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Letter from Tom Ricketts to you
Here's a translation of Tommy's email yesterday to season ticket holders
Season Ticket Holder News
August 02, 2021
Building the Next Great Cubs Team
The past week has been extremely hard for everyone, especially our team and our fans. You should see Jed. He’s exhausted. I mean, it was a Monday and he’s supposed to hose down the troughs and the poor little guy could barely hold the hose. It's impossible to properly prepare for parting with players who personify what it means to be a Cub. They are literally baby bears. At least that’s what we tell the good folks at the Affordable Care Act. You don’t have to pay the $3,800 per employee opt out for veterinary services. While we believe the decisions we took were right for our organization, they were nonetheless difficult to make. It came down to a really tough decision. Should we hang on to core players who are highly paid and would all require raises to keep, or do we trade them for very poorly paid players in the low minors? We struggled with that decision for seconds.
For nearly a decade, we've had the joy of watching Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez and Kris Bryant set franchise records, win countless awards and become World Series champions and amazing ambassadors for our franchise and city. “Countless awards.” We literally don’t know how many because we put Todd in charge of counting them. The three players I mentioned before are likely three of your favorite Cubs of all-time, and we know how difficult it can be to see your heroes go. That’s why for a limited time only, we are offering bobbleheads of all three players from our Team Store for just 25% above the normal retail price. Buy all three and you can gaze at ‘Riz’, ‘KB’ and ‘El Mago’ as much as you’d like. Their individual and collective contributions to our organization cannot be overstated. They are forever etched in Cubs history and the hearts of our fans. And speaking of etched in history, we still have a few copies of Julianna Zobrist’s “hit” single, “Alive” in the gift shop. We had 45s made on gold vinyl, and I have to admit, we may have over ordered. So check that out, while you’re snagging a bobble or three. Proceeds from the single go to, well, to us, the Cubs. And maybe some to Juliana’s pastor. I met him once. Very impressive guy.
Keeping our core together as long as we did helped create one of the most successful eras of Cubs baseball. I mean, come on, we acquired Chris Coghlan TWICE! It wasn’t free either time. It wasn't without a price, as we traded several promising prospects from 2016-20 in our quest to win another World Series. Promising prospects we traded during those five seasons include Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez and…nope, that’s it. One of the advantages of our disappointing farm system is that it was impossible to lose too many good prospects. Over the past few weeks, it became clear it was time to make decisions focused on our future not our past; however, we do not regret pouring everything we had into keeping this championship window open as long as possible. We regret nothing! We don’t regret annually lowering our player salary budget so that Theo and Jed had to start signing veteran reclamation projects like Brad Brach, Daniel Descalso, Tim Federowicz, Mike Freeman, Carlos Gonzalez (remember that?), Tony Kemp, Derrek Holland, Donnie Murphy, Stephen Souza Jr., Josh Phegley and Jose Martinez in lieu of actual depth like we had in 2015 and 2016. But hey, remember that time I personally OK’d the trade for Nick Castellanos, he was really good, the fans loved him, he wanted to stay and we didn’t re-sign him? That was fun.
As David Ross said, the greatest legacy of Anthony, Javy and Kris is they were part of a team that raised expectations. Nobody is more eloquent than our manager, a guy who attended and didn’t graduate from two SEC schools and who led the league in concussions for much of his 15 year big league career. Cubs fans are no longer content with merely making the playoffs. We know you aren’t happy with going to the playoffs and not winning, so we’re going to give you a nice long break from that frustration. As we reset our team, please know we share your higher expectations. We want to make sure that the next time the Cubs are in the playoffs, we are ready to win and we’re willing to wait another 108 years if that’s what it takes! With five postseason appearances in the last six years, including reaching the NLCS three times and our historic World Series championship, sustainable on-field success is the new standard. And that new standard applies to the prices we charge for tickets, concessions and will be reflected in an exciting new feature we’re rolling out this month, pay toilets in the ballpark brought to you by Sloan. “If you’re not paying to pee, you’re probably at risk of catching a social disease. That’s our promise to you.”
We're focused on replenishing our farm system and reloading our roster to build our next great Cubs team. Thanks to Major League Baseball’s contraction of many minor league teams and leagues (something we wholeheartedly support) it’s never been harder to effectively stockpile young talent, so of course, that’s our new plan. The recent addition of several young, high-ceiling players, (You should see the ceiling on Nick Madrigal, it’s way up there. It helps of course that he’s 4’7, and he stays so close to the floor.) a highly effective player development system (Have I mentioned our pitch lab? Remember how great our bullpen was earlier in the season? That success was in large part due to the pitch lab, and the fact that it all went to hell at exactly the same time that MLB started checking for pitchers using sticky substances is just a coincidence.) and additional financial resources underpin our position of strength. (My pledge to you is that we’re going to roll all of the profits from the Marquee Sports Network right into the team payroll. If we ever have any. Until then, we’ll be deducting the losses from the payroll. I mean, fair is fair.)
Your support is critical to our success, (Please don’t cancel your season tickets. We don’t have much of a waiting list these days.) and I want to thank you for your incredible loyalty now and through the years. (You’ve seen bad Cubs’ teams before. Watching the club struggle is something you’re good at!) During a season without fans due to COVID-19, you remained committed to our team, and you helped bring life and magic back to the Friendly Confines this year. (Did I mention we didn’t have any ticket revenue last year? I didn’t? Well, we didn’t. We also didn’t have any regular game day expenses, but we’re not going to bore you with those financials.) You were extremely patient as we worked to build a championship roster and restore Wrigley Field. (Remember the season when the bleachers were closed to start the season? Man, that was some shit, wasn’t it? You got through that hardship, how bad can it be to watch David Bote get picked off to end a game or two by comparison?) You believed in our plan to win and trusted us
to deliver on our commitment to play championship baseball in the greatest ballpark in America. (And we took that commitment very seriously, for a while.) We did, and I assure you, we will do it again soon. (And if it turns out that we never get around to trying hard to win again, well, maybe your dad should start a billion dollar business in his kitchen and then buy you the Cubs!)
We understand it might take a little time to process these changes as we integrate new players into our already talented roster. (I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch your favorite team just give up. I mean, I’ve never really cared for sports.) If the past tells us anything, watching a remarkable team come together is extremely exciting and rewarding, especially when everyone is aligned on the goal of winning the World Series. (And, if history tells us anything it’s that we can’t be trusted, at all. So you’ve got that going for you.) Highly anticipated call-ups. (We’re already planning on the best ways to manipulate Brennen Davis’ service time!) Wrigley Field debuts. (Good tickets are still available for our next home game, Friday against the White Sox when you might see the Cubs’ home debut of future star Johneshwy Fargas, and the White Sox Wrigley debut of Craig Kimbrel!) Immediate big-league impact. (Remember when Kris Bryant struck out three times in his first game? What a loser.) It's all part of what makes our game so special. (There’s literally nothing better than a gritty, scrappy, young team playing their little hearts out for the league minimum.) We're grateful for the chance to share in that joy and journey together again. (We value you, and your money. Mostly your money.)
Sincerely, (I haven’t actually been sincere for decades.)