Crossing the Streams: Does the End Justify the Means for the Cubs?

Crossing the Streams: Does the End Justify the Means for the Cubs?

When Tom Ricketts purchased the Chicago Cubs, he thought he was buying a perpetual-motion machine, a self-sustaining cash cow.  But with all the moving parts, bloviating business owners, and dead-end nonsense negotiations, it appears as though what he actually acquired is an entropic Rube Goldberg device.

And many fans feel as though they've been sold a bill of goods.  The goal of a consistently competitive team was, and still is, a worthy one, but there's not a spoon in the world big enough to hold all the sugar it would take help the losses go down.

I can't help but imagine the Ricketts' purchase of the team looking somewhat akin to the scene in Ghostbusters in which the protagonists are scouting locations for their new HQ.  But Ricketts didn't have Egon there to tell him: "I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone."

Pretty much nails it.  Well, other than the neighborhood part, though even that would have been true in the not-so-distant past.  And please don't feel that my use of a Ghostbusters reference follows too closely on the last one, and is thus a dereliction of whatever loose journalistic and/or literary duties I should attempt to uphold.  Given recent events, I think it's more than fitting.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...Tom Ricketts just slid right down the fireman's pole, due diligence be damned, and is now enjoying the blessings of owning a sports team in Chicago.

But are we all that much different as fans?  So enamored are we with our team that we routinely elevated newly-minted major leaguers to cult hero status before they've even had a cup of coffee.  We look not at what they really are, but what we desperately want and need them to be.

We're Ray Statz driving that old ambulance, smoking and sputtering, into the driveway.  Our team's not that bad, right.  Needs some suspension work and shocks. Brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end.  Oh, and a clean-up hitter.

In the movie, the firehouse and ECTO-1 came out looking pretty darn spiffy.  But this isn't Hollywood and you can't edit out the time, events, and effort of the rebuilding process.  We're sitting here and watching all the footage that is just going to end up on the cutting-room floor.

In other words, we're getting the full-on Editor's Cut at this point.  And the critical reaction, by and large has been: "Son of bitch! Shit!"

So what will it take to exorcise the spooks and specters of losing?  Well, just like the Ghostbusters, the Cubs are going to need to cross the streams.  But rather than combining the arcs from separate positron colliders, the Cubs need simply to align the efforts of both the baseball and business sides.

After all, the addition of a jumbotron, signage, and hotel are supposed to provide, say it with me...additional revenue streams.

Some have likened a Cubs World Series title to a sign of the coming apocalypse, as detailed by Vinz Clortho: "Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

Can the Epstoyer brain-trust combine with Crane Kenney and the business arm to make this work in the end?  I sure hope so, as the prospect of being roasted in the depths of a Slor isn't very appealing to me.

But in all seriousness, the Cubs are going to have to build positive momentum then start adding the kinds of veteran players whose presence on the field and in the clubhouse elevate the play of the young guys around them.  Tom's talked about it on this blog before and he's certainly not alone.

Perhaps the Cubs could have spent on the team on the field, could have thrown more money at the free agents to spare us all the recent doldrums of ineptitude.  But for those who have slogged through the ashes left from the dumpster fire of the last few seasons, it'll be well worth it when the phoenix finally rises.

So why did I just spend nearly 700 words, at times awkwardly shoe-horning movie quotes into the midst of my own words, just to say something many of you already know?  Well, because I kinda wanted too, though not out of selfish motives.  No, in my own twisted way, this was the best method I could think of to talk about the Cubs while also honoring the memory of a great entertainer.

Godspeed, Harold Ramis.  Your work brought joy to millions and will continue to do so.  Thank you.  I only hope the Cubs can follow the blueprint you set forth for us in the 80's.  Well, the blueprint of producing wildly successful results, not the one of making everyone laugh.


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  • As you note Egon is dead, and the mess looks like it is ready to be engulfed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Maybe they can put Ernie Hudson on third.

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    In reply to jack:

    I'm pretty sure Crane Kenney could play Walter Peck.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Maybe Tom Ricketts can play Sigourney Weaver's baby from Ghostbusters II.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    BTW, Phil can finish blowing up the Evanston-Wilmette Golf Course, and once the gophers are gone from there, Wrigley Field II could be built there. Reportedly, Todd Ricketts has an interest in that.

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    In reply to jack:

    It'll be interesting to see whether/how the other shoe drops with all that. If this rooftop thing isn't hashed out soon, Ricketts needs to make good on his threat. Wait, I didn't say that right. He needs to make his threat concrete and not just some amorphous bluff that no one believes. It'd be worth the leverage alone to put in a bid on a plot of land. I mean, Wrigley's going to have to go at some point, so making the threat real helps them out on two fronts: 1) immediate leverage in current negotiations; 2) prices on the land are better now than they're going to be and certainly better while Wrigley is still viable and their feet aren't being held to the fire.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    I thought we were talking Ghostbusters and Caddyshack here, but Rosemont was supposedly free. However, there are some resemblances between the Stay Puft Man and Brad Stephens.

  • But even with Egon telling them not to buy the building they still did. Not only did he tell them not to buy it because of the state it was in, but also later as they were leaving the bank he was telling them what a horrible mortgage they got.

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    In reply to Mikethoms:

    Right, damn, I should have included the mortgage info, which was ad-libbed in the movie I believe. Such a great movie on so many levels. I almost always pick up some nuance that I hadn't seen before. But the Ghostbusters overcame a bad building, debt, and crappy car. Well, until you look at what became of them in GB2.

  • I guess I need to re watch Ghostbusters. I didn't think it was a classic exactly. I was young last I saw it though.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Blasphemy! By all means, go get it and watch it again. So funny and lots of great ad lobbing and little understated bits. I remember going to see it in the theater and just being in awe. Of course, I couldn't understand much of the humor then. It's just as good now.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Ghostbusters I was classic (especially Bill Murray mugging). I wasn't as impressed by Ghostbusters II and the "Tom Ricketts in danger." angle.

    It is sort of similar to why, when coming to see The Blues Brothers, I couldn't figure out why people were maniacs driving out of the parking lot, until I saw it. However, other than the faulty premise that a parochial school owed real estate taxes, I found it highly riveting and realistic. Again, the sequel, being set in Toronto, didn't impress me.

  • BTW, nobody mentions the kidnapping of Moe Green. At least I remember it (from SCTV).

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