9mil next season, did not cut it this postseason, and that`s a conundrum.

jhosk, you didn’t address the snow on MT. Hood or the sky being filled with Baseball players going home. Could you please elaborate for White?

Hi jhosk, You mentioned above that Lester must have his “personal” catcher. WHY? Ross adds nothing to the offense, and could or should retire. Can you tell me of any other pitcher who has the luxury of a “personal” catcher? Surely Lester could adjust and learn to pitch to a more talented catcher. Other players have to make adjustments – Castro from SS to 2nd, etc. He did not complain, went about learning the position and did it well.

Ross does much more than catch Lester. He could easily be MVP of the Cubs clubhouse this season because of how he helped the rookies, his experience, his energy. He does a lot behind the scenes that Maddon and the players (and not just Lester) appreciate

Good to know. Thanks for the info. 😀

Aloha Carrie, thank you for your reply and input. As a fan of the backstop position, I love having so many on a team. I was looking into the near future that this being Ross’ last year contract wise, he can help with the transition for both Lester and the rest of the staff. I also hope Schwarber gets more time in behind the plate, hoping he can find his niche so he remains on this team. Hope you get a break, thanks for the updates. Mahalo!

Wait until you see Wilson Contreras K.g. Ross might become a coach faster than we all think.

Absolutely! I`ve praised David Ross more than once during the regular season for his upbeat personality and `presence` in the clubhouse, and positive effect on the other players, especially the rookies and other youngsters. He is valuable in the dugout and clubhouse, no doubt. My argument is that he provides zero production in the lineup. He`s an automatic out when he comes to the dish. He should retire immediately, if not sooner, and become a Cubs` coach. That is where his value lies, and not as an active player. He is occupying a roster role of someone who can potentially provide knocks and drive in runs.

“Can you tell me of any other pitcher who has the luxury of a “personal” catcher?”
I bet you are correct White, that is absurd to think any other Starting Pitcher has ever had their own personal Catcher.

Greg Maddux in Atlanta was often caught by the backup instead of the offensively-superior Javy Lopez because Maddux liked working with those guys (ie. Charlie O’Brien, Eddie Perez & Paul Bako). And for the record, the Cubs were 30-16 this season in games that Ross stated. We’ve heard you people cry about Ross being an automatic out all season long, yet the record with him starting speaks for itself, so can we please stop complaining about things that aren’t actually a big problem? I’d rather talk about the snow on Mt. Hood than the same old dumb and inaccurate arguments that people kept on bringing up all season long!

LMAO, very nice Doug. What about Carlton/McCarver? The knuckleballers that had too have a personal Catcher.

Any position player whose batting average is below the Mendoza Line is irrelevant, or should be. Davis Ross`s in 2015 was far below that metric. And White was clearly referencing pitchers `personal catchers` in the present tense. To quote her directly, she asked, “Can you tell me of any other pitcher who {has} the luxury of a `personal` catcher?” McCarver and Greg Maddux`s personal backstops are ancient history. McCarver was a decent hitter. It isn`t fair to compare him to the `offensively challenged` David Ross.

Read Carries reply above jhosk. Its a very interesting read.

Yes, I did, Jasper, and also responded with my view on the subject. You mentioned Tim McCarver earlier. I suggest that if Tim McCarver batted .175 back in the 60`s and early 70`s when Tim was active, he would find his `sorry ass` back in the minors so fast, it would make his head spin.

Aloha jasper, yes I have not commented in depth about Contreras; you are right there. We talk a lot about the log-jam at SS but the backstop is getting crowded as well! I think Ross will make a very good coach. Mahalo!

Perhaps the Cubs could have been 35-11 in those games which David Ross started in 2015, had a catcher who can actually supply production been there in his place.

Swapping out one backup catcher for another could have added 5 wins to the team total?!?!?!?! Now I have heard everything on here! So, how is that snow on Mt. Hood looking? But seriously though, Ross was a -0.1 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) this season. That means for your statement to have been true, Ross would have had to have been replaced by a catcher with a WAR of 5.0, which according to baseball-reference is an All-Star level player. Just to give you an idea of how good that is, Miguel Montero was a 1.8 WAR player in 2015. Welington Castillo with the Diamondbacks was a 1.4 WAR player. Nick Hundley, who I thought the Cubs might sign to be the backup catcher due to his connections to Jed Hoyer in San Diego, was a 1.8 WAR player. Russell Martin, who the Cubs tried to sign before acquiring Montero and Ross, was a 3.3 WAR player. I get that Ross is not a good hitter, but a) the Cubs had a pretty good record with him as the starter, b) as Carrie stated above, he did a lot more for the team than what his batting average shows, c) Lester likes throwing to him, and d) his overall statistical impact on the team over a 162-game season versus any other backup level catcher is minimal. 5 win difference? Try 0.5 win difference! Now let’s all move on from debating who the backup catcher should be and focus on who the Cubs should sign to be the #1 or #2 guy next season! Oh, and a decent leadoff hitter to replace Fowler would be nice too. Both things are miles ahead of David Ross in the importance to the 2016 Cubs race!

Addendum: It would mean we would have won the division and had the home field advantage versus the Mets, and that could have led to an entirely different scenario from the one we witnessed. Those first two games in Queens were played under conditions not favorable to our Cubs. To say it was cold is understatement. Had they been played in Wrigley, the outcomes may have been very different. Think about it.

Bottom line. I`ve concluded it`s all David Ross`s fault we did not get to the World Series in 2015. (Smiling).

Zack Greinke is up for grabs! And the snow on Mt. Hood deepens.

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