When the Cubs released a carefully curated letter from Tom Ricketts Tuesday afternoon, it was met primarily with yawns and dismissive comments about it being the same thing as last year. Much like Jed Hoyer’s Monday press conference, this was a case of using a lot of words to say very little. But in spite of the incredibly similar wording, something about this most recent missive stood out.
2021: We have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them. We will be active in free agency and continue to make thoughtful decisions to bolster our team this offseason.
2022: We will be active in free agency and have the necessary resources available to substantially supplement our current roster. As Jed has demonstrated, we will be driven by intelligent decision-making as we build a roster that can win games in the postseason – year in and year out.
Did you see it, Vanilla Ice?
Here’s an email exchange between what could be called CI’s brain trust, provided you loosely define both “brain” and “trust.”
We have the resources to “supplement” the current roster. Don’t want to read too much into that but sure feels like he’s setting the table for smaller moves. Feels like they may have talked themselves out of spending big on pitching, if nothing else. – Tues, Oct 11, 2:41 PM
“Substantially” is important in there though. – Tues, Oct 11, 2:41 PM
As was the case with Hoyer’s presser, which could be interpreted in any number of different ways based on preconceptions, it’s possible I was looking for any little morsel of hope to tide me over in barren times. However, my take here isn’t being informed solely by the content of an otherwise generic email. Ricketts and the rest of the organization have been talking about spending for a while now, and phrasing it like this doesn’t feel like a mistake.
That holds water when we look at the greater overall context of the statement, whether it’s the return of Cubs Convention or growing unease among fans. I mean, yeah, Ricketts could just be trying to sell season tickets to those on the waiting list who are now getting calls, but this letter didn’t have nearly enough bombast to convince thousands of people to spend thousands of dollars on little other than faith in the owner’s words.
I don’t like Tom, but I don’t think he’s a dumb guy. I have a hard time believing, in a year where the convention returns, that he’d add the word substantially in there without planning on backing it up. He’s not stupid enough to put a target on his back like that for no reason. https://t.co/Y2vz6lLUzI
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) October 12, 2022
If I’m being completely honest with you, my primary motivation for writing this was to reference Rob Van Winkle’s ludicrous explanation of how the sample used on Ice, Ice Baby wasn’t the same as Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. As the rapper noted with less than a straight face, it’s that “itty-bitty ‘ting'” that separated the two beats. Though Ricketts doesn’t live in fear that Suge Knight will shake him down by hanging him off a Hotel Zachary balcony, the Cubs chairman surely understands now that anything less than the best is a felony.
Okay, it’s not even a misdemeanor. But failing to meaningfully improve the team this season could finally result in an indictment of ownership that has been brought up before the grand jury of public opinion more than once already. And the thing is, it may not even take much effort to meet the definition of “substantially,” since the Cubs could get a whole lot better with as few as two or three moves.
Now comes the fun of tracking the offseason and arguing amongst ourselves about each new rumor or report. Feel free to mark the tape on this one, as I feel it’s something we’re going to be coming back to one way or the other in the coming months.