SBD/February 22, 2013/Franchises

Style Points: Cubs Trying To Become First-Class Organization Off The Field

Epstein wants Cubs players to see the team's only priority is winning
The changes going on with the Cubs are not “just on the field,” but also in the way the team operates off the field, according to ESPN's Pedro Gomez. The team has upgraded its charter flights and the types of hotels they stay in on the road." Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein "wants it to be first-class all the way off the field so that the product on the field is first-class." Epstein: “You want to make sure that the players understand that the only priority here is winning, and if you cut corners on some of the little things it makes it seem like the bottom line is more important than winning and that can be corrosive.” Gomez noted the Cubs next year "will have a brand-new clubhouse" at Wrigley Field. Gomez: "When you go through the 30 big-league ballparks, the Cubs' home clubhouse is probably the worst in the major leagues. That’s all part of the culture change that they’re looking into” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 2/20).

EXAMINING ALL ANGLES: With Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts trying to get approval to make some alterations to Wrigely Field, the Illinois DAILY HERALD's Barry Rozner asked, “Does anyone pouring over the details of the landmark status really think the new Cubs owners are going to dramatically change the face of Wrigley Field?" Rozner: "Of course not. It's just another way to hold up the process until everyone involved can get what they want out of the deal.” The Cubs “aren't going to destroy the look of Wrigley Field.” At the same time, Ricketts “has every right to maximize revenue in a facility that is already severely limited.” If that means he “wants more night games, festivals, billboards, concerts -- or August ice rinks and a February circus, for that matter -- the city should allow it” (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 2/20).

SPICING IT UP: In Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom noted the Cubs are looking to update the gameday experience at Wrigley Field, including some tweaks to the seventh inning stretch, and wrote, “I like rooting for someone to botch the song and then give a great interview." Rosenbloom: "That’s also the problem. … The interview, also frequently known as verbal waterboarding.” Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, who conducted the interviews last year, “had nowhere to go with some of these agonizingly uninteresting people.” Rosenbloom: “God forbid there should be a Cubs rally with Jeff Gordon sitting in the ‘Wrigley Stadium’ booth. ... Here’s the rule: If you don’t think your seventh-inning singer should be invited to do the interview, then don’t invite that person to sing in the first place" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/21).
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