When Tom Ricketts took over the Cubs coming into the 2010 season, there was new-found hope throughout the entire Cubs fan base. A lifelong fan had bought the team. Surely a World Series was in the works.
Since then, all that's happened is more of the same. If Tom Ricketts (who admits he isn't "a baseball person") wants to bring a World Series trophy to the Cubs, he's going to have to shake things up.
Very few, if any, Cubs fans like Jim Hendry. Most of them cite his poor work as a GM, handicapping the team with monster contracts that all seem to have a no-trade clause.
What most don't realize is that he wasn't successful while being in charge of minor league development (unless you consider a corner infield combination of Kevin Orie and Julio Zuleta a success).
On the other hand, Cubs fans still love Greg Maddux, even if we did lose his prime years to Atlanta. Still, the man's one of the best baseball minds alive, and has said he's more interested in front office work than on-field duties.
Having played on one of the great dynasty teams of the last half-century in Atlanta, Maddux knows what it takes to build a winner. I have no doubt in his abilities to build a consistent winner without having to overpay for anyone who would be considered above-average or better.
Dallas Green was the mastermind behind the success of the Cubs in the 1980's, bringing us such stars as Gary Matthews, Rick Sutcliffe, Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Rafael Palmerio, Mark Grace and Shawon Dunston. Green would be the perfect compliment and mentor to Maddux in becoming a top-notch GM. And everyone always loves a little nostalgia.
While Rick Peterson may have the negative connotation for what happened during his tenure with the Mets, let us keep in mind that he was the pitching coach for the A's back when he helped develop Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito. Only Hudson has managed to find success since then. Manager Mike Quade was also the first base coach for this team, so they'd have a working relationship.
With Larry Rothschild being signed by the Yankees, and Peterson being left off the Brewers 2011 staff, this is an intriguing proposition. With the young arms set to arrive at Wrigley in the next couple years (Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Dae-Eun Rhee), Peterson could just be the guy to take them from prospects to dominant MLB starters.
It's a glaring vacancy, and the Cubs need to solve it. Adam Dunn isn't happening, so they'll have to look elsewhere. The Cubs need to decide if they're going to trade for Adrian Gonzalez (and lock him up to a long-term deal), or if Tyler Colvin and/or Aramis Ramirez are moving to first base. This decision really comes down to whether or not Tyler Colvin is in the Cubs' long-term plans.
With quality outfield prospects just waiting for their chance at the majors (Brett Jackson, Kyler Burke, Brandon Guyer, not to mention the over-abundance of infield prospects who could move to the outfield if need be), Colvin's future with the Cubs most likely looks to be at first base, or in a trade. If they do decide to move him to first base, look for it to be a platoon with Aramis Ramirez, with Marquez Smith taking over the hot corner. The move helps Colvin transition, helps Ramirez stay healthy, and gets Smith the chance he's earned at AAA.
The argument that people living in Wrigleyville don't like night games is no longer a viable excuse. The Cubs have been playing night games at Wrigley for roughly a quarter-century, and playing at Wrigley for over three-quarters of a century. By now, you either knew what you were getting into when you bought/rented in that area, or you're so oblivious, you probably won't even know why there's parking issues.
All the day games wear players out, and this move can't hurt at all. Nostalgia is nice for bringing someone back as an ambassador to the team, not wearing the players out in 90+ degree weather all summer.
Many teams have found success once they implemented a song to play after a home win, the most recent and probably dearest to Cubs fans hearts is the Blackhawks use of The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger."
During the 2008-09 playoffs, as opposed to having goal songs for each player, the Hawks started playing Chelsea Dagger as a symbolic way of saying that "it wasn't the same old song and dance" for the team any more. About 14 months later, the Blackhawks ended the NHL's longest championship drought when Patrick Kane made a one-in-a-million five-hole shot on Philadelphia's Brian Boucher. That night, I heard Chelsea Dagger more times in about 20 minutes driving around than I had for any month-long stretch.
The Cubs need to give up the pleasantry of "Go Cubs Go" and find something that'll let Cubs fans know this isn't the same old song and dance. You think Cubs fans like hearing Go Cubs Go in July? We'll take ANY victory song in late October, trust me.
Keeping the "Lovable Losers" nickname does nothing but make a failed season justifiable. An advertising campaign stating that the status quo and championship drought simply is not acceptable anymore may have backfire, but at least it'll fire up the team during rough streaks.
This one's simple: You don't produce, you don't play, regardless of how much you're making. No more of this "but he's making so much, we have to play him" thought process. Salaries are a sunk cost and therefore a lost cause. I have faith in Quade to put the best eight position players in the starting lineup for 162 games.
As we saw with Starlin Castro in 2009, sometimes the minor league option is better than the established MLB'er. The Cubs for once are overflowing with above-average-and-better minor league talent, so they can't go sign some veteran to a five-year deal when there's possibly a handful of better options only a year or two away. Major League Baseball seems to be on a youth movement in order to win championships, so, this bodes well for the beloved North Siders.
A division championship isn't good enough. A National League Pennant isn't enough. There's only one thing that can work, and that's a World Series championship. And after that? More of them. Cubs fans have waited for a World Series Title longer than more than half the teams in Major League Baseball have existed. Tom Ricketts can never be satisfied. He's going to have to keep fighting, keep trying new things, and always be working towards that next title.
If he does, he'll never have to buy himself a meal in Chicago again.