SBD/April 5, 2012/MLB Season Preview

MLB Franchise Notes: Tom Ricketts Expresses Confidence In Cubs, Future

Ricketts (r) said Cubs aimed high, thought Epstein was right person for job
In a special to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts writes, “This offseason, I believe, will be remembered as a turning point in the history of the Chicago Cubs. When we decided it was time for new leadership in our baseball organization, I knew that we needed to aim high and to get the right person for [the] job. Fortunately, Theo Epstein decided that he was up for the challenge.” Ricketts continues, “The Cubs Way is more than just a saying. It is a set of baseball principles and coaching practices that are designed to ensure our players at every level are taught the game correctly and consistently. The Cubs Way, when combined with great scouting and first-class training facilities, will lead us to our goal of being the best organization in baseball and, ultimately, winning a championship.” Ricketts: “As a Cubs fan, I have never been more confident in our future. And our future begins today” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/5).

MOVING ON UP: CBSSPORTS.com’s C. Trent Rosecrans wrote it “doesn't matter what anyone says, the Cincinnati Reds are no longer a small-market team.” Reds Owner Bob Castellini committed $225M to 1B Joey Votto, “just $15 million less than his group spent on purchasing the team six years ago.” Votto’s deal is “another sign that owning a baseball team is an even more lucrative business than playing baseball.” Castellini yesterday said, “First of all, the franchise has the capability to meet its financial challenges, even as a small-market team. Is it risky? No doubt. That's the environment that we live in, especially as a small-market team. We feel confident that Joe will be a cornerstone, a foundation of our franchise” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/4). In Cincinnati, John Fay notes the contract “doesn’t go over $20 million until 2017 -- the year after the Reds’ current contract with Fox Sports Ohio expires” (CINCINATTI ENQUIRER, 4/5).

GLAD THE SEASON HERE: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes on the “heels of the worst collapse in baseball history, the wealthy Red Sox went into small-market mode” this offseason. They sent the message “to their fans and all of baseball that they’re done spending stupid money.” Shaughnessy: “Did any team have a worse winter than the Red Sox? They fired the manager who won them two World Series. They let their Camelot GM go to the Cubs while he was still under contract, then received a non-prospect pitcher in return.” They are “coming off the club’s most shocking collapse in 33 years and they’ve done little to inspire confidence or optimism in a loyal fan base that loves the team almost unconditionally” (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/5).

LEAVING HIS MARK: In San Diego, Tom Krasovic notes a case can be made that Padres Vice Chair Jeff Moorad “did good things for the club" despite dropping his attempt to buy the club last month, specifically the "farm system, which is now a consensus top-three outfit.” He “changed the Padres in a big way.” When asked if Moorad will attend the season opener, Padres officials said that “they don’t know but their sense is he’ll watch from home.” A league source said, “Jeff started off in a bad situation with the Padres because he had people in the game who don’t like him, and they were looking for any reason to justify him not getting the vote” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/5).
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