Friday, October 8, 2010

Ricketts Letter: 2010 Review - It Wasn't All Shitty!

Tom Ricketts opened telling us how important Cubs fans are to the team, so now that we are still basking in the warm embrace of our new fan-friendly owners, it's as good a time as any to slap us in the face with the cold, hard reality of the:

2010 Review

The 2010 season was a disappointment for all at the major league level-for my family, for the organization, for the players and for the fans. The team showed signs of its potential the last quarter of the season, but the 75-87 record fell well short of our goals. My family is committed to winning a World Series and though it may not be entirely evident from this year's performance, there are encouraging signs.

Well that sure doesn't sound like the season was as big of a cluster-fuck death march as I thought it was.  Maybe I'm all turned around about the Cubs. Maybe I'll get a DVD to commemorate such a successful season:

Oh... right...
(h/t The Heckler)

If the potential of this team was shown by lots of playing time for Koyie Hill, Darwin Barney, Bobby Scales, and Micah Hoffpauir, I'm not sure what the encouraging signs are.  However, Tom nails it on the head when he says that his family's committment to winning a World Series is not "evident from this year's performance."

The 2010 highlights revolved around our home grown talent. Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner developed into budding stars, with Castro and Colvin in the NL Rookie of the Year discussion. That young group was enhanced by the August promotion of Casey Coleman, who went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts. All need to take the next step in 2011, but we are very encouraged to have a group of young, home grown players emerge as regulars in 2010.

There is the silver lining.  Castro, Colvin, and for some reason, Cashner, get prominent billing.  Youth shall save us! The Cubs seem hellbent on turning Cashner into a middle reliever so even if you followed him through the minors and are excited about his power arm, no team should hype a middle relief prospect in its top three "encouraging" signs.  Throwing Casey Coleman and his small sample size is just grasping for straws.

We also have to recognize the superb job done by another one of our own-Mike Quade. During the final 37 games, the team played at a .649 clip (24-13), the second best record in the majors over that timeframe. Making this even more significant, we played largely against teams fighting for playoff berths.

This last part is particularly interesting since Tom seems to be selling Quade to the fans.  He could have mentioned the strong finish and left it at that to build the hope train going for next season, but he practically equates Quade to a prospect that is coming into his own at the major league level that we can enjoy in future seasons. Huh...

Plus, he gets a little liberal with his definitions again when he states the Cubs finished "largely" against teams fighting for playoff berths.  Even if I include the last three games against the Cardinals as a team "fighting for playoff berths," only 16 of Quade's 37 games came against such playoff contenders.  In those 16 games, the Cubs were 9-7.  That is nice, but it isn't like they kicked good teams' asses and took names.  But yes, Quade did a nice job overall.

It is my strong belief that, in the end, it is organizations with strong farm systems that win championships and I am convinced that our organization is making progress.

Our success in producing talent from within our system can be attributed to a number of factors, including a commitment of financial resources. We believe we have one of the best scouting directors in baseball in Tim Wilken (now 4 years in place) and with a strong farm director in Oneri Fleita and a very productive international effort, we are making progress in what had been a weak spot in the organization.

He's talking about good young talent more than a popped-collar guy at Casey Moran's.  It's like he's wearing beer goggles when looking at the state of the team...

Well, that explains the optimism.

Our farm clubs performed very well in 2010, playing to a collective 374-316 record, with first place finishes at both the Triple-A level in Iowa (tied) and Double-A level in Tennessee. The overall .542 winning percentage was second among all major league organizations and our 374 wins were the most for the Cubs organization in 15 years. As I said at our opening press conference about a year ago, we are committed to winning the right way---with our farm system. We believe we are on the right track.

Notice he didn't mention what a great job Ryne Sandberg did to lead Iowa to that first place tie.  Maybe because they blew a post-season berth in their last game.  Maybe because Ryne suddenly finds himself on the outside looking in?  At least there is a head-fake towards Ryne with his mention of "winning the right way."

Besides the absence of Sandberg being discussed, some other noticeable omissions were: Every veteran player on the roster.  No mention of Zambrano's strong finish, no mention of Byrd's All-Star appearance, no mention of Soto's rebound season.  It makes you wonder if a full fire sale may at least be on the table as an option.

So, in short, the season was disappointing, but check out all those rookies!  That makes a nice segue into the next segment:

Part 3 - 2011 Preview - Things Are Looking Up!


Suburban Kid said...

Rice Cube mentioned over at ACB the glaring omission of the retiring Hall of Fame manager. It was definitely a low-class slight, seeing as he had a whole section reviewing the 2010 season.

Aisle 424 said...

That's true, SK. I saw RC make a similar comment on his Facebook page and he's absolutely right that the omission is glaring.

I guess if you are trying to sell your team for the future, going over the less-than-stellar finish of your last manager may not be wise. Anything too glowing comes off as disingenuous and doesn't fit into the "youth as the future" narrative he has going.

Still, I think some mention of Lou's contributions to the change in the expectations surrounding the fan base would have been nice.

Post a Comment

The easiest way to comment is to choose the Name/URL option from the Comment As dropdown menu below. You do not need to put in a URL for this option to work.

Sometimes upon submitting the comment, you will get an error saying there is a problem. Submit the comment again and it should work. I am looking into correcting this glitch.