Ricketts, Marmol & Santo

1.) Was Ricketts’ purchase a poor investment?
2.) Marmol says Cubs have the best bullpen.
3.) Ron Santo Day: March 10th.

1.) Think about it. The Ricketts family dropped roughly $900M to purchase the Cubs. That’s a lot of dough for a club full of back-loaded contracts and an under-achieving record the past two years.

Since the stakes for winning were raised in 2007, Cubs fans have come to expect a winning team. Long gone are the days of fans filling the ballpark just to be at Wrigley Field. Don’t believe me? Just check out those new season ticket packages. Since when were the Cubs heavily advertising ticket sales?

Poor attendance, especially the latter end of 2010, reflects not only a struggling economy, but Cubs fans unwillingness to support a 75-win team. The Cubs are hurting for support, not Pittsburgh hurting, of course, but hurting.

Worse, Wrigley Field is in dire straights of a face-lift. The aging ballpark is crumbling before our very eyes. Forget about the state of Illinois chipping in, they’re flat broke. So that leaves the Ricketts with a money-pit of a ballpark that’s draining the club of resources until it can be brought up to modern standards. That doesn’t happen overnight, either.

The good news is the Ricketts’ dedication to winning a world championship. Put a winner on the field and the fans will come, and so will more money. Still, we know it’s not that easy. Not in this economy, not in this market and not with a roster on the brink of a house cleaning.

Only time will tell if the Ricketts family invested their money wisely. And while I believe the Ricketts get the Cubs turned-around, they certainly have their work cut out for them in the short-term.

2.) Nothing is more important to the Cubs success in 2011 than a strong bullpen. Carlos Marmol believes the Cubs will have ‘the best’ pen in the NL. “We are the best.” “We have Sean and Grabow as well as the young guys.” “And now we have Kerry Wood back. We feel very confident.”

Bringing Woody back was huge. And perhaps, Marshall performs better than last season knowing he’s a full-time relief arm. The return of a healthy John Grabow is essential. But the biggest question is Jeff Samardzija. Will this kid ever throw strikes?

3.) The Cubs will honor Ron Santo on March 10. From Cubs.com: The Chicago Cubs will pay tribute to Ron Santo on March 10 and host an additional pair of special days at spring training games to thank Mesa voters for their support last fall of Proposition 420 to keep the Cubs in Mesa.

Ron Santo Day will feature a pre-game ceremony at third base before the Cubs host the Cleveland Indians on March 10. Santo passed away December 3, 2010 and this spring training ceremony is one of many tributes to Santo during the 2011 campaign. Additional details of the March 10 Ron Santo Day are forthcoming.


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