Crane Kenney Takes The Heat, Cubs Take Another PR Hit

Crane Kenney Takes The Heat, Cubs Take Another PR Hit

Cubs biz boss Crane Kenney took to the airwaves on Thursday and, like Lucy, he had some 'splaining to do.

He promptly visited the "Kap and Haugh Show" with his proverbial Cubs hat in hand.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had just publicly embarrassed the Cubs business side once again by saying the team had failed to clue him in on updated blueprints for renovating Wrigley Field. Was this just political cover to assure some that City Hall hadn't already cut a back room deal with the Cubs like many had assumed? Or was this truly another Cubbie occurrence? Some I spoke with feared the latter.

But Kenney said not to worry; the Cubs were already wheeling and dealing with the city to smooth over the gaffe and any proposals that may cause a hold up (expansion of outfield doors and ivy-covered outfield walls).

Kenney did, however, admit fault, saying "We need to do a better job of communicating our plans."

The June 5 hearing before the Landmarks Commision we were told about? Someone kind of forgot to invite the City it seems. Or did the Cubs just let the cat out of the bag without checking first with the mayor?

“This recent submission is not ready for next week,” Emanuel said. “They have work to do. There are things like the bullpen that nobody had ever seen before,” the mayor added.

Only the Cubs, only the Cubs.

The Cubs biz side is on quite a roll. Not the Kris Bryant kind of either. Cakes in dumpsters, Comiskey Park on Wrigley murals, no known progress on media deals, no money available for the front office.

The truth is there may be no deal-breaking issues here on this recent front; the City already agreed to mostly everything last year. They are probably becoming quite annoyed that the Cubs are always tinkering with this plan and wanted to embarrass them a little, make them publicly grovel.

Thursday was more than likely about Kenney taking the public hit for the Cubs for cockily sticking out their giant new foam middle finger to the Rooftop Association. Kenney and the word arrogance sometimes get mentioned together when I ask around.

The Cubs may come out of this one unscathed, at least with City Hall. But they have some real public perception problems. The Cubs very much appear to be completely out of touch and this is just another major PR blunder.

This bullpen/ivy issue? Some figure the city can't allow the landmark commission to appear meaningless; the bricks and ivy are protected. This should be an easy fix, as Kenney suggested.

I'm told Kenney is not the type to flinch when taking the heat, and that's likely what was going on here. Yet, that's not what Tom Ricketts needs now. He needs someone to get this stuff done without causing his organization more needless embarrassments.

Is Tom Ricketts getting antsy here? He likely should be. Does he need to pull a Theo-like hire on the business side? It may be a little late.


Yep, I've thought it too, What Would John McDonough Do?

All joking aside, just imagine for a moment if former Cubs president, and current Blackhawks boss, McDonough was still around. Hell, even Jay Blunk.

These kinds of gaffes wouldn't come close to happening. The Blackhawks run their organization almost flawlessly, with success on parallel fronts, on and off the ice.

Meanwhile, the Cubs business side continues to skate on thin ice.


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  • Crane Kenney has to go has been mentioned here and on other Cubs blogs for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday's groveling is only the latest indicator.

    Ricketts should have figured out by now that he needs the next John McDonough.

    Given all the flack the Bears front office deserves, at least they got the Soldier Field renovation done and stuck the taxpayers for a good chunk of it. Ricketts can't even figure that out. I wonder if he is going to hire Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe to defend the suit by the rooftop owners.

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    I wouldn't be surprised if Crane is taking the heat because he knows the Cubs are going to make a change in structure to the business side. Were something like that to happen, I don't think CK would be demoted, just repositioned and relieved from day-to-day operations, like the Bears did with Michael McCaskey.

    I mean, they need a "Theo Guy" in that position. This isn't what Theo signed on for and he is going into year four with no progress on either side of the organization. The best thing would be to have a unified business/baseball operations structure. In the current set up, I think, you have too many facets going in different directions at one time. Who would run a company like that?

    Lastly, they need Ricketts to become "the strong silent type" and stay in the background. That video reminded me of the scene in 'Oliver' where Oliver begs for more porridge. "More please. Please, more." Ugh.

    In the Blackhawks analogy, Bowman and McDonald work hand in hand, I think Bowman was probably even hired by McDonald. The Cubs need a similar structure.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    In any of these organizations, you have too many vice presidents, general managers, etc. Regardless of the reporting relationships, Sam Bowman is running the hockey operations.

    When Theo was hired, everyone said "at least Kenney is no longer involved in baseball operations." However, he is fouling up the business side, probably to the detriment of the baseball operations budget.

    Let's remember that with the BlackHawks, it essentially took Bill Wirtz dying and the rest of the family telling Rocky he could have it. Then Rocky had the good sense to bring in McDonough and the Bowmans. So, it still all ends at the top.

    The only advantage/disadvantage the old Cubs had was that "Tribune Company" was a fairly anonymous entity, as far as who was in charge of anything.

  • In reply to jack:

    Stan Bowman.

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    That's ok. I said McDonald. Doh.

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