A League of Her Own

Five Things The Cubs Must Do To Keep Their Fans From Walking

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 It's not unusual for early June to feel "late" for Cubs fans. In fact, we're accustomed to being 12.5 games behind the Cardinals by this point.

But this year, everything feels different.

Mathematically, the Cubs aren't close to being out of it, yet this June has a decidedly September-like feel to it, and not the kind of September when we're all on the edge of our seats hoping the Cubs can hold off the Brewers long enough to clinch the Wild Card. This September feels more like the pre-2003 Septembers; the ones where we grumbled through a final homestand against another bad team, trying to hold on until we could officially put the season to bed and try again next year.

The general feeling of malaise that's descended upon Cubdom is easily identifiable by the numbers of empty seats visible at Wrigley for the first time in many a year. Sure, it's in part due to the success of the Blackhawks (who wants to watch Aramis Ramirez strike out for a month when you can watch Jonathan Toews putting them between the pipes with crazy regularity), and in part due to the economy. But it's also something more.

The Cubs are bleedings fans.

 

Never has the Chicago National League Franchise felt more dated, fan-unfriendly, and out-of-touch than it has this season. If the Cubs want to win fans back (and keep what's left of them from bolting), there are (at least) 5 things they must do:

1. Lower ticket prices: There was a time, most notably after the 2003 season, when the Cubs could have charged a first-born child for the Cross-Town series and gotten away with it. But with the sluggish economy and one of the most consistently under-performing teams in the majors on the field, the decision by the Ricketts family to RAISE ticket prices again before 2010 felt . . .  well, like a slap in the face. The Cubs fans, on average, now pay more to watch the Cubs struggle to score more than 1 run a game than fans of other teams pay to see the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Rays . . . you get the picture.

Look, Ricketts family, I know you lucked into the most loyal fan base in all of sports, but that doesn't mean we'll pay ANYTHING to watch the unwatchable in person. Especially when it's far cheaper for us to pay $75 for all we can eat and drink on a rooftop. If you want fans to keep coming to the ol' ballpark, make it more financially feasible for us to do so.

2. Embrace Social Media: Yes, I know the Cubs have an mlb "blogger" and a website. So? In this age of the information superhighway (heh), other clubs are using social media to reach out to a new fanbase and satisfy their constant need for entertainment/stimulation. Take a look at the Blackhawks, who routinely run online human-interest stories about their players on "Blackhawks TV." At least one major league ballclub (the Nats) has already given press credentials to bloggers and another (the Mets) have also reached out to bloggers. The White Sox  PR Chief even attended the "Blogs With Balls 3" conference a few weekend ago and talked about the importance of bringing tweeters, bloggers, and online media in general into major league baseball's media model. These are things that make fans feel connected to their team and engender life-long loyalty. Let's face it, the Cubs no longer have every game on WGN in every house across the country.

So hire someone with a flip camera to take funny video of the players and post it online. Start bringing bloggers, who generally have a fresher, funnier, and edgier take on baseball than the old-school media, into the press box. Get your front office on Twitter. Get an official Facebook page.Encourage your players to blog, tweet, and facebook. In short, bring the team into the 21st Century.

3. Stop Getting Horrible Corporate Sponsorship: Between Toyota trying to hide the fact that Americans who drive Priuses (Priui?) are in danger of imminent death and BP making the Gulf oilier than Christiano Ronaldo's hair, you guys are batting 1.000 over there. I don't think fans object much to the selling out of Wrigley Field to corporations as long as a) the corporations aren't viewed as inherently evil entities run by Montgomery Burns; and b) we can actually see the results of the money in the park and on the field.

But frankly, even with the BP and Toyota money, we're still stuck with John Grabow in the pen and longer lines for the women's bathrooms than I've ever seen in my lifetime. And since we have to put up with hearing about that awful BP Cup for at least another Sox series, how about a donation from the Cubs to help clean up the Gulf with some of that oil money? That would go a long way towards making the fans feel  . . . well . .  less oily.

4. Renovate Wrigley:  I know that, once upon a time, Wrigley was sacred ground to the fans that was completely untouchable, no matter how many pieces of concrete fell on our heads. But as Cubs fans watch more and more teams get new ballparks with the same old-timey feel Wrigley has (see, e.g, Camden Yard, Target Field, Citifield, Yankee Stadium, etc), the more we are starting to realize what we're missing out on. I realize that financing (and the landmark status) may be an issue, but the fans (and players) deserve a stadium built (or at least massively renovated) in this century. My advice? Keep the scoreboard, the ivy, and the marquee. Knock down everything else and make it bigger, newer, and more modern. The fans will get over it once they have plenty of butt room, decent bathrooms, and a sparkly new Wrigley to be proud of.

5. Fire Jim Hendry: I know Jim Hendry has pulled some real hum-dingers out of his hat during his tenure at Wrigley. To be sure, we'll never forget Bobby-Hill-for-Kenny-Lofton-and-Aramis-Ramirez or Milton-Bradley-for-Carlos-Silva-and-cash (though I'm not sure even he had any idea the later would turn out the way it has), but more often he does things like keeping Rich Harden well into August because he thinks the Cubs can still "turn it around" and putting Jeff Samardizija into the bullpen.

In short, Jim Hendry, for all his good intentions, has a problem letting go, for lack of a better term.  Whether he's unable to let go of a dream of making up 8 games on the Cardinals in September or unable to let go of a lingering mancrush on Brian Roberts, his decisions frequently put this team in a bad position. I cite the Great Bullpen Disaster of 2010, which was forseeable by even the most casual of fans (I know this by all the mouth-breathers who brought it up over and over and over at Cubs Con back in January).

I'm sure Jim Hendry is a lovely person. But his reluctance to embrace statistics, his inability to make important personnel changes until it's far too late, and his undying faith in bad players has cost this team more games than it has won them.

Now that I've had my two cents, let's hear yours. 

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106 Comments

AndCounting said:

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After reading this, I'm convinced that the stands only look empty because everyone is in line at the bathroom.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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After reading this, I officially think our season is over. All I have been reading is who we should trade. Not trading to get better, but trading for next season. That kills me.

Doc said:

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Usually, after everyone pretty much gives up...and all the bloggers post shit like this, the team turns everything around and they win the division.

The probably this time is the fact the I have recognized this pattern, and by principle, will never actually give up on the season as I expect them to turn things around because I believe that the season is over...

I think I just broke my brain.

JulieDiCaro said:

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did you just call my post 'shit?'

Doc said:

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um...

sure looks like it...

um...

oops...

I didn't mean it that way...

Don't hurt me.

JulieDiCaro said:

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(narrows eyes)

Doc said:

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Ok...

Julie, before you go praising Jim Hendry for the Silva-Bradley deal...

remember, he's the jackass that signed Bradley in the first place.

AndCounting said:

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Don't look now, but Milton Bradley has experienced a resurgence. He's starting to really crush the ball.

Doc said:

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The lithium must really be working.

JulieDiCaro said:

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i'm guessing this might not be far from the truth. i have a psychologist friend who is convinced he's got a mental imbalance.

flyball said:

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didn't he recently publicly talk about his anxiety and suicidal thoughts and how he was looking for professional help

I'm not defending anything he's done previously, but he gets major kudos from me for discussing it publicly

JulieDiCaro said:

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meh--everyone discusses it publicly when they've hit rock bottom. i haven't yet heard him apologize for anything. in fact, i'm pretty sure his first big interview about this will include him blaming cubs fans for his anxiety.

flyball said:

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thats not true, for one, he has given multiple interviews (they were all over the place late May) and in none of them did I hear him complaining about the Cubs

anxiety issues shouldn't be dismissed offhandedly, and real issues are very rarely discussed in public

but my guess is that we'll never agree on this

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Yes, MB is definitely diagnosable. He could fit multiple diagnoses. There are a couple that stand out.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't think that's true. There have been several ballplayers who have spoken publicly about this in recent years. Khalil Green and Zach Greinke come to mind.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Lithium is good, but not that good.

Dmband said:

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Impressive stuff. Particularly #3. Email this to Ricketts....tell him you speak on behalf of the people.

JulieDiCaro said:

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yeah--I'm sure he cares what I think.

Doc said:

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we sure don't care what you think. :p

flyball said:

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I agree with most of it (my views on the stadium and renovations are well documented) but most especially with the ticket prices

for me going to a game includes buying a plane ticket, buying a train ticket, buying the game ticket and buying concessions

now, once you've gone through the hassle and cost of flying halfway across the country I would actually love to go to multiple games, I used to do this, there was a time that in 4 days I'd go to 3 games, but the problem is that its harder to justify 3 games, so now I go to 1

the even bigger issue is that its getting harder to get rid of your extra games for season ticket holders, even back when they were really really bad I would go to a ton of games each year with tickets from one of the packages, because for $12 it was a great afternoon, thats really when I became a fan, if it wasn't for those summers I wouldn't be traveling to go to even 1 game this summer

ok, so that didn't make any real sense, but my point is they are screwing over a fan base for the future not just losing them now, and for that I think the Hawks are a perfect example

AndCounting said:

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For convenience, advanced planning, and security, the person trying to get a deal on one ticket is hurt by the ticket price hike. But in terms of pure financial value, the actual available deals are likely much sweeter. When face value is super high and attendance is declining, you can usually find ample scalped tickets around the stadium the day of the game. If you know the market, you could probably get tickets for half price or less. I haven't checked eBay or StubHub, but I'd bet there's been a rise in tickets being sold for below face there, too.

In related news, I just price-checked a ticket to see Patty Griffin at the House of Blues this Friday . . . ticketmaster is charging a $9.95 convenience fee per ticket. Holy hell.

Doc said:

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One thing I have found interesting here is that the Ricketts family is starting to make some of the same mistakes that Old Man Wirtz did with the Hawks.

How long until they start blacking out home games that aren't sold out?

plamorte said:

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#6 Get the Cubs Network going with original programming, first up: "Cubs Bachelorette with Laura Ricketts"

Doc said:

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um...I'm fairly sure Laura wouldn't be into that.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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This could be some ground breaking TV. Would it not be the first of it's kind?

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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There was a gay dating show on Bravo a few years back, but I don't know that there's ever been a lesbian one.

thisyearcub said:

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L Word 2010 starring Laura Ricketts?

JulieDiCaro said:

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yes there is. i don't know what it's called or what channel it's on, but I saw Joe McHale making fun of it on 'the Soup.'

plamorte said:

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this one blew over your head Doc, i'm fully aware she loves the ladies, it would be a lesbian edition!

r_vance_b said:

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preface: i know nothing about the cubs, or baseball. the name Marmol sounds vaguely familiar. and my name being Ryan, i sometimes think of getting a TheRiot tee or jersey.

that said, a new stadium could go a long way to getting people interested in games again. also, baseball is boring as hell. sure there are home runs and double plays, but one each per game if i'm super lucky. it's not worth $80 a head to sit rubbing shoulders with sweaty drunk frat boys and suburbanites and then pay $5 for a hot dog and $7 for nachos.

DustyBaylor said:

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Hey!!! I was only breathing through my mouth because I had a bad cold! Lol....

AndCounting said:

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Just re-read the title of the post and wondered how "Break their kneecaps" didn't make the list.

Doc said:

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I think that is implied.

JulieDiCaro said:

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that's coming in my post about the ON-FIELD moves the Cubs should make.

1. Go Gilooly on the following players . . .

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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The Ricketts family hasn't made bad moves, they've made no moves. They only thing they've focused on is the business end of the franchise while keeping every single on-field piece in place. Who knows, maybe they made a conscious decision to wait a year to make any moves.

I just hope they're willing to blow the team up for a year or two, or whatever it takes, and actually build something. It can't get much worse than it is now.

JulieDiCaro said:

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they've done a lot to spruce up all the corporate areas of the park.

Doc said:

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I'll give them this...they did fix the broken cup holder for one of my seats a few weeks ago...that was nice.

Teebob2000 said:

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>>"watch Jonathan Toews putting them between the pipes"

That sounds SO dirty.

HackWilson09 said:

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Listen, Julie... Nothing brings in more fans than winning. But four of your five points above have nothing to do with playing baseball. That's thinking like they do, isn't it? When you talk about how to bring in fans and the first four solutions are questioning the team's marketing priorities, then you're as lost as they are. I agree that their marketing decisions either suck, or are moving too slowly, but that ain't the problem. You want fans? Come up with five legitimate ways to win more games.

Firing Hendry, you are correct. His inability to make good with $146 million dollars in payroll is just embarrassing and wrong. The biggest problem nobody ever talks about is the fact that Hendry has never started the season with a BALANCED team. One year we have nobody to back up first an third. Another year, we have a closer and no setup men. Most years, we have no leadoff man. But because he can't help himself when a particular player comes available, such as Nady, Tracy and Millar, he gobbles them up without a care in the world about where they fit. So with five starting outfielders and six starting pitchers this year, he's got nothing but problems, worrying more about accommodating all of them, when in fact he should be trading at least two of them. And lastly, we NEVER have strong, consistent hitters -- the kinds of guys who don't go through prolonged slumps, or make their bank on beating up on bad pitching, the way Ramirez, Lee and Soriano have always done.

Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin could be the beginning of the step in the right direction there.

Four more replacement points to come...

JulieDiCaro said:

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You're right, they don't have anything to do with baseball, And I agree that nothing is better for the bottom line than winining . . BUT.

The Cubs have sucked for years on the field and still brought in fans. As I have no faith in the Cubs ability to develop young talent, I assume most of our talent is going to have to come from FA or trades. To get good players, we need cash. To get cash, we need butts in the seats.

If the team can't bring in revenue via tickets/concessions/merchandising, I'm afraid we're looking at another 3-4 years of 'we just don't have the cash to go after the big free agents.' that's just going to lead to more craptacular seasons.

there are 10,000 bloggers out there writing about what personnel moves the Cubs should make. I've got my own opinions on those. But what i've noticed is that the Cubs don't have that real 'we're all in this together' feeling going on with the fan base like other teams do. We used to have that

JulieDiCaro said:

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(blah . . . Hit 'post' too soon)
we used to have that and it kept revenue coming in during the lean times so that we could go after the big free agents. If this team has any hope of rebuilding, we need to get it back.

We ain't the Twins, with new talent coming up every year, and my understanding is that BP has other places to spend it's money these days.

AndCounting said:

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Every point you made about baseball is patently wrong and the fact that this post is about how to keep fans from walking away makes marketing the most relevant point. The 2008 Cubs was probably the most balanced team ever assembled at Wrigley. You complained about not having backups and then complained about having too many. And no strong, consistent hitters? Ever? That's silly. And you want someone who never goes through prolonged slumps and also doesn't beat up on bad pitching? Oh, Hack, please don't go around calling other people lost when all your ideas are so far gone.

AndCounting said:

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And yes, "Nothing brings in more fans than winning." Say that at a Marlins game and take comfort in the echo of your own voice.

I don't mean to pick on you, I really don't. It's just that assembling a winning baseball team is much, much more difficult than we realize. It's also a lot harder than being successful as a baseball franchise. There can be only one world champion, but there's no reason the Cubs can't be more amenable to the fans. When you bleed every last penny out of a dedicated fanbase, you risk erasing any memory they may have had about why they were so loyal in the first place. It's not just the winning that matters to fans. Not being evil is kind of important, too.

If you are evil, you have to win a lot of championships to make up for it.

HackWilson09 said:

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You touch on the pinnacle of the whole issue. "Assembling a winning team is much more difficult than we realize."

Wrong.

Colorado, Florida and Arizona have done in in their infancy. Twins and Jays and A's and Card's and now the Reds have done it with limited resources. And obviously, the big spenders on the left and right coasts seem to get it right.

The organization is sick because it's been a) spoiled by a perenially large fan base, and b) TOO worried about non-baseball matters to notice that c) it keeps making the wrong decisions on baseball matters from the top of the organization to the bottom, over and over and over again.

Here's a very simple example:

2 or 3 years ago, the best GM in the business left St. Louis. Not only did we not grab him, but we let him go to a division rival. Walt Jockety, as expected, has turned his team into a winner.

Winning isn't that hard, and it isn't a secret how to do it. You need the best people in the organization, at the top, on the farm, in the dugout, and on the field.

I've never in my life seen the whole package at Wrigley.

AndCounting said:

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You clearly didn't watch baseball in 2008.

HackWilson09 said:

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No need to include the word "clearly" in your bitter, strangely confrontational assumptions.

But I'll go ahead and use it myself, because I sort of remember watching the games that year, as I always do:

I "clearly" watched a team that was not built to win in October. And I knew it in August and September.

Um... didn't you? Oh... I forgot, that was the best team ever assembled! Except for the part about losing 3 straight in the first round. I guess we weren't, uh... lefty enough, or something. Oh, or was that the year we were TOO lefty?

AndCounting said:

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They should have just gone out and gotten the best players. So stupid of them not to.

AndCounting said:

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Also, no need to include the words "very simple" in your explanations. The gross oversimplification of your emotionally charged and logically defunct arguments is obvious to everyone.

HackWilson09 said:

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And thanks for point that out to me, "Everyone".

Max Power said:

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Let's just have both of you be mad at me. It's pretty easy (just ask Julie). In exchange, I will get drunk for no particular reason.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Come on you guys, CAN'T YOU SEE THAT YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER?!?!?!

Dmband said:

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Hack-

I think where she was going with this is 5 things that can be done on an organizational level. The ownership and management have little control over the play on the field.

HackWilson09 said:

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I get that. I do. The thing is, after the White Sox BP British Petroleum BallPark Franks Toyota Prius Crosstown Classic, I've really had my fill of any kind of focus that has nothing to do with fixing a horribly broken baseball team. I don't care about the rest of it. I don't care about Underarmor, I don't care about peeing in troughs, or the price of beer. I'm a fan that wants the Ricketts family to finally be the people who fine-tune the organization in the direction of a World Series ring, not making people comfortable or artificially excited by nicer bathrooms or politically correct sponsors.

JulieDiCaro said:

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But the two are intertwined--that's my point. You can't get the best people and the best players without money. And if the fans desert you (a little or a lot), your revenue is going to go down.

I'm not about being warm and fuzzy with the fans so we can all go home and hug a puppy. I'm trying to make suggestions so that the fans stick around and we can use their money to buy the best players and people.

Dmband said:

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From the Ricketts standpoint, It was apparent at the begninning of the season that they fulled intended this season to be a "feeling out period".

Im quite certain they will start next year with a completely new regime, (coach and GM) and hopefully with a lot more of the young players continuing to contribute on a daily basis.

JulieDiCaro said:

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The they shouldn't have gone on their "we can win the WS with this team" tour. I still don't know if they were lying or just really don't understand baseball.

HackWilson09 said:

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Some think Cubs fans would find salary-dumping trades hard to swallow right now. Uh... Let's take a poll on that. We've seen two good seasons out of DLee and a whole lot of slumps. We've seen Fukudome hit in April in May, only. We have an extra starter, and we have spare parts at second base. Duh!

So if firing Hendry is point number one, and replacing him with someone smarter, like Steve Stone, is next, then point #2 is: it's time to start wheeling and dealing! You think the subtraction of DLee, Fukudome, Theriot/Fontentot and Gorzellany will make the team any worse? Nope. Their contributions are negligible.

But here's the deal to go along with #2: #3: You want fans? Well, you'd better spend more money now. You'll get out from under a lot of ugly contracts within in 4.5 years, and meanwhile, your farm system is producing, so spend just a bit more now, and get it back later.

This could allow us to move underperforming players while taking on pricy players in return who can actually help the team. Lose the above players, and you'll see virtually no decrease in wins. But go ahead and bring in guys right now that can help us to win more. In a couple years, starting thinking about how to eat salary to get rid of Zambrano and Soriano, because I believe they give the team more losses than wins at this point in their careers.

#4. Encourage Piniella to retire. He's done. Really shaky now, making questionable decisions on the field, managing in response to media, and generally looking miserable. He's not leading this team at all. He's had better days, and he should remember them fondly.

#5. Build a balanced lineup backed by a versatile bench for once. Decisions based on need, not on who's available. Trade away your surplus. Isn't that just easy? So we're stuck with Soriano, keep him and bat him sixth. Build for now around Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Soto and Castro. That leaves us with opportunities to fill spots at second, first and third -- let's get good hitters, rbi-men, but also guys who can play the field and run the bases well.

#6. Start thinking about your marketing strategies.

flyball said:

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you are much more optimistic about portions of this team than I am, I am in the trade 'em all and start with a young group and get energized again

and if the Cubs take on even more payroll and keep being mediocre I am going to be pissed

JulieDiCaro said:

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see--i'm not sure spending money now is necessary. and i think the fans would be more likely to embrace blowing this team up and starting over if the Cubs communicated more with their fans. and i don't mean Jim Hendry being all defensive and surly in pressers. but someone in charge of communicating with the fans via social media. talk about why it's necessary to do this now. talk about who's looking good on the farm. generate some excitement about the guys we'll be seeing later on this season or in the coming seasons. that kind of thing makes blowing up a team a lot more palatable.

seriously--it worked for the Nats. They've stunk for years, but they have incredibly patient, loyal fans.

baturkey said:

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I agree. I think the Cubs spent money on a win-now team that didn't, and now it's time for a youth movement.

HackWilson09 said:

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I see the merit in good PR, but I'd much rather see people who have more baseball smarts than me doing the best things for the team now and in the future, and I don't care how they do it or how angry it makes me as a fan, as long as they get it right.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Well . . . duh.

But you don't get the best people without paying them a lot. And they don't come without a decent revenue stream to work with.

My whole point is that I see our one saving grace, the revenue provided by the fan base, starting to slip away.

sloan peterson said:

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RE corporate sponsorship. As someone stuck in CA, one of my favorite things about Cub games is seeing the regional signage on the billboard thingy behind home plate. I think chicago should support more regional brands like Culver's and stop going for the multnational evil corps like BP. Maybe even push Chicago businesses like Old Navy Pier,etc. Use the fact that when the game beams out of Chicagoland on WGN,MLB,etc. millions of eyeballs are engaged. I work with people from 60 different countries and when you mention "Chicago" to them they name Marshall Fields, the Cubs, and Wrigley. Take advantage of that!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Culver's if from MILWAUKEE!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

sloan peterson said:

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See, I'm from CA I don't know that!! I mean it could be Brigford rolls, Fanny May chocolates, Eli"s cheesecake,anything that is local to Chicago. I even like seeing the Hardee's sign even though in CA it's Carl's..But you do get my point? Push Chicago,Illinois, Mid-West brands rather than BP...

JulieDiCaro said:

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No one should have ever pushed BP, regardless of the spill. Why not just "Little Lisa Slurry?" Good God, baseball is about wholesome fun. . . nothing is less wholesome than big oil.

berselius said:

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You're wrong - Culver's is from Sauk City, WI

JulieDiCaro said:

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Close enough

mlkirchw said:

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I'm a season ticket holder for the Cubs and I couldn't agree more with #1 of this article. My tickets are in the upper deck box section up from first base and the price has more than doubled in the 7 years that I've had them. Now that the team is so lackluster, it just seems preposterous to pay 120 bucks for a game in the upper deck for 2 people! Also, I wonder how instrumental John McDonough was in creating a buzz for this team....it just seems like all that energy is gone?

flyball said:

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the energy isn't gone completely, McDonough took it with him to the Hawks (btw, that was a great decision by Rocky Wirtz)

JulieDiCaro said:

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funny you should bring up John McDonough . . i was just thinking about trying to interview him about this.

thisyearcub said:

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You might see ticket prices lowered in the offseason, but not by much. The Cubs will always draw fans no matter the record, especially in the summer, given their national following.

All for No. 2 and I hereby throw my hat in the ring to be that guy.

flyball said:

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my point is if the current trends continue the whole following will drop off and then you won't be filling the park anyway

the Cubs need the season ticket holders regardless

JulieDiCaro said:

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exactly.

thisyearcub said:

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I think we're at least 10 years from the whole following dropping off. Look at the parks where the Cubs fans outdraw the home team's fans at times (Washington, Milwaukee, Atlanta just off the top of my head).

And if I remember, there's a pretty long waiting list on season ticket holders, somewhere around 15,000. If people drop off, there will be others who will be more than happy to take their place.

AndCounting said:

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The biggest indicator to me of declining fan interest is road attendance. I have a feeling that the Cubs don't "travel" nearly as well as in years past.

Doc said:

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That was pretty evident in the Brewers series last week.

JulieDiCaro said:

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if I'm not mistaken, there were plenty of seats available for the Cubs/Sox game last weekend. I'm not positive that those were all through Cubs.com, but just the fact that there were ANY speaks volumes. In the past, that's been the hottest ticket of the summer.

Doc said:

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that is correct...in fact (I'm starting to cry right now), on StubHub, tickets for Sunday night's game were only selling for about 60% of face value.

Doc said:

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Sorry...that is 60% off of face value...

$70 tickets were selling for about $25

Cubs Psychologist said:

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This means it's time for me to make a road trip!! Cheap tickets.

JulieDiCaro said:

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SATURDAY MIGHT BE A GOOD DAY . . .

Max Power said:

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60% of face was bad enough.

Armando said:

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It might already be too late. I am 42 years old, have been a DIEHARD Cubs fan all my life. I average about 30 games a year and have to exactly none this year. I'm sorry, but just looking at the roster in the beginning of the year, it was obvious that this team would not compete. I just had no idea they would be this bad. I mean seriously, the Cubs have become an embarrassment. After watching this pathetic team over the last 40 years, I have had enoung and I just can't justify spending money to watch this team play. I'd rather give my money to charity before I spend a dime to watch this pathetic team play. Hey, the players don't care, why should I. Wake me up when we are five outs away from the world series.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I guess the main point is that, since the Ricketts took over, this team has managed to seem more-corporate and less connected to the fans than it did even under the Trib Co. The "fan ambassadors" have been a big bust, there's little communication with the fans, and absolutely nothing, NOTHING, to remind the die-hards why we follow this team in the first place.

It's as if all the fan loyalty has been completely taken for granted by the owners. I think the fans may surprise them.

Doc said:

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The fan ambassadors in the men's bathroom in the upper deck is a nice guy. He has done a really nice job making sure the paper towel dispensers don't run out of paper towels.

JulieDiCaro said:

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his job is to sit in the bathroom?

dude, that sucks.

Doc said:

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he's a nice guy.

I really feel bad for him...he never looks happy. I try to say something nice each time I see him.

Max Power said:

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I think that it takes a special kind of person to look happy when serving as the Men's Room Ambassador (which I presume is the official title). Being the Ambassador to some country without cable has to be lousy, but I would guess there are fewer drunken high-fives and gents urinating on each other accidentally.

Teebob2000 said:

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>>"there are fewer drunken high-fives and gents urinating on each other accidentally"

Is that the country ambassador you mean or the men's room guy?

Dmband said:

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Julie-

To take it a step even futher, I think that the 'die-hards' feel completely alienated by the team to the point that they dont even want to go to Wrigley.

This is the dangerous side effect of when something almost becomes a fad...it became "cool" to go to Cubs games to drink, party etc...when the dust settles for most people it will have been a "fad" meanwhile the actual fans who have been going get chased away because they are tired of sitting next to someone who asks who is more concerned with who's singing the stretch than who's warming up in the Bullpen...

I typically attend 10-15 games a year. Sometimes more...this year I have already turned DOWN free tickets to a few games. I am going on Thursday, only because its a work relatd function on the rooftop.

This will probably be my last game this season...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Um . . except for Saturday's LOHO Meetup--right?

RIGHT?

berselius said:

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bleacher tix? I might show up if I can score a ticket

Doc said:

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These feelings directly led me not to go to Sunday night's game. I wanted to paint my windows instead of going to the Cubs game. Wow.

Dmband said:

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hahaha. Sadly, I have to work on Sat. I would like nothing more than to finally reveal my true identity.

Im Batman.

cadarnell said:

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I don't really care too much about getting more fans. I think getting better fans would be my preference. I ran into a dude in Wisconsin Dells last week who was wearing a Cubs hat, and in 30 seconds I could tell he didn't have a clue about what was going on with the team. Seems like there are a lot more dopes out there these days. They wear the garb, but they can't intelligently discuss the team. Kinda reminds me of Cardinal fans ...uggggg

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Or, Yankees fans!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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It's not about getting MORE fans, it's about keeping the ones they already have.

cadarnell said:

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well ... to keep fans I guess I'd have to say winning is the key ... I guess what I was saying is I don't want to keep SOME of the "fans" ... anywho ... you didn't say anything about Lou? ... don't you think many of the fans would like to see a change there?

sloan peterson said:

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I think Lou for some fans is like the old fuzzy robe. You know you need a new robe, but you still have the old fuzzy robe, and may not find a robe you like better. I don't see the same patience for say, Ozzie G....

cadarnell said:

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the fuzzy robe analogy is a good one ... I see your point. To me Lou is like a flat beer ... you still have pretty much the same taste, but no fizzy feeling in your mouth ... oh well, I'm not as good at analogies as you are ... uggggg

JulieDiCaro said:

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I feel protective of Lou, because I think he was given a terrible bullpen and a bunch of streaky hitters and was asked to perform miracles. Essentially, he was given the same team as last season and asked to come up with different results.

Dmband said:

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Hack-

I cant respond to indivdual comments...

I understand your frustration, I just dont know how much of an impact an owner can have in his or her first season. I think the Ricketts made it clear this year was going to be spent doing a lot of observing. I agree, the bottom line is winning, however I am of the belief that if an organization is truely running effectively, the owner would have little to no impact on the actual quality of play.

Thats what you pay a GM and manager for.

PsyMar1 said:

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Wait, the Cubs are still playing games this season? Why?

ChiTownHustler said:

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let's be real. cub fans aren't walking now and aren't walking anytime soon. as a sox fan, the one thing i admire about that other team is that they have built a mega-following and culture - unlike my team's fans that don't buy tickets except during the good times. i go to the cell about 15 times a year no matter what the team's record but for every one of guys like me there's a hundred on the north side.

JulieDiCaro said:

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yabbut i things FEEL different this season. Wil the fanbase walk out en masse? of course not. will it decrease enough to put a dent in our cash flow? almost certainly. it looks like it's already happening.

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