Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bud Doesn't Want the Cubs to Have Nice Things

I expect Jerry Reinsdorf to be a hypocritical dick.  Afterall, it's been 22 years since he threatened to move the White Sox to St. Petersburg in order to force the state to come up with public money to pay for his new Comiskey Park.  Hardly anyone even remembers that he even went so far as to have St. Petersburg build a domed stadium for the Sox that was left to house exciting (and surely lucrative) monster truck rallies and other nonsense for years until the Tampa area got their own team.  He always cried a little as he wrote out checks to Michael Jordan that were well under market value and he practically destroyed baseball out of greed in 1994.  Of course he's against having a "Cubs Tax" tacked onto his teams' spring training tickets. I would expect nothing less from him.

I expect the owners of the other teams training in Arizona to be similarly irked about it and say so.  Nevermind that they would sell far fewer tickets per year if the Cubs were training across the country.  It is natural to not like having a tax levied on your product when you had no say in the matter.  We started a whole new country on that very idea.

I even expect Bud Selig to be a mealy-mouthed weasel in the hours in which he is awake, but he has somehow managed to surprise me with his latest back-tracking on where the Cubs train in the future,

If you remember, the Ricketts had hardly finished signing the documents completing the transfer from the Tribune when they made sounds about how they wanted to move the Cubs Spring Training facility to Naples, Florida.  They had a pretty sweet deal in the works that would have allowed them to create and profit from a mini-Wrigleyville while the team got in shape at a state-of-the-art training facility.  Cubs fans, a group that doesn't like change much when it comes to playing night games, having games televised on higher-revenue cable channels, putting advertising somewhere in Wrigley, or anything that would make it easier to win a World Series, were upset about it.

At the Cubs Convention, it was rare to have someone dressed in a Theriot jersey approach a microphone and not somehow work the Cubs staying in Mesa into their question: "Um... Lou?  Do you think that Starlin Castro will be able to perform well enough in spring training in MESA, ARIZONA to move Theriot to second base?"

"Mr. Ricketts, I have a concern about ticket prices because since they keep going up, I find it harder to be able to afford a vacation to MESA, ARIZONA to see the Cubbies stretch on the outfield grass during Spring Training."

"This question is for Jeff Samardzija.  How do you keep your flowing locks so shiny and bouncy?  Is it something they have in the water in MESA, ARIZONA WHERE THE CUBS SHOULD ALWAYS TRAIN FOREVER AND EVER SO BE IT?"


The days looked dark as the Ricketts appeared ready to yank out our still-beating hearts and whack them off of practice tees in Naples.  Then, when it seemed like there was no hope at all, a knight in shining armor and a red necktie came to our rescue: Bud Selig said it was his preference that the Cubs would stay in MESA, ARIZONA!!!  Oh happy day!

Cubs fans rejoiced!  Nothing was changing!  We can go to the same restaurants and stay in the same hotels we have every year!  "Bud is great!  Gave us the chocolate cake status quo!"

Now Bud doesn't want the money to be raised by adding a dollar or two to ticket prices of other teams training in Arizona.  How exactly did he think Mesa would come up with the money to able to afford the Cubs staying in Arizona otherwise?  I've been to Mesa.  That town isn't raising $84 million any other way.  Scottsdale might be able to figure out a way to tax the hell out of their upper-class population and Tempe could probably whore out the ASU co-eds to raise the money, but Mesa can not.  The money almost had to come from the fans that flock from all over the country to see spring training in Arizona.

Maybe Selig wants the Cubs to keep training in their dumpy facilities because keeping the Cubs from winning the World Series is good for the game of baseball.  If the Cubs reach the top of the mountain, the baseball story loses its tragic hero.  As the Baseball Gods themselves once told me, nothing beats a good Will They/Won't They storyline to really keep people interested. I can't think of any other reason why Selig would practically force the Ricketts to stay in Arizona and then try to prevent them from completing the monetary side of the deal that would make it possible.

It makes less sense than having home field advantage in the World Series decided by an exhibition game played by winners of a popularity contest.


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