MLB Franchise Notes: Could Cubs-NU Partnership Hurt White Sox?
In Illinois, Mike Imrem writes this week's partnership between the Cubs and Northwestern Univ. "can't be good news" for the White Sox and the Univ. of Illinois. The alliance is "just another sign that the Cubs and NU are energetically and creatively operating 21st century businesses, while the Sox and Illini are stuck in the 20th century." Cubs Owner the Ricketts family recently has been "wheeling and dealing and moving and shaking and shaking and baking." The White Sox' "response pretty much is a new pricing structure to draw fans to Comiskey Park." If they have "other innovations to market their ballclub and ballpark they need to publicize them better" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 2/8).
FINDING HIS GROOVE: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan writes this could be "considered the high point of the Ricketts era." It is "obvious" Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts has "found a comfort zone in his fourth year at the helm." Sources said that he "desperately wants to be considered someone with whom the average fan can relate, not just a rich owner focused on profit margins." Sullivan: "Job No. 1 for Tom Ricketts is to get the renovation started. But many questions remain about his plans, including where the Cubs hope to install lucrative signage that can be seen on telecasts for maximum exposure" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/8).
CULTURAL APPEAL: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes if Fernandomania "made baseball appealing in the 1980s to Mexican immigrants who previously had little or no interest in the sport," then Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez is "positioned to connect with their more culturally assimilated offspring." According to a recent study by the team, the Dodgers "estimate that 40% of their fans are Latino." Of that group, 60% are bilingual. The Dodgers used Gonzalez' "crossover appeal to their advantage this winter," as no player made "more public appearances than Gonzalez." Dodgers Exec VP & CMO Lon Rosen said, "Being bilingual and bicultural, he's been able to spread the Dodgers brand everywhere" (L.A. TIMES, 2/8).
NO SPIN ZONE : CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller noted Padres fan David Marver has "spent his spare time over the past few years collecting and bookmarking video and sound bites in which various Padres officials send one truth after another through the spin cycle." He recently "aggregated his work into a 36-minute documentary that he took public this week through his Change The Padres Facebook page." He is "not trying to sell" the film, titled, "The Padres: The Sad Truth." He said, "The goal is for people to stop spending their money on the Padres until they change their behavior" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/7).
CARDINAL RULE: In St. Louis, Derrick Goold notes the Cardinals' new batting practice cap, which "has a blue shell and draws inspiration from a cap worn in 1950s during Stan Musial's era, is a departure from the flex caps worn the past few years." These new-look New Era caps "are fitted." The caps also could be "worn as a team during workouts this spring training." The team's blue road cap "will be worn less this coming year as a result of some changes to the team's overall uniform" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/8).