This is a letter that I wrote to the Board of Directors of the Chicago Cubs at that time. This was published in the Bleacher Banter prior to finding out that Andy MacPhail was resigning from the Cubs. Did my letter actually help that process? I do not know, however, it is fun to believe it did. Enjoy!
Andrew B. MacPhail, Board Member, Team President & Chief Executive Officer
Crane Kenney, Board Member & Senior Legal Counsel
Dennis FitzSimons, Board Member
James Hendry, General Manager
1060 West Addison
Chicago, Illinois 60613-4397
RE: The Team
I am writing to you as an extremely frustrated Chicago Cubs fan. It appears to me and hopefully many other Cubs fans that you are not determined to place the winning product on the field day in and day out. It appears to me that you are only concerned with the bottom line, which of course is making the most profit that you are able to. I find this type of thinking totally inexcusable as this is not a typical business that you are running. This is a professional sports team that has to respond to the general public day in and day out. The general public is better known to you as your fan base. With a winning product on the field, the profits that you appear to be so concerned about will be there. Think about how much more profit the club would make as a World Series Winner and yearly contender.
I have been a fan of this team since I am able to remember having been born in Skokie, Illinois and attending my first game as a child when Joe Pepitone played first base and was someone that I thought of as a baseball hero. As I have gotten older and realized more about what baseball and who the Chicago Cubs are, it is disheartening to me that this team lead by the four of you is continuing to believe and fall under the Curse of the Billy Goat. I do not understand how a team that is in the third largest metropolis in the United States is not able to be a contender year in and year out in any professional sport. Do you feel that this mediocrity is acceptable every season? Granted there are some flashes of greatness however, it is few and far between.
With the way this team is under performing, there needs to be changes made. There are many that believe Dusty Baker is the fall guy for how dismal this team is performing however, I beg to differ. I hold the four of you accountable and require some changes starting at the top. Andrew, you were brought in as the hot shot talent that help the Minnesota Twins get back in contention and yet you have not worked successfully here in Chicago. I think it is high time that you step aside and find someone in the mold of Theo Epstein who helped eliminate the curse of the Bambino for Boston. Even the White Sox have found Ken Williams who appears to be one helluva general manager and built a World Series winning team on the South Side. Kudos to Ken for his success and that the White Sox are again contending in the American League in 2006. It should be eating you up alive that the Cubs have not had the success that the White Sox are currently enjoying. Crane & Dennis, I am not sure specifically what you do for the organization however, I do not understand why an attorney is on the Board of Directors for a professional sports franchise.
James Hendry, you are the second biggest problem that this team and organization has. The moves that you have made since taking over as general manager have been erratic at best. While you have made moves to land Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre this year, there have been many more decisions or lack there of that you have failed miserably on. LaTroy Hawkins, while it appeared to be a good move would up being a huge mistake. Not signing Ivan Rodriguez as a free agent twice in two consecutive years baffles my mind. Do you remember one of the Marlins catalysts in 2003? That’s right it was Pudge himself that helped will the Marlins to their second title in six years. What about the mess that in 2003 was the middle relief? Do you think Prior, Wood, Zambrano, Clement should have been forced to stay in games that long? Fortunately Zambrano has not suffered the same injury bug as Wood and Prior. Why Wade Miller instead of A.J. Burnett or Josh Beckett? Is waiting to see how Miller’s surgically repaired shoulder going to be worth the wait? Will Prior & Wood be able to get back to some sort of form that may help this disaster of a season? Why would you sign Jacques Jones who apparently fell into disfavor in Minnesota versus saving the money and allowing Felix Pie to come up to the majors? The starting outfield of Murton, Pierre & Pie would have made for better entertainment then having to watch Jones continue to ineffective. I just do not understand the thought process that you have put into this season and feel that it is time for you to go back to where you came from and quit continuing to add the futility that is the Chicago Cubs.
Cubs fans have to wonder will the 100th season without a World Championship finally be one that will produce it. With the four of you at the helm of this great ship, it will be like watching the Titanic or the Poseidon sink and capsize simultaneously. It is completely unacceptable that being the laughing stock of Major League Baseball and that not having a quality product on the field is good because the Cubs faithful will always be there. Better lower the cost of tickets and concessions in order to make sure that Cubs fans want to continue attending games. It does not appear that a serious effort into winning a title will ever take place in my life time. I guess I will just have to live happily with that fact. Makes it hard to want to believe in the saying, “Wait Till Next Season.” Oh yeah, next season is here and it is a repeat of last season and the season before that as well.
Crazy Cubs Fan