Results tagged ‘ Tom Ricketts ’
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts made a stop in Peoria on Wednesday to see the Class A team and talked to reporters there.
“We want our Minor Leagues to be as productive as possible. We do want to separate ourselves in that we want to be better,” Ricketts said in a news conference at O’Brien Field. “We want to be known as a team that drafts and develops players better than the other teams.”
Ricketts said he visits the Minor League teams because the goal is to build the best organization in baseball, according to a story in the Peoria Journal Star. Ricketts was asked about any possible changes for next season.
“I don’t know just yet,” Ricketts said. “It’s something we’ll decide at the right time.”
So far, the new owners have concentrated on the business end.
“It’s hard to say we’ve had any type of big impact on the baseball side,” Ricketts said, “but that being said, a lot of the stuff we’re doing now should pay off in the long run.”
And that includes a commitment to scouting and player development, which includes building new facilities in Mesa, Ariz., and also the Dominican Republic.
“We’re out talking to our affiliates to make sure we’re doing everything we can with our minor league players and coaches,” Ricketts said. “Ultimately the performance on the field, if it’s going to be consistently winning, has to come from a great organization. We’re doing everything we can to make it the best organization in baseball.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team will have some financial flexibility and could add a player during the season but wouldn’t comment on whether adding Albert Pujols is a possibility. Since Pujols rejected the Cardinals’ latest offer, the Cubs have been rumored to be a possible bidder if the first baseman becomes a free agent.
“I don’t have any insights or thoughts on any of that situation,” Ricketts said when asked about Pujols. “All I know is what I read in the paper. I guess it just has to sit until the end of the season.”
He said Major League owners are more concerned about the length of some of the mega deals than the money involved.
“If you’re going to sign someone for seven, eight years, you better make sure that’s the guy you want,” he said.
Ricketts said any additions made in-season would be up to GM Jim Hendry, whom the owners have had more involved in terms of budget decisions so he understands the team’s finances.
“All of that stuff is in Jim’s court,” Ricketts said. “There will be a little more financial flexibility at the end of the season than there has been in years past.”
And Ricketts’ message to the team?
“I think the message for the team this year and the theme for the team this year is the fact that through the last six weeks of 2010 we were one of the best teams in baseball,” Ricketts said of the 24-13 finish under manager Mike Quade. “We have that team back and that manager back and we’ve added to it. I think we build on that momentum and use the next 40 days to get ready for the season and come into the season with a sense of purpose and a sense of pride and get off to a quick start and have a great year.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was asked about everything from the music at Wrigley Field to Ryne Sandberg to payroll during a question and answer session at the Cubs Convention Saturday. Ricketts said Sandberg, who did not get the manager’s job, is always welcome back with the team. Sandberg has taken a job as Triple-A manager with the Phillies.
“He was always welcome here, he is always welcome here and he’s one of us,” Ricketts said of Sandberg.
Ricketts said the Cubs hope to complete rennovations at Wrigley Field by 2014. There are no plans to instal a video scoreboard but in another session, fans expressed an interest in one. We’ll have to wait and see.
– Carrie Muskat
About 30 union leaders and numerous business owners and residents from the Wrigley and Lakeview area will join Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts on Tuesday in support of “Wrigley Investment Now-WIN for Jobs.” Ricketts is asking the state of Illinois to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field.
Last week, Ricketts said the Illinois General Assembly will consider a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. The plan will allow a portion of future city and county amusement taxes, paid entirely by Cubs fans, to be invested directly in the preservation of the ballpark. A bill is being drawn up that will be considered in the veto session.
Backers of the plan say at least 1,000 union labor jobs will
be created and as many as 500 permanent jobs would also be created in and around the Wrigley Field area.
The economic stimulus plan of renovating Wrigley Field and the “triangle” parcel development is estimated to generate more than $3 billion of economic growth in the next 35 years (approximately $66 million in year one, growing 2 percent per year, according to proponents). Of that $3 billion, the plan is estimated to generate $454 million in new sales, hotel, property restaurant and personal income taxes for the city, county and state.
– Carrie Muskat
Mr. Cub Ernie Banks joined Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts in Mesa, Ariz., on Monday to campaign for Proposition 420. Banks said he recalled riding a train to the Cubs’ Spring Training facility in 1953 but missed his stop. The team’s traveling secretary, Bob Lewis, was waiting at the depot for Banks and when the train went by with the shortstop still on it, Lewis chased it down with his car.
“They stopped the train,” Banks told reporters in Mesa on Monday. “I didn’t know where I was. I thought, ‘Why am I here?’ Mesa was a very small community. It’s not anymore. It’s grown and changed.”
Next Tuesday is election day in Mesa and voters will decide on Proposition 420. The measure would let the city of Mesa spend up to $99 million on a new Spring Training facility for the Cubs, expected to be located at the Riverview Park site. The money includes $84 million for a stadium and $15 million for infrastructure.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has met with the four managerial candidates but there is no timetable for when the team will name its next skipper. Ricketts would not comment on the managerial search but a source confirmed he has interviewed each of the candidates.
The four include Mike Quade, Ryne Sandberg, Eric Wedge and Bob Melvin. Quade, who has spent 17 seasons managing in the Minor Leagues, compiled a 24-13 mark when he took over for Lou Piniella. Sandberg is coming off a season at Triple-A Iowa where he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year. It was his fourth season managing in the Cubs’ Minor League system.
Ricketts was in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday to campaign for Proposition 420, which will be on the general election ballot Nov. 2. The measure is designed to allow the city to spend up to $84 million for a new Spring Training stadium and practice facilities for the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to season ticket holders this past week. Here’s a copy:
“It has been an incredible year for my family in our first season as stewards of the Chicago Cubs. Of all the new experiences, none was more enjoyable than the opportunity to meet and spend time with you—our season ticket holders.
“We met many of you during our game day walks through Wrigley Field. Over the course of those games, you welcomed me and my family, you shared your thoughts and suggestions on improving the team and the ballpark, we celebrated some wins and, unfortunately, suffered too many losses.
“One of the highlights of the year was our first ever season ticket holder ‘open house’ on July 8th. On that day alone I met more than 2100 of you, as we spent a day together in the greatest ballpark on earth. (For all who have inquired—yes, we are going to host that event again and in fact we will double up with a night session as well).
“As our most highly valued customers, your opinions are invaluable as we move our organization forward. In fact, you will soon be contacted to participate in a quality assurance survey as we consider amenity upgrades and look to identify ways to improve your experience at Wrigley Field.
“On behalf of my entire family, thank you for your warm welcome and your incredible support of the Cubs organization. You are truly our partners and we respect your contribution and insights.”
“The 2010 season was a disappointment for all at the major league level–for my family, for the organization, for the players and for the fans. The team showed signs of its potential the last quarter of the season, but the 75-87 record fell well short of our goals. My family is committed to winning a World Series and though it may not be entirely evident from this year’s performance, there are encouraging signs.
“The 2010 highlights revolved around our home grown talent. Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner developed into budding stars, with Castro and Colvin in the NL Rookie of the Year discussion. That young group was enhanced by the August promotion of Casey Coleman, who went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts. All need to take the next step in 2011, but we are very encouraged to have a group of young, home grown players emerge as regulars in 2010.
“We also have to recognize the superb job done by another one of our own–Mike Quade. During the final 37 games, the team played at a .649 clip (24-13), the second best record in the Majors over that time frame. Making this even more significant, we played largely against teams fighting for playoff berths.
“It is my strong belief that, in the end, it is organizations with strong farm systems that win championships and I am convinced that our organization is making progress.
“Our success in producing talent from within our system can be attributed to a number of factors, including a commitment of financial resources. We believe we have one of the best scouting directors in baseball in Tim Wilken (now 4 years in place) and with a strong farm director in Oneri Fleita and a very productive international effort, we are making progress in what had been a weak spot in the organization.
“Our farm clubs performed very well in 2010, playing to a collective 374-316 record, with first place finishes at both the Triple-A level in Iowa (tied) and Double-A level in Tennessee. The overall .542 winning percentage was second among all major league organizations and our 374 wins were the most for the Cubs organization in 15 years. As I said at our opening press conference about a year ago, we are committed to winning the right way—with our farm system. We believe we are on the right track.”
“We are early in the process of building the club for 2011. The first order of business is hiring our manager. Jim Hendry has identified a strong group of candidates and we are currently completing our interviews. This is a critical decision and I am confident we will find the right person to lead the club.
“The strength of our team in 2010 was our starting pitching, as we led the National League with 96 quality starts. We expect that to continue. We are excited to see the continued development of our young players and the strong bullpen work anchored by Carlos Marmol (38 saves and a reliever-franchise record 138 strikeouts) and Sean Marshall (2.65 ERA, 22 holds).
“Going forward, we recognize the need to recommit to fundamentals. We need to stabilize our defense and cut down on errors. We need to improve our offense and become more efficient in both moving runners and hitting with players in scoring position. It is too early to determine whether this will be addressed with internal moves, trades or through free agent acquisitions. But we know we must improve in these areas.
“Given that we had the highest payroll in the NL in 2010, I get a lot of questions about our payroll commitment for 2011. As I said earlier, we are still working on our 2011 baseball plan, so it is hard to be too specific at this time. What I can tell you is that our overall baseball budget (scouting, player development and payroll) will be about the same in 2011 as it was in 2010. Continued long term success will come through superior scouting and player development, and we are committed to improving that facet of the organization. As a result, this likely means a shift of some of our resources from the major league payroll toward scouting and player development, but we are still very much in the evaluation phase.”
2011 Ticket Pricing
“The other question I get regularly concerns our ticket pricing for 2011 and beyond. Overall, our average ticket price will be flat in 2011 compared to 2010. Before going into greater detail on that topic, let me provide some background.
“My family is committed to providing ticket pricing that allows families to enjoy Cubs baseball. In so many ways, our children represent the next generation in the Cubs family. We want to invest in providing families with opportunities to experience Wrigley Field, including such things as running the bases, which will be continued in 2011.
“To this end, we will continue the policy of keeping many of our tickets in the sub $10 range–in fact, we will offer a substantial increase in sub-$10 tickets next year compared to 2010.
“In addition, we are increasing the number of bronze games (our lowest ticket pricing tier) from 6 games in 2010 to 15 games in the bleachers and 11 games in the grandstand in 2011. As a result, there will be 77% more tickets priced at $20 or less in 2011 than there were in 2010. Stated differently, a total of more than 550,000 tickets will be available for $20 or less next year.
“Again, our average ticket price next year will be essentially flat compared to 2010 (actually it is fractionally down vs. 2010). This does not mean all ticket prices will be the same as last year however, as pricing was adjusted based on location and our schedule. A little background might be helpful.
“To set our pricing in 2011, we examined approximately 5 million transactions from our primary and secondary ticket markets from 2005 through 2010. Our goal was to keep our average ticket price flat overall but improve the alignment of pricing for games and seating sections with actual demand. The result is a market-based ticket model that reflects our fans’ buying patterns.
“The highlights include: (1) reducing the average ticket price for all gold, silver and bronze games, (2) separating the bleachers and grandstands in the pricing tiers, as the buying patterns vary significantly for each area, and (3) adding a new fifth tier of pricing (Marquee Tier) for our high
est demand games.
“Cutting through it all, the net result for our season ticket holders is that some will see a slight (in all cases, less than 3%) increase, others will see a reduction as much as 6% and some will see virtually no change at all.
“Other changes in 2011 include new season ticket holder benefits. Over the years, we have added significant benefits to being a Cubs season ticket holder, such as a dedicated area within our website, early access to Spring Training tickets and other special events (such as the very popular Dave Matthews concerts and Allstate Wrigleyville Classic football game coming in November), and last year’s open house.
“For 2011, there are a number of new benefits that I think you will find interesting. Among them is exclusive access to our players, coaches, manager, front office and ownership through Cubs Insider Webcasts that will occur throughout the year. In addition to updates on everything happening inside the ballclub, these webcasts will provide you the opportunity to ask questions on topics of your choice. A Season Ticket Holder Benefit page follows this letter and you should ask your Cubs representative about any of the items listed there.”
Wrigley Field Renovations
“Like you, we love Wrigley Field and are committed to winning a championship at the Friendly Confines. We all need to recognize, however, that our wonderful Wrigley Field is fast approaching 100 years of age and is in need of substantial improvements. We committed over $10 million to that effort last year, largely to improve restrooms, add new food options, recast concrete, upgrade steel and other general maintenance. We will continue this effort in 2011 but again the focus will be more tactical than strategic.
“We spent much of the 2010 season assembling a team of renowned architects, engineers, designers and project managers to develop a master plan for a more significant Wrigley Field overhaul and Triangle Building development. Our planning will continue in 2011 and your involvement through the quality assurance surveys mentioned earlier is very important. We look forward to completing the analysis phase and getting underway with the construction and occupation phase.”
“Thank you again for your incredible support of Cubs baseball and the Ricketts family. We have spent our adult lives sitting next to you cheering for our team. We now have the responsibility to improve not only the play on the field but also to protect and save our summer home, Wrigley Field. With your help we will accomplish both.”
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is leaving the managerial search to GM Jim Hendry, and will go over the list once it’s whittled down. So far, Hendry has talked to former Cleveland manager Eric Wedge and was in Albuquerque with the Triple-A Iowa team to talk to its manager, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
“It’s Jim’s responsibility to go out and find a new manager,” Ricketts told beat writers on Wednesday. “What he’ll do is he’ll create a short list and I’ll meet with everyone on the short list.”
Ricketts said the emphasis is on winning, not finding the best big name manager to help market the team.
“I don’t think we need a marquee name to sell tickets,” Ricketts said. “What we need is a team that produces on the field. And that’s really what’s most important to us.”
– Carrie Muskat
Dutchie Caray, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks raised a bottle of beer in a toast to legendary broadcaster Harry Caray, whose statue was moved near the Wrigley Field bleachers and rededicated on Wednesday.
The bronze was relocated to the corner of Sheffield and Waveland streets near the entrance to the bleachers, where he used to do broadcasts during the summer. A statue of Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams will be installed at Addison and Sheffield streets, where Caray’s statue was.
“I was a little sad at first,” Dutchie Caray said of the move, “but I’m happy with the outcome.”
She said Harry, who passed away in February 1998, was never content to stay in one place anyways.
“He had to be where the action is,” Dutchie Caray said.
“It’s fitting that as a Cubs fan, a Bud man and a bleacher fan that Harry will be here for years to come to welcome fans to the bleachers,” Ricketts said.
Oversized black glasses — one of Caray’s trademarks — were distributed to Cubs officials and fans. Bleacher fans attending Wednesday’s Cubs game against the Pirates received a Harry Caray mask. Caray joined the Cubs broadcast team following the 1981 season and continued his White Sox practice of leading the home crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. Caray was presented the Ford C. Frick award and enshrined into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
“As fans, we know he’s one of us,” Ricketts said.
After a toast with one of Caray’s favorite beverages, Dutchie led the fans gathered on the corner at Sheffield and Waveland in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts watched the Triple-A Iowa team on Friday in Des Moines and was asked about the first half of the season for the big league team.
“The first half of the year has been disappointing for every fan, the Ricketts family included,” Ricketts told the Des Moines Register. ”The offseason moves were very strong — Marlon Byrd is our All-Star. Getting him was a good decision but I don’t think anyone could really have predicted the difficulty we’ve had this year.
“I’ve talked to thousands of fans, many right here in Des Moines. There’s nothing I can tell them that they don’t know. We’re watching closely how things are going on the field.”
Ricketts shook hands with fans, posed for photos and signed autographs. He dodged a question about whether the Cubs are buyers or sellers at the trading deadline.
“That’s in [general manager] Jim [Hendry's] court,” Ricketts said.
What about Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg’s chances of moving up to handle the big league team?
“He’s wonderful for the organization,” Ricketts said. “A Hall of Famer helping our kids develop for the future — that’s terrific.”
This is the last year of Lou Piniella’s contract. Sandberg has made it clear he wants to manage the big league team.
“I understand that,” Ricketts said. “He’s always been a crowd favorite.”
Could Sandberg take over for Piniella?
“I’m staying away from that one,” Ricketts said.
– Carrie Muskat