Tom Ricketts enjoys Cubs’ ‘good relationship’ with Kane County
BY PAUL JOHNSON For Sun-Times Media July 29, 2014 5:53PM
Updated: July 29, 2014 5:55PM
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts got his first look at his Class A affiliate in Kane County when he spoke at the Executives’ Club of Chicago luncheon Monday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
The two-year player-development contract between the Cubs and Cougars expires at the end of the season. It was one of many subjects Ricketts talked about in the hourlong program that also featured new Cougars owner Dr. Bob Froehlich.
‘‘We’ve had a great experience with Kane County,’’ Ricketts said. ‘‘I like Dr. Bob a lot. I like the facility; we like the organization. It’s not really my decision. I’ll leave that up to [president Theo Epstein and senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod] as to what they want to do, but it’s been a good relationship.’’
Froehlich, who bought the Cougars earlier this season, said maintaining a relationship with the Cubs was his top priority.
‘‘We’re in discussions, but that will run its course,’’ Froehlich said. ‘‘This is a facility that you really have to experience, then you get a feel for the venue and what we have. I figured that he hasn’t been here, so this is a good time to come out.’’
One of the things that was discussed was the Cougars’ proximity to Wrigley Field. Froehlich said it is 34 miles from home plate in one stadium to home plate in the other.
‘‘What’s nice about having an affiliate this close is that your hitting instructor can be here in the morning and be at Wrigley tonight,’’ Ricketts said. ‘‘If you have a guy on rehab that just needs a day or two, this is pretty logical place to do it.’’
Ricketts covered a handful of topics, including breaking down the logistics of the Cubs’ rebuilding process, the renovation of Wrigley Field and the development of new facilities in the Dominican Republic and Mesa, Arizona.
‘‘Hopefully in the next few years a lot of the good trades and good drafts and good development will make our team a playoff contender and a World Series contender,’’ Ricketts said. ‘‘People know that it doesn’t happen overnight. They understand it takes time.’’