Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ricketts Letter: The Final Chapter

So, if you have been following along, Tom Ricketts' letter to the season ticket holders has now reached epic proportions.  He has used many, many, many, many words to explain things that really shouldn't be that hard to succinctly discuss:
  • Cubs fans are important to the Ricketts family
  • Families are important to the Ricketts family
  • The Cubs were disappointing in 2010, except for the end part when they were awesome
  • 2011 will be a continuation of the awesome part
  • Some ticket prices will go up for some games and seats, but not others, when they may go down, or not
  • The new ticket prices make it easier for families to go to Cubs games
  • Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five golden rings!, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree
After all of this, you may be asking yourself if you can expect to see any more major changes in Wrigley Field itself in 2011.  You will be happy to know that the answer to that question is... maybe.

Like you, we love Wrigley Field and are committed to winning a championship at the Friendly Confines. We all need to recognize, however, that our wonderful Wrigley Field is fast approaching 100 years of age and is in need of substantial improvements. We committed over $10 million to that effort last year, largely to improve restrooms, add new food options, recast concrete, upgrade steel and other general maintenance. We will continue this effort in 2011 but again the focus will be more tactical than strategic.

Yes, the urinals and the bison dogs, how can we forget?  Sounds like more of the same little tweaks that they will herald later as grand sweeping changes are in store for us in 2011.  Seriously, did anybody notice an appreciable difference in the bathrooms?  The one change I noticed was that the sign above the sink that said "sink" to differentiate itself from the troughs was not there when the season began and then re-appeared at some point in the middle of the season.

I honestly have no idea if this is a Before or After picture.

The bison dogs were tasty from what I remember.  I didn't have one after the month of May because I had stopped buying anything in the ballpark as a personal protest.  But whatever, they didn't suck, which was nice compared to what we were offered on the baseball field while we ate the damn things.

So who knows what will come next.  Ketchup and mustard packets instead of the dispensers that always cause a log jam at the condiment/napkin stations because everyone is trying to unwrap their food to be able to apply some mustard?  Miller Park and a few other ballparks have little kiosks that serve freshly roasted nuts with cinnamon and sugar.  Those are awesome.  Maybe something like that?  I might even buy some of those even if the team sucks next year.

Whatever it is they have planned, it doesn't sound like it will be of much consequence in the grand scheme of things, so you have to wonder why Tom bothered to bring it up at all, but he was on a roll.

We spent much of the 2010 season assembling a team of renowned architects, engineers, designers and project managers to develop a master plan for a more significant Wrigley Field overhaul and Triangle Building development. Our planning will continue in 2011 and your involvement through the quality assurance surveys mentioned earlier is very important. We look forward to completing the analysis phase and getting underway with the construction and occupation phase.

The Triangle Building!  Bet you had forgotten all about that with all the noodles and Toyota signs and the team sucking and all, but there it is still getting planned.  Look at them plan.  Plan, plan, plan.  They should charge money to have fans be able to watch them plan.

They are looking forward to turning the plans into reality though, as should you because there will be all kinds of different ways to separate us from our money in the Triangle Building.  They just have to finish planning how. Hopefully their plans for the Triangle Building are more solid than their plans for building a World Series contender.

I guess as long as it isn't the same people that designed the Soldier Field spaceship thing, I don't care that much, but it sure was nice of Tom to keep us informed that nothing specific can be divulged at this time.


We were in Year One when this started, what year is it now?

Thank you again for your incredible support of Cubs baseball and the Ricketts family. We have spent our adult lives sitting next to you cheering for our team. We now have the responsibility to improve not only the play on the field but also to protect and save our summer home, Wrigley Field. With your help we will accomplish both.

It is pretty incredible that so many people love this team so much when they never, ever fulfill that love and devotion by ending a season with a playoff win. 

Think about it, Tom openly admitted that payroll is going to go down (and therefore the realistic expectations of being a contender also go down), and at the same time they've said they'll pretty much be charging us the same rates as last year (which was supposed to be a contending team). I haven't seen much backlash about that.  We, as a fanbase, seem pretty much OK with it since they aren't actually raising the rates (except when they are for some people).

That is incredible.  It really is.

I did notice a slight clerical error at the end though.

"With your help money we will (hope, pray and ultimately fail to) accomplish both."

Fixed. You're welcome.


Thanks, Tom.  Do you take personal checks?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the glimps into the men's room, I never would have thought to add it to my tour, but now I can honestly say, yah, I've seen it.

I do have to say that the condiment stand is one of the best parts of the stadium. I love to grind my own onion. Its the only reason to buy a dog. The catsup and mustard pumps are environmentally appropriate.


Doc Blume said...

I'm fairly sure that was a before picture of the sign above the sink. By the end of the season, it was not quite a shiny.

I do have a question...how long does it take to design and plan for the triangle building? The Yankees designed and built a new stadium, tore down the old one and won a world championship in about 1/2 the time the Cubs have spent planning the stupid triangle building.

Aisle 424 said...

To be fair, I'm sure the City of Chicago has not been what one might call "easy" to work with. The stadium's landmark status makes doing anything at Wrigley a ridiculous nuisance.

It was the biggest hassle to just put up one damn sign in the bleachers, can you imagine the clusterfuck it is going to be to put up a whole adjoining building?

Augie said...

Here is the big question. If your seat prices stay the same, will you buy your season tickets again?

Aisle 424 said...

I have some things to work out, but my ticket package actually went up $95 per seat (about 3%), so I have some tough choices ahead.

They are demanding an answer from me by November 1, so it is likely I won't even know who the next manager is by then if they are really waiting for Girardi to be done with the current season.

I'm at about 60-40 in favor of dumping them without any further information.

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