Not all Cubs fans are prepared for rebuilding

They are out there, the doubters and disbelievers are out there people.

I knew they were however, I ran into a really pissed off Cubs fan today that caught me off guard.

I was at my Starbuck’s this morning per my morning ritual and I couldn’t help overhear a rant from the man who claimed he has swore off the Cubs for good.

Really? Now is the time for that?

I could see it if the Cubs had brought back the same old after the last two years, but they didn’t. They reached pretty high up the baseball ladder to fix this thing.

I can’t usually help myself from interjecting myself into a Cubs conversation, so I did. I had to ask if he really had such little faith in Theo Epstein or this front office.

I then got an earful about this ownership being tea party affiliates and how he wishes Mark Cuban had gotten the team. Then he went on about how Theo was lucky to inherit a 91-win team in Boston and then left the team a mess.

I reasoned that Joe Rickett's politics really don’t matter on the baseball end of things, and that Theo, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod were very responsible for building the second Boston championship team. Then I let him in on how quickly Jed and Jason rebuilt the San Diego farm system right up to the top.

I was stonewalled for the most part. It was just an angry Cubs fan that had seen enough and thought Theo was going to turn this thing around quickly. It was a lost cause on my part.

Now I know there are plenty of places to find these angry and uninformed Cubs fans like neighborhood bars, WGN post game show callers, and plenty of mother’s basements.

This wasn’t one of those fans; he was just a disenchanted Cubs fan hanging out at the Edgebrook Starbucks. I just found it surprising to run into one like this, one who seemed informed enough.

At that point I gave up, because I’ve grown weary of people preaching to me how long this is going to take myself. I couldn’t really ask a Cubs fan to have any more patience could I?

Right before he left he shrugged and said one last thing. “Well maybe it will take a couple of years”.

There it was, he was back just like that. Spoken like a true Cubs fan.

 

 

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  • I think part of it has to do with the expectations that were built in the past decade with Dusty and Lou. Afterall, we were once called the "lovable losers;" both Dusty and Lou changed all that.

    I admit to getting caught up in the excitement, especially after seeing how they were playing early, when they could've easily won a few more games had Marmol and Woody not imploded. This team, though not talent laden, is playing solid aggressive baseball -- which I like.

    But with the past decade, and now with Theo, Jed, and Jason running the FO, one can't help but feel the excitement -- and having great expectations, especially with the results they got in Boston.

    It's tough to swallow, but with some of the shrewd moves made, in particular DeJesus, I can't wait to see what happens in the next couple of years. I think Dale is doing a great job, given the talent he has. I honestly think within the next few years, we will see a perennial contender, and even the elusive WS.

    But then again, there's always the caveat: Wait 'til next year.

  • I'd show you email threads of the conversations I've had with a buddy of mine that would make that guy look nice. He was pissed that we didn't go hard at guys like Pujols, Fielder, CJ Wilson, or Darvish. The trades and acquisitions were even worse to him.

    There are fans and then there are Fans. I think for the most part the readers on here are fans that understand what it takes as oppose to the fans that were looking for a quick band-aid fix down the same old mess from the previous owners.

    I don't like the losing streak, but when you really don't have a power threat in the heart of you batting order, you have to find other ways to create runs, which is pretty much what they've been doing this year.

  • I mean the losing isn't any less painful because it's in the long term interest of the club. I don't agree with the fan you confronted, but I do empathize.

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    tom this guy sounds like the crazy fan off major league 2, i could invision the guy wearing a shirt with a cubs logo circled and crossed out drinking his starbucks coffee while he rants

  • That is the thing though Bryan, he didn't fit that profile. That is what shocked me at first, but then he said those magic words that made me knew he wasn't through just yet.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Good read, Tom. This losing gets us Fans sideways at times. Hope springs eternal. He may have needed a fellow Cub Fan to reset his attitude. I do empathize with his frustration at losing.

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    In reply to Greg Shuey:

    I don't think anyone could reset his attitude in this moment. I understand the sentiment of having to endure another bad time in a year that they are already out of the running of an expanded playoff field. Though true fans now see a bright shiny light at the end of the tunnel with a competent front office now in charge.

    Those screaming the loudest now are the band-wagoners continuing to fall off as the team scuffles. Figure several jumped back on when the Cubs hired the Theo trio and are now back into their dismayed state of view when watching Cubs games. Those aren't the Cubs fans as a whole but just a small subsection of them who will be claiming they supported them all along when this team is competing again.

    Personally I would be fine with being the worst team in baseball this season to get that top pick next and the highest pool of money for the draft. Take a page from the Rays and build that farm system with top picks though backing that with a top 10 payroll that the Rays don't have. That also gets the team closer to being able to renegotiate the TV deals to be able to dump even more money into the team.

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    Tom, I wish I has been there to give him a lecture on both politics and baseball, not that he would have listened, but here is some truth for anyone to ignorant of both games to see what was really going on.

    First off, let me state once again for the record that I am as fundamentally opposed to corporate welfare as I am social welfare, and make no doubt, with few exceptions, these stadium deals are just that. The taxpayers, in almost all cases, get screwed.

    Second, if it wasn't for the insane rules and regulation that have been thrown up around that ballpark to make sure that the bureaucrats and politicians have to be bribed and their preferred contractors and the unions get their cut, all of which doubles and triple the cost of building anything in Chicago, the Ricketts wouldn't have to be jumping through so many hoops, and they probably could just pay for it all themselves.

    What is actually going on here is the Ricketts family got caught playing both side of the fence. They're not stupid. They didn't get as wealthy as they are by being stupid. Joe Ricketts is a first generation billionaire, which means, unlike the Kennedy's, he earned it. He, and you can be sure he made sure his kids did too, know the lay of the land to include the financial condition of the People's Republic of Chicago and the People's Republic of Illinois.

    The state and the city couldn't get any more broke if they tried. Next to California, Illinois has the least business friendly climate in the country. That giant sucking sound you Illini, and Chicagoans in particular, keep hearing is businesses throwing up their hands in frustration and either closing or leaving if they have that choice. All this means that the money will have to come from the nation at large, which means I'll being paying for it too, even though I don't live in Illinois any longer.

    There is a Presidential election coming up. How could any of us forget with the Communist News Network and the Fascist News Channel reminding us 24/7. The outcome of that election is very much in doubt. So the Ricketts attempted to curry favor with both sides. Tom and his siblings, who actually own the team and live in Chicago, curry favor with the Communists, better known as Democrats, since they actually run the city and state. Joe attempts to curry favor the the Fascists, better known as Republicans, just in case the guy who ends up writing the checks changes. Joe, technically has nothing to do with the Cubs, giving Tom and his siblings plausible deniablity in case it did go public, which it did.

    There could be another angle to this as well. Again, old Joe Ricketts isn't stupid and neither are his kids. They may have concluded that the business climate in Illinois and Chicago is so bad and the hoops and bribes to get Wrigley fixed so expensive that it just isn't worth doing, and they may be looking for a way out, and they may have allowed this whole thing to leak in order to get the cover they need to move the team, and they wouldn't have to move it that far.

    East Chicago offered to give the team the land to build a new stadium as well as breaks on property and sales taxes to be part of it's downtown renovation when the team was being sold, and Indiana, which unlike Illinois balances its budget and runs surpluses, is very business friendly in terms of taxes and regulations. The state would probably make the same low interest loans to the Ricketts that they made to the Irsays for the Colts and the Simons for the Pacers. Other than the land and a sweet interest rate, the Colts and Pacers weren't given anything. Also, old Joe is personal friends with Governor Daniels from what I hear.

    Leaving the unfriendly confines of Illinois would make a lot of sense on a lot of different levels. A new Wrigley could be built that would include the best of the old and still have all the new amenities. Only there wouldn't be the hassles and extra expenses that come with being in Wrigleyville, Chicago and Illinois.

    Finally, unlike the White Sox, which have a purely metropolitan fan base, the Cubs are a much more regional team. At any given game in Wrigley, as many as half the tickets sold are to people from outside the immediate metropolitan area, especially when school is out. People from all over come to Chicago on vacation with their families and make the Cubs and Wrigley part of that vacation. Those people will still do that. They'd just be going to Indiana to see the game instead. As for the old Wrigley, it can be turned into a museum or whatever else the city and the residents of Wrigleyville wish to do with it.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Of Tom, you pretty much summed up the baseball side of this argument for that idiot. So why bother doing it here?

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think the Cubs would have trouble selling tickets in Indiana. The Cubs get the vacation people because they're in Chicago and at Wrigley. People want to see the historic ballpark. They want to experience the neighborhood ambiance (which is largely fake at this point, much as it is outside Fenway, but visitors don't know any better). And lastly, they want to see the Cubs - especially now, when the product is subpar. Move to Indiana and you lose Chicago, Wrigley and the neighborhood. I don't think the tax difference could possibly be enough to overcome the damage to the Cubs brand that would come from those three changes.

    Secondly, Joe Ricketts *was* stupid, from a Cubs perspective. There are plenty of ways to curry favor with Repubs that don't involve such a high-profile, charged attack on the president. From Joe's perspective, he probably isn't too worried about the Cubs. He's not a fan. It's not a significant part of his personal holdings. And he's an old guy who's made his, so he can afford to indulge in his personal politics. Tom Ricketts, on the other hand, is very focused on the Cubs and can't afford that sort of faux pas. I have no idea what Tom's personal politics are. His Dad's hard core right, and his sister's a big Obama supporter, so he could be anywhere on that spectrum, or even apolitical. But any large business owner *has* to work with local government, particularly one that deals directly with the public and, by extension, all of the safety considerations, licenses and so on that go with that, to say nothing of occupying a historic building. Furthermore, if the Ricketts family only cared about the Cubs, they would be working against a Republican presidency. Chicago's a democratic town and a Republican administration is not going to go out of its way to do anything that could be viewed as helping out Rahm Emmanuel. And stadium funding is going to be decided on the city and maybe state level.

    Finally, there's no way that any owner who can manage it is going to privately fund a stadium. Indiana would have to build a state of the art facility with 100% public money to get the Cubs to even consider moving. Very few stadiums get built anywhere with exclusively public money. And yeah, from a pure economic standpoint, these are almost always bad deals for the taxpayers. The same goes for the incentives that every single city and state in the country offers to attract businesses. They hardly ever pay for themselves. But odds are that Tom Ricketts will, in the end, get some kind of deal to refurbish Wrigley. If anything, as taxpayers, we should thank Joe Ricketts because he probably just made the eventual deal more costly for the Cubs and less costly for us.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Typo: That last paragraph should say "Very few stadiums get built anywhere with exclusively *public* money." Sorry.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Private money. Lord I can't type today.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Don't feel bad you aren't the only one.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Kevin, the location won't matter if the Ricketts and Team Theo put a winner on the field, and going to Indiana wouldn't be like the Dodgers moving to LA. Personally, I've thought for a while that Wrigley Field and day baseball actually were factors in holding the Cubs back, though I think incompetent owners and front offices were more responsible.

    You are wrong about the final say on Wrigley lying with the city and state. They're broke. So whatever they promise the Ricketts, they will have to beg Mordor on the Potomac for. Of course, they actually have to request the funds.

    Were their better ways for ole Joe to curry favor with the fascists? Perhaps if that were his real intent all along, but this could have just as easily been subterfuge for something else. Being able to say that the Cubs are being punished for Joe's exercise of his First Amendment rights in case the Politburo in the People's Republic and Chicagograd won't play along, gives them cover to move to a much more business friendly environment.

    What is the cost of renovating Wrigley, with all the extra expenses because of bribes, payoffs and kickbacks versus a new stadium where you don't have to go through all that is the real question. I doubt Indiana would have to come up with 100% of the money to build a state of the art baseball facility. East Chicago would give them the land along with sales and property tax breaks. That's worth a lot right there, and the state would probably be willing to do what it did for the Colts and Pacers, which is act as a loan guarantor.

    It's the Cubs who hold the cards. If the Cubs wanted to move, how would the city and state stop such a move without acting in dictatorial ways. The state, city and the businesses of Wrigleyville would suffer the most if the Cubs left. Just the threat of such a thing might be enough to get the city and state to cave and give the Cubs what they want, which is more ways to get revenue out of an aging ballpark to include more night games, and that may be the end game here.

    Don't be surprised if the Ricketts don't, at the very least, threaten to move the team as a way to regain leverage, because short of deploying the CPD, the ISP and the ING around Wrigley Field to keep the Cubs from moving, there isn't a thing the city or the state could really do to stop it. They could sue in Federal Court, but given the balance of the court, it's doubtful they'd win.

    Moving would actually be the best thing that could happen to Cubs fans who are real baseball fans. The big summer long parties would be over. Ownership would be forced into putting a consistent contender on the field, and doing so would probably make the team even more profitable in the long run.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think we just disagree on some of these items. The state/city can still help finance the stadium by creating/dedicating an amusement tax, offering tax rebates to the Cubs, using Rahm's new infrastructure bank, all kinds of things that don't require going to the feds. I haven't studied stadium financing explicitly, but I'm not aware of any cases where the majority of the funding came from the federal level. I think that would be pretty unusual though. If someone knows of some specific cases, I'd love to hear about them for my own research (I've done some work on civic real estate policy).

    I suppose if they're deliberately trying to provoke Rahm and the city government, then Joe Ricketts efforts are not a bad starting point. I really don't think that's the case though. However, I would not be surprised either if Tom Ricketts mentioned the possibility of moving the club out of Chicago in some direction if negotiations with the city become publicly acrimonious. Every business that wants a government handout threatens to move (see Sears, Boeing, CBOE, etc., etc., etc.). Then it's all about how willing the city is to call the bluff. Historically, politicians give in to those threats, so it's a fair bet the city will give in to the Cubs in the end.

    Essentially, I believe moving would significantly damage the Cubs brand, which would, in turn, make them less profitable. There's no real way to tell whether that's true, but I think we'll see that Tom Ricketts agrees and no serious effort to move the Cubs will take place.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    In this case, it would have to come from Mordor on the Potomac. They're broke too, but at least, they have a printing press. You are right. In the past, funds for stadiums have not come from that source, but then a lot of the things the Federal Government shouldn't be doing, both corporate and social welfare, it does. I'm sure they could find a way to use stimulus money to do it. In the end, Big Brother does what it wants.

    Also, East Chicago was not the only place to offer the Cubs land. Schaumburg did as well, but Shaumburg could never happen without the City and State signing off on it. They;'d have to move to Indiana for the threat to be real.

  • Well, I would lecture you Tom about talking to people in Starbucks. I would ask why you're even in a Starbucks, their coffee is way too acidic. Plus they started that awful trend of having the "tip" jar by the register. And they're overpriced. And the owner of Starbucks stripped Seattle of the Supersonics.....but I let it go because they're on every other corner and routines are routines. But for the love of God, whay are you talking to people inside Starbucks? Between the mom on her cell phone while her sugared up kids are running into your shins, to the failed screenwriter who sits in the comfy chairs for 5-6 hours cacking away on his laptop, the people in Starbucks are soul suckers. Like Deatheaters in harry Potter films. You really need to be more cautious.

    But I will commend you on your restraint. I usually react the other way. Anytime someone tells me "they're done." or they're quitting the Cubs, I always reply "You promise?" and "Thank God." The odds are totally in your favor that you're getting rid of an assbag that's soiling the Cubs fan reputation ( or in some cases, confirming it.....). It's not ike they'll be back once the team is winning. There's no locks on the doors here folks. And since nobody wants to here someone bitch over and over again....by all means quit the Cubs. I'll help pay for your first White Sox hat.....

    I guess the lesson here is that Loxas needs to find a Dunkin Donuts in Edgebrook. Pretty sure there's one on Devon....

  • In reply to felzz:

    I know I shouldn't talk Cubs in a Starbucks but hey I'm there every morning and sometimes can't help myself. I like DD too Felzz, but also love me some latte and I have lactose issues and SB has soy.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Too funny Felzz.

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    In reply to felzz:

    Now I know why I've been craving donuts so much lately. It's that damned mind meld thing you did again.

  • Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    So you were talking to an insane person. At a Starbucks.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Yeah this isn't my typical post but I thought it was worth sharing since he really didn't seem insane, just frustrated. He gave in at the end though :)

  • All teams have all kinds of fans; some are pretty knowledgeable and some are not, some are assholes and some are nice, some have an agenda and others are openminded, some are frustrated and need to vent, but the best thing about this site is that most are knowledgeable, nice, openminded and true Cub fans. It is not always easy to be a fan and many may just be frontrunners. Interesting reading once again.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Thanks Slug and agreed that this board gets it, now the Cubs fan base is unique in the fact that they are starved and still mostly loyal. I just thought it was interesting that someone would want to give up at this time with this front office.

  • Tom, hats off to you for stepping in there. And beyond that, I would like to thank you and John for being two of the few voices of reason in the Chicago sports media. There are too many Steve Rosenblooms and people like the one you met in Edgebrook spouting acerbic pessimism and impatience. It is heartening to know that you guys are out there providing reasoned, insightful analysis with a touch of cautious optimism thrown in - unlike the Starbucks fan, I'm not ready to sweat off the Cubs; I am one Rosenbloom rant away from swearing off the Tribune (except Rogers, I guess). Once again, thanks!

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Your welcome! Thanks for the kind words about our blog!

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Thank you, John and I are ready to take over their space in the Tribune at any time :)

  • Tom, thanks for your post, I was actually thinking that I was reading a good book and then I realized where I was. I was about to run a bubble bath and pour a glass of wine and then I remembered that I was going to the game tonight. Darnit! Once again I was foiled with a good story that was ruined by my hopes that it would end with a Cubs winning the World Series folly. Nice post indeed, keep them coming ;)

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    We are Cub fans. It's in our nature to be subjective and mostly argumentative. Let down again and again. We've been forced to latch on to several players who are stars on mediocre teams but live to watch them shine while the other 8 underachieve. We need to loose that mentality and have faith in a new approach and idealism of baseball genious that has a proven track record of success.

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