Renovation delays, Kris Bryant’s monster Spring Training start and the Cubs future were the topics of conversation Monday night with owner Tom Ricketts spoke to The Executives Club of Chicago.
Ricketts did his best to reassure fans and media in attendance that this season will be different despite the storylines surrounding the team. He did it in a way that should get Cubs fans excited for the upcoming season and hope for a promising team with a ton of talent.
The majority of the young talent that has been highlighted by various publications, beat writers and experts should be here this year. There’s renovations going on that have drawn a lot of attention. Oh and those rooftop owners have been in the spotlight as well.
As for those bleachers on Opening Day? They still won’t be ready as Ricketts says the team is sticking to the plan of May 11 for left and center field and sometime in June for right field.
“A lot of things had to happen right for us to have the whole bleacher renovation done by Opening Day,” said Ricketts. “It didn’t work out. People fix up the park about once in every 100 years. We just wanted to do it the right way.”
There is good news on the renovations front however as the gigantic jumbotron currently being installed will be ready come Opening Day according to Ricketts. It could be the silver-lining in a project that has caused some headaches for fans and the organization.
Those construction delays have also had an impact on season ticket holders and fans. Some of those fans apparently aren’t happy at all according to this article by the Chicago Tribune. Despite the complaints, Ricketts says that the it hasn’t been that bad and the fans have adjusted to it.
“The response actually hasn’t been bad,” said Ricketts. “They get a rebate for April games, which kinda are not the marquee games anyway. So I think people are okay and everyone understands it has to be done the right way.”
The right way includes keeping that tradition of the bleachers alive, which Ricketts says he has discussed. “I’ve talked to some fans about issues, ” said Ricketts. “But it’s going to be the bleachers. It’s going to be the same with better services and a little bit of a different look.”
Ricketts remained calm at the event, giving Cubs fans a reason to believe he and his front office have finally figured things out. You know, it’s all part of the plan.
The SportingNews prediction that the Cubs would win the World Series this year also made an appearance as he used it as an intro to his speech. He mentioned nine reasons why the SportingNews prediction actually isn’t crazy. In his defense, the points actually hold some merit.
The points are as follows:
- The farm system
- Joe Maddon
- Leadoff hitter/OBP
- Platoon players
- Starting rotation
The biggest point however is the farm system and the top prospect in the game, Kris Bryant. Ricketts avoided the question asked by moderator Peggy Kusinski when asked if Bryant will be up for Opening Day vs. the St. Louis Cardinals which was probably a good move.
“That’s a player-personnel decision and I don’t get involved in those kind of things,” said Ricketts as he quickly brushed away the question. “Fans wan’t Bryant up, his agent want’s him to play but we need to do what’s best for the organization.”
Bryant has been on a tear in Spring Training, hitting a league-leading 9 home runs in 28-at bats. Yet, Bryant likely won’t be on the Opening Day roster April 5th.
But there’s a good reason for that. It doesn’t make much sense for Bryant to be on the roster come opening day, as it’s better to wait and ensure the Super Two status. Plus, April likely won’t make of break the Cubs season. At the end of the night, both questions surrounding the Cubs came back to Ricketts and will leave us all wondering what the answer really is.
“Will Kris Bryant at least be up when the Bleachers are done?,” said a reporter. As Ricketts laughed and said the decision wasn’t up to him, it just makes us all have to wait and see.