Paul Sullivan recently wrote an article about the Chicago Cubs possibly needing to trade away some of their higher-priced players because the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the Ricketts family particularly hard. The article was full of the typical media claptrap that caters to a Ricketts family that loves to get positive press. The actual content of the article matters very little next to the general idea of the Cubs being so strapped for cash that they must move salary.
That idea has been put forth by the Ricketts’ for two offseasons now. It’s an idea that isn’t going away it seems, no matter how much the facts may reveal it as a lie. When the MLB season is underway and the MLB machine is in full swing the Cubs run like the smoothest part of that machine. The Ricketts’ find themselves with a franchise that is a gold mine in every sense of the phrase. The Cubs are always at or near the top of ticket sales, ad revenue, merchandise sold, endorsements, and so on and so forth. Wrigleyville has become a way for the Ricketts’ to use the Cubs to print money. That is exactly what they have done by renovating the area, forcing out most of the other business interests, and monopolizing every cent of profit that can be made from the neighborhood directly surrounding Wrigley Field.
Before we go any further keep two numbers in mind; $3.2 billion and $5.3 billion. The former is the value of the Cubs as a franchise while the latter is the value of the Ricketts’ family as a whole. We’re not talking hundreds of millions or even just a few billion when we are discussing the riches of the Cubs and the Ricketts’. Nope, we’re talking about amounts north of $5 billion. Let that sink in for a moment and make sure you remember it because it is most important to everything you’re about to read.
The various news reports that have leaked the past few years bemoaning how cash strapped the Ricketts’, and by extension the Cubs, are can be summarized as flat out lies. They are the work of reporters either not doing their jobs by adequately disseminating the information given to them or they are the work of reporters who really like carrying water for the Ricketts’. There is no report published about the Ricketts’ that paints them as being short on money that is either accurate or honest.
It is true that the Ricketts’ may lose money on the 2020 season. They have invested heavily in Wrigleyville and they may not see a drop of income from that area this year. If that were the case every year in perpetuity we’d be able to have an honest conversation about how cash strapped the Ricketts’ are, in like three hundred years. However, the facts are that even now during a pandemic the Ricketts’ are one of the lucky folks who are continuing to turn a profit. Their businesses are still making money, their investments are still doing well, and they have no cash problem. The Cubs may not be bringing them in money right now, but the Cubs are only one half of the Ricketts’ money equation, the Ricketts’ themselves are the other half.
If no MLB season is played in 2020 the Ricketts’ are most likely looking at a net worth that at worst stays stagnant and at best only grows by a small amount as opposed to a large amount. That’s the problem with carrying water for ownership and not actually disseminating the information they put out to reporters and the public. Instead of the truth- the Ricketts’ are doing fine- we get the Ricketts’ version- please help us our crops are dying. No, the Ricketts’ are not in any financial doom and gloom situation, they are in reality doing just fine and will continue to be fine for hundreds of years.
As we come to the end you’ll notice there hasn’t been nary a mention of the money that would be saved by trading away the Cubs higher paid players. That’s because the savings would be negligible and don’t actually matter. The Ricketts’ want the public to think they are poor and to focus on how to save their beloved team some money. What the Ricketts’ don’t want is for fans to realize that the Ricketts’ only care about money and profit. The Cubs could lose every year for the next twenty and the Ricketts’ would keep counting their profits and smile the whole time. The Ricketts’ don’t need saving and they don’t need anyone to carry their water. What they need is to be held accountable for their unwillingness to spend what they can on the ballclub and for their constant manipulations of the press and public to try and get every single penny of profit from the name Chicago Cubs that they possibly can.