Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has created his fair share of controversy since stepping in with the Cubs and he’s at it again.
Ricketts is currently involved in the building of a new Spring Training facility for the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. that is supposed to make Spring Training a better experience for the players and the fans. According to Cubs.com, some of the features of the new facility include 15,000 seats, a 70,000-square foot clubhouse, a 28-foot-deep lake and a ‘party deck’ in left field to mimic the carefree atmosphere of Wrigley Field’s bleachers.
The idea of a new stadium in Mesa that is supposed to be similar to Wrigley Field sounds like a fun idea, but aren’t Ricketts’ priorities a little out of whack? What about fixing the team that lost 101 games last season before jumping to build a new Spring Training stadium? It just doesn’t make sense.
Ricketts seems to have a different train of thought, telling Cubs.com of the new facility: “This is a big win for the team to get this started. It’s a big win for our fans who go to Spring Training, it’s a big win for the city of Mesa, it’s a big win for economic development for the whole area, to be honest, so everybody’s winning.”
It’s a nice idea, but how is a new training facility going to help this pitiful team that seems to have hit rock bottom? How will that translate into wins? I don’t see the construction of a new facility raising the ‘W’ flag at Wrigley Field more often this year. It just doesn’t work that way.
Along with the new training facility, let’s not forget about the $300 million renovation project Ricketts has planned for Wrigley Field during the next five years, along with the addition of more advertising in the stadium and more night games.
What is this man doing to historic Wrigley Field? Where are his priorities? Why is it so important to fit in with the rest of Major League Baseball? Isn’t Wrigley Field’s old-time atmosphere part of what makes Cubs games so magical?
I give Ricketts credit for trying to enhance the baseball experience for everyone, but now is not the time. Now is the time to make this team into the best they can possibly be. Now is the time to make this team into a winning team.
The fun can wait, but the winning can’t.