Tom Ricketts’ home plate
By TOM RICKETTS Daily Splash columnist October 10, 2012 1:34AM
An artist’s rendering of the Kerry Wood Cubs Field, which breaks ground Thursday.
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:10AM
Well, the baseball season of 2012 is in the books. It was a disappointing season, but I hope fans understand there are better days ahead. We bought this team because we are committed to delivering Cubs fans the World Series championship they deserve. We believe this season represents the first step to delivering on that promise.
Baseball Operations President Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer and the entire Cubs organization are working day and night to put together a championship organization — from A-ball to the major league club. We are building the team toward a future of sustained success with a youth movement. We are investing in our player development system, both in terms of talent and facilities. We are building a nucleus of solid young players to perform around shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
We are also working on being championship-caliber corporate citizens. We want to thank our fans and this great city with a committed community investment program. Under the leadership of my sister Laura, Cubs Charities has doubled the amount it raises and contributes to scores of Chicago-area charities. An important pillar to Cubs charitable giving is to support health and fitness. So I am looking forward to breaking ground this week on Kerry Wood Cubs Field near Lane Tech High School on Chicago’s North Side.
We heard that the city of Chicago has a shortage of baseball fields that meet Illinois High School Association playoff standards — and that’s wrong because a great city like Chicago deserves the best. So, with an investment of nearly $5 million, “Kerry Wood Cubs Field” will create a top-flight stadium for Chicago’s young baseball players.
With help from the Wood Family Foundation, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Turner Construction, we will build a ballpark that will attract Chicago Public League baseball players from across the city.
Baseball has united generations, and now we hope Kerry Wood Cubs Field will unite the city and inspire our kids to play America’s great game.
Besides showing that my family and the Cubs are evangelists for the game of baseball, Cubs Field is also a very visible sign of my family’s commitment to Chicago.
Since we took over the Cubs in October 2009, the Chicago Cubs Charities has donated more than $4 million to non-profit organizations across Chicago. Not only do we build great baseball fields, but we have funded the Cubs Classroom at the new Anne and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital; supported pediatric cancer research and “Bear Necessities Bear Hugs” for children battling cancer; invested in GIGI’s playhouse, which helps children with Downs syndrome; backed the Black Theatre Ensemble; and supported Chicago’s young Hispanic women by investing in Mujeres Latinas en Accion. From Rogers Park to Pilsen, we’ve supported neighborhood organizations across Chicago.
These are just some of the ways we’ve invested in the city we love. Baseball not only reminds us of what is good — as the baseball movie “Field of Dreams” told us — it helps us do good. We hope by next summer, parents, coaches and children will be celebrating champions and championships at Kerry Wood Cubs Field.
And while we are investing in the city we love, we will continue making dramatic investments in the major league baseball organization to ensure we will also be celebrating championships just down Addison at Wrigley Field.
Tom and Laura Ricketts, along with Kerry Wood, will celebrate the groundbreaking of Kerry Wood Cubs Field Thursday at 10 a.m. Tom has donated his fee for writing this column to Chicago Cubs Charities.