Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Ricketts Ignore My Advice and Go the Other Way

Yesterday, I had a brainstorm that I felt could really help the Ricketts family out in the public perception arena.  I don't have any vested interest in helping them out, but I'm a nice guy and if nothing else, the Ricketts seem like nice people, so what the hell.

Shockingly, the Ricketts chose not to take the advice of a random blogger to nominate a member of their family to sound like a typical sports-radio caller.  I get it.  I'm not offended.  I know it's a radical idea, but I'm convinced it would work.

Instead, the Ricketts kind of went the other way.  Their plan involved welcoming home a team that has gone 5-15 in their last twenty games, committed 94 errors on the season, allowed 77 unearned runs, and lost 29 one run games by serving them caviar in the clubhouse.

Needless to say, this has not played real well with Cubs fans.

One of my podcast partners, Julie DiCaro wrote a letter to the Ricketts on her site:

"Dear Tom Ricketts,

I understand your desire to make things "first class" up here on the North Side. However, what Cubs fans want is a FIRST-CLASS BALL CLUB. Not a first-class clubhouse, or first-class, bathrooms with first-class troughs, or even first-class food. We want a winning ballclub. Period. And frankly, rewarding a pathetic performance over the course of the season with a delicacy that most Chicagoans would never buy for themselves, especially in a recession, is not going to endear you or this team to anyone.

Stop with the gimmicks and focus on baseball, for crying out loud."

That sentiment pretty much summed up most of what I heard from the guys sitting behind me last night in Aisle 424 as news of the caviar spread in the stadium.  It also mirrored a lot of what I saw on Twitter.

But it isn't just us crazy bloggers and social media geeks that didn't like the caviar shtick. It also gave easy fodder to Paul Sullivan to poke fun at the organization in the Tribune:

"No one was blaming the caviar for the Cubs' 9-5 loss to the first-place Padres on Monday, but the mere idea of serving caviar to a fifth-place team that began the day 17 games out of first place was akin to the chairman of BP going yachting during the height of the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster."

And Gordon Wittenmyer also got in a couple of shots in the Sun-Times:

"With no champagne in sight this year, the Cubs were treated to a taste of caviar in the clubhouse kitchen Monday after their first series win of the month over the weekend...

... Then again, they might be looking at Spam and Cheese Whiz today after another collectively poor effort from the young pitchers the Cubs are hanging some of next year's hopes on."

But aside from the small minority of fans who get their information about the Cubs from major newspapers, sports talk radio, and blogs, I think it played really well.



Anonymous said...

You are such a good writer. I am really impressed with all you do.

I wonder if the cavier was some kind of protein boost?


Aisle 424 said...

Thanks, Sarah, that is very nice of you.

Sullivan does specifically mention the team nutritionist in his piece, though he doesn't say that the caviar was the nutritionist's idea.

I did a quick check of caviar's nutritional value for fun:

"Made of fish roe and salt, it is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, as well as protein, selenium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins B12, B6, B2, B44, C, A, and D. It also contains the amino acids arginine and histidine, as well as the essential amino acids lysine, isoleucine, and methionine. One tablespoon of caviar contains a gram of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. While it does contain many nutritional elements, it is quite high in sodium and cholesterol. Therefore, the recommended serving size is 30 to 50 grams per person."

It looks like it has some good qualities like the protein and vitamins and such, but also some bad things like the sodium and cholesterol. Of all the things in the world, I know the least about good nutrition, so if anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to share.

The funny thing is that I actually don't care at all that they had caviar served to them. They also drive Bentleys and Hummers, and live in really nice houses. They're almost all pretty rich. But the moment I heard about the caviar, I knew it was going to be a big deal with the fans.

It has such an elitist connotation that it was never going to be received well. Plus, it also sounds like Lou may have let the cat out of the bag unintentionally, so there wasn't much anyone could do to spin or control that story.

For his part, Lou played it off fairly well with a couple of jokes and Sullivan mentions that most of the players didn't really touch the stuff, but it is something that can resonate with fans as part of what is wrong with this team and with the owners.

JoePepitone said...

Great Citizen Kane film clip. I especially like that it is looped so seamlessly that I can't tell where the beginning/end is. Quality multimedia blog this is.

Aisle 424 said...

Thanks Joe, but I can't take credit for the clapping GIF. I've seen it over at Another Cubs Blog a few times, but I got it off a website that was sharing the code for a bunch of different looped clapping GIFs.

I wanted to get a clip of the Sarcastic Clapping Family of South Hampton from SNL, but I couldn't find anything but a grainy version on Youtube that was pretty crappy.

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