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Telander: Cubs looking to be more charitable to themselves

Chairman Tom Ricketts doesn’t want you thinking about Cubs’ 101-loss seasor his funding plans for Wrigley Field. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty

Chairman Tom Ricketts doesn’t want you thinking about the Cubs’ 101-loss season or his funding plans for Wrigley Field. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images

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Updated: November 15, 2012 6:24AM



I found it interesting that in an essay in this newspaper, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts described his team’s 2012 season as ‘‘disappointing.’’

Kind of like describing the Great Chicago Fire as ‘‘warm.’’

One hundred one losses. One for every week of the year, plus 49. One of only three 100-loss seasons in Cubs history, a history that goes back to 1876.

The adjectives ‘‘pitiful,’’ ‘‘shameful’’ and ‘‘I-want-my-money-back-sir’’ come more readily to mind.

The essay mainly describes the charitable work the Cubs do. The franchise, per Ricketts, has given millions of dollars to groups as disparate as ‘‘Bear Necessities Bear Hugs,’’ GiGi’s Playhouse and Mujeres Latinas en Acción.

‘‘From Rogers Park to Pilsen, we’ve supported neighborhood organizations across Chicago,’’ he writes. ‘‘These are just some of the ways we’ve invested in the city we love.’’

Wonderful. Fabulous. Love, love, love.

Wish I had millions to give to the needy.

But aren’t the Cubs a major-league baseball team? When did they become a stadium-owning, TV-revenue-producing, third-highest-ticket-price-in-baseball-demanding Mother Teresa in pinstripes?

This is all PR. This is hearts-and-minds propaganda, people. A load of crap.

Don’t get me wrong, charity is wonderful. But if rich folks don’t give back some of their wealth, that’s worse than sin. And aren’t they the first ones to know all the great tax writeoffs charity brings?

This is simply a way to soften up the city and make it easier for Ricketts and Co. to float devious bonds to rebuild Wrigley Field at citizens’ risk and make it easier for our crafty, ambitious mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to say, ‘‘This is good for Chicago.’’

Where was the charity when the Cubs abruptly fired longtime traveling secretary Jimmy Bank recently?

Bank had been with the team 20 years. He did his job. He has a family. He’s a good guy. Guess he knows too much about the old days, where the bones are buried.

Charity. My a--.

THE CUBS ARE TURNING into a vicious, soul-free, corporate monster that already has conned the public into paying for a defective product. And apparently it’s just beginning.

Cubs president Theo Epstein said, ‘‘It’s not going to happen overnight. We want to make this right, no matter how long it takes.’’

Imagine a grocery store or restaurant or any private business saying that. While charging high prices for E. coli-laden produce or spit-riddled pasta or broken widgets. It’d be out of business in a flash. But not the Cubs. Not with the weird Cult of Theo intact. Not with propaganda flowing.

And one more thing. How bad, really, were the Cubs before Ricketts took over?

Oh. Ten games better than in 2012? Only 25 games out of first place? Not 36?

Spin it.

WATCHING THE BULLS come back against the Cavaliers in their preseason game Friday night was a lot of fun. A strange new/retro lineup with good ol’ Captain Kirk Hinrich at point guard was moderately entertaining.

But I fear for Bulls play-by-play announcer Neil Funk’s sanity. How often can we hear him describe ‘‘the Hinrich maneuver!’’ and not go nuts ourselves?

ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO believe cyclist Lance Armstrong is being framed by, mmm, dozens of former teammates and trainers and competitors and friends and, of course, the United States Anti-Doping Agency — all of whom say he used performance-enhancing drugs to achieve success and fame — what is wrong with you?

That Armstrong hid his evil and merciless desires for glory behind — what else? charity! — is doubly disgusting. When deniers say, as they do repeatedly, ‘‘Well, I don’t care if he doped — he did so much good for cancer research fund-raising,’’ it is very troubling.

The only reason Armstrong was able to raise any money at all for cancer research was because he cheated to get the platform to do it in the first place. Seven Tour de France wins — all stripped, by the way — gave him the public forum that someone else almost certainly would have had. Those yellow wristbands? As fraudulent as he is.

Did Armstrong cheat? Without a doubt. ‘‘We’re absolutely convinced that he did,’’ wrote the editors in the October issue of the influential and formerly pro-Armstrong magazine Bicycling.

His dozens of passed drug tests? Mean nothing. Sprinter Marion Jones, who went to prison for doping, never failed a drug test, either. Plus, new, more sensitive tests have shown Armstrong’s old samples are tainted with drugs.

This allegedly saint-like athlete, says Travis Tygart, head of USADA, was part of ‘‘the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that we’ve ever seen.’’

You don’t climb the Pyrenees like Lance without lots of EPO.

All you believers, you’ve been suckered.

I’m sorry.



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