MLB commissioner Bud Selig supports Cubs’ strategy
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org November 15, 2012 10:24PM
Theo Epstein at Wrigley Field today. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: December 19, 2012 1:05PM
What does the commissioner of baseball think about the Cubs choosing to become the first big-revenue team in baseball’s free agency era to intentionally undertake a multiyear, youth-driven rebuilding process?
While maintaining some of the highest ticket prices in the game?
``What the Cubs are doing in my opinion with [team president] Theo [Epstein], they’re absolutely on the right track. I can’t be critical of that,’’ Bud Selig said Thursday after two days of quarterly owners meetings concluded at a Rosemont hotel.
``I like the way the Cubs are going,’’ he added. ``If I was running the franchise, I would follow that pattern to a T.’’
Selig also mentioned baseball’s record attendance and revenues, which could crack the $8 billion threshold next year for the first time, he said.
The Cubs are among the top teams driving those revenues.
They also raised 38 of their 65 ticket prices after losing 101 games last season. And their first two free-agent signings of this winter are bargain deals.
``There are different ways to try to compete, and sometimes you’ve got to be realistic,’’ Selig said. ``And sometimes you have to say to yourself, I’ve got to rebuild my scouting [department], I’ve got to rebuild my international, I have to do a series of things.
``I’m a believer in that. … I would do it again if I was running a club, and I can’t be critical.’’
Selig offered to help Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts in efforts to get $160 million in public money for Wrigley Field renovations now that the presidential election has passed.
``I’ve talked a lot to Tom, and I certainly want to be involved help them get done what they want to get done,’’ he said.
Ricketts said Thursday he doesn’t expect Selig to get involved in talks with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that ended abruptly several months ago over family patriarch Joe Ricketts’ involvement in a proposal for a racially-tinged political smear-campaign against Emanuel’s pal President Barack Obama.
Emanuel is expected to eventually sign off on a Wrigley plan but not until handling several higher-priority items on his agenda. And Ricketts on Thursday said he had no immediate expectation of renewed traction in the post-election climate.
``Hopefully, sometime soon we’ll have it all figured out,’’ Ricketts said.