Tom Ricketts (left) and Theo Epstein (right) at a Cubs game.
Of course, Ricketts didn’t specify what year they would win the World Series.
Though Ricketts wisely hedged his bets, it is a realistic expectation for the Cubs to win it all in the next 10 years. Ricketts has a clear vision for the club and has made decisions consistent with his vision.
That vision is simple: The Chicago Cubs will win and not be held back by their history.
The new framework for Wrigley Field’s renovations is the most obvious manifestation of his vision to move the Cubs forward. The same ESPN article reported that the historic hand-operated scoreboard would be replaced with an electronic board about three times its size.
Goodbye, history. Hello, revenue.
Likewise, the decision to have more night games in the Friendly Confines would be a departure from the way things are currently done for the sake of revenue.
Ricketts isn’t afraid to rock the boat. He sees change as the pathway to being a serious contender.
The Cubs owner described the move as a “need” in order to “generate the resources we need for our baseball operations to develop championship-caliber players.”
In other words, the Cubs' primary goal is to win championships. It’s not to keep everything in Chicago the same.
Championship teams need revenue, especially since there’s no salary cap in Major League Baseball. More money, more wins. Ask the New York Yankees. If the price of winning is some history, so be it.
The Yankees have played in several different stadiums during their history. They also have 27 World Series titles, and that’s a little more important to them than being able to say they’ve lost a lot of games in the same place. The Yankees just opened up a brand new Yankee Stadium in 2009. That’s right—they won the World Series that year.
Cubs fans may feel nervous about this—after all, the history at Wrigley is one of the most cherished parts of being a Cubs fan.
Why is it so cherished? Because the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
Ricketts knows that needs to change.
He isn’t even suggesting that Wrigley Field should go away. He just wants to update it. The stadium hemorrhages money; it costs $15 million annually for “basic repairs” (via ESPN).
Ricketts backed up his vision in other ways, too. He showed he was serious about a World Series when he brought Theo Epstein to Chicago.
Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have built a talented young roster. Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, Brett Jackson, Darwin Barney, Christian Villanueva, Jorge Soler, Travis Wood and Josh Vitters all have huge potential. They should develop into a formidable team in the next year or two.
If that squad lives up to expectations, it won’t take many moves to put them over the edge. Epstein did it with players like Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell in Boston.
So, expect the Cubs to compete for a World Series in the next 10 years.
It’s not that preposterous. Ricketts has a plan in place, and he’s a few years into its implementation. Building a talented young team from an overpaid old team takes time.
The changes to Wrigley are just another step.
After all, which would Cubs fans rather have: a World Series championship or the same old Wrigley Field?
To Ricketts, the choice is obvious. Cubs fans can trust that he’s doing his best to bring the former with as little change to the latter as possible.