Chicago Cubs Offseason Provided Plenty of Material for Justifiable Outrage


During the Ricketts family era of ownership, the Chicago Cubs have become an organization that treats their fans like idiots (crying poor in the free agent market while maintaining some of the highest ticket prices in the Major League Baseball, literally selling their garbage for $100 per item of trash) and their media like their marketing department (about 70-90% of their “news releases” sent to journalists consist of ticket sales info, concessions, promotions and corporate sponsorships).

This past offseason brought a new low, as the franchise became about as unlikable as any team once called “the lovable losers” could be.

As we’re now in the final hours of the off-season/pre-season, the only nice thing we can legitimately say about it is, hey it’s almost over, and in short time we’ll have actual baseball to talk about again.

The Chicago Cubs will begin their 2019 campaign at the Texas Rangers at 3pm, and with that we can put that nightmarish off-season behind us (sort of). All the issues will still be there, of course, hence the reason we’re publishing a post recapping them today.

However, there will also at least be games to talk about.

cubs water bottle

It’s a weird time we live in, the golden age of public shaming, made possible via the internet and social media.

It’s weird how people get more easily offended en masse than ever before, and yet public figures seem more willing to be offensive and do egregiously awful things than ever before.

The outrage machine churns regardless of whether or not there’s sufficient reason for it to be fired up, but with the Chicago Cubs, the impetus for legitimate angst has been there, over and over again in 2018-19.

(See this segment from the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for more on internet shaming and public outrage)

That said let’s go through the top five Chicago Cubs related topics that have angered us the most since the season early last October. These are in no particular order, but click where highlighted for more on each one.

Pretending to be Strapped for Cash

Bryce Harper didn’t sign with the Philadelphia Phillies until well after spring training started. He wanted to come to the Chicago Cubs and team up with his buddy Kris Bryant. It would have been the perfect bromance, as this Cubs team needs offense as you well know.

The Cubs had their least eventful offseason in several years, as their free agent acquisitions could be deemed minor, at best. The reason? Well, they claim they had no money to spend, but that’s a questionable answer when you realize they had no problem spending their money on 1. investing in a new sports gambling information network and 2. donating to the opponent of Alderman Tom Tunney, who has become their arch-nemesis as of late.

Tunney won, and that was bad for the Chicago Cubs, as they are still bitter about his not giving them any corporate welfare handouts for the stadium upgrades

Tom Ricketts and His Lack of Media Skills

The always very popular Ricketts family session at Cubs Convention, an annual tradition, was cancelled this year, presumably because the club patriarch’s awareness of fan unrest.

During his sports talk radio interview Ricketts said it omitted due to “low ratings.” Whatever dude. When Ricketts talked to the media in Mesa, Arizona as spring training commenced, it was disastrous on all levels. Ricketts did absolutely nothing to address the multitude of concerns that people have with the team.

Papa Ricketts and His Islamophobic, Hate-Filled, Conspiracy Theory Laden Emails

We’ve always known that Papa Ricketts, the most billionairest patriarch of this 1% family, is a full on #MAGA racist and bigot. Despite our awareness of his personal brand, his bigoted, nut job emails were still shocking.

Let’s give the Chicago Cubs some credit though- they did take at least one major step towards trying to correct this by forming a partnership with CAIR.

The Devil’s Bargain with Sinclair Broadcasting

It’s bad enough that the new Cubs TV network will be much less accommodating to fans, but they chose to partner with Sinclair, who are basically FOX News Channel, but arguably worse/more evil. FOX and Sinclair are basically the meme of the two Spidermans pointing at each other.

Sinclair owns nearly 240 television stations in the U.S. and that number is so high only due to gutting of government regulations. In April, they forced their own news anchors to record a promo about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”

It’s Orwellian doublespeak “War is Peace,” “Ignorance is Strength,” “Freedom is Slavery” in its truest form. Watch the script in action over at this link. Will the Cubs be able to keep the politics and sports separate?

addison russell

The Addison Russell Situation, a Potential Powder Keg of Bad PR

That Addison Russell press conference in spring training… holy hell was that a disaster. How Russell’s time with the club remains to be seen, and there’s still a small chance this could all work out. Maybe the club knows something we don’t?

At this point, the PR damage has been done though, because the Cubs just look as tone deaf as possible on the societal issues that surround the abusive acts that Russell’s ex-wife has accused him of committing.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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