As part of our ongoing (never ending, really) celebration of Desipio’s 20th anniversary, I’m still digging up golden oldies. Given the mild backlash my Monday Cub O’ Coffee column on The Athletic got because I was “mean to Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney” let’s take a look at when I was really mean to Crane on December 13, 2009.
Last week, Cubs season ticket holders received their yearly letter from Vice President in Charge of Meddling and Incompetence, Crane Kenney.
It was like every other year’s letter. He thanked the season ticket holders for wasting their money on the Cubs, he talked about how great the season was, and then he told the season ticket holders that most of them will just have to bend over and take another ticket price increase.
Thanks to Intrepid Reader flannj, we can now mock the entire letter.
Dear sucker Season Ticket Holder,
Thank you for your tremendous support of the Chicago Cubs as we embark on a new era under the Ricketts
family ownership. As I have done in the past, this letter will cover a number of topics, including our 2010 ticket pricing, the process for renewing your season tickets and a seat relocation option made available for the first time ever.
I’m off to a good start, you already know clearly that this letter is going to be about how much more it’s going to cost to watch the Cubs lose this season, and if you want to sit farther away to cut down on the smell, we can probably accommodate you.
On October 27, 2009, the Ricketts family became the eighth owners in the 133-year history of the Chicago Cubs. They are the first family owners in 30 years and have taken control of the organization with a clear mission: win a World Championship for the most deserving fans in sports. Already, the benefits of new ownership can be seen in the form of capital commitments to Wrigley Field (described later), hiring top management talent such as Rudy Jaramillo, increasing resources for player development and new programs to improve your experience at the Friendly Confines.
The Rickettseses are the first family to own the Cubs since the Wrigleys! Oh, thankfully a return of the glory years, like how they once went twenty-two years between winning seasons!
And the benefits of family ownership have never been more obvious than in the way they were able to hire a BATTING COACH! Yes sir, Rudy Jaramillo is just one of an elite group of 30 such men who hold these jobs in the world! OK, not the world, just in Major League Baseball…you know, because every team has one.
Tom Ricketts and his family grew up as Cubs fans and they know what it means to be dedicated to the team and our beloved ballpark. Importantly, they are putting their resources to work to improve both. The family has committed all profits from the team will be reinvested in the ballclub, our player development system and Wrigley Field for the foreseeable future. As a result, your support of Cubs baseball will directly impact the quality of the ballclub and the condition of Wrigley Field more than ever.
It is very important that the Rickettses grew up as Cubs fans. See, they are conditioned to how lousy this team is, so it won’t come as any shock. Imagine if a Yankees fan bought the team, why that person might not realize how comforting it is to have an awful baseball team, and to keep it that way. You know, the way everybody likes.
Also, every dollar the Cubs make is either going to help pay Rudy Jaramillio, or to clean the bathrooms. Or sometimes, both. Man, Rudy is going to pissed when he realizes the fine print on his contract requires him to clean the urinal troughs twice a season. (Twice more than they were cleaned in any season since 1949.
Coming off of our 97 win performance in 2008, we expected 2009 to be an even better year. On Opening Day, we fielded a team with eight All Stars from the previous year, the 2008 Rookie of the Year and the 2008 Manager of the Year. Like you and almost every member of the media, we expected to win the
National League Central division for a third consecutive year and play for a World Championship in October.
Hell, who wasn’t surprised that a team that has lost nine straight playoff games would regress from a 97 win season, especially when the only efforts to make the team better included singing a 5’2 inch middle infielder, a sociopath rightfielder and trading for a medicore closer? If that didn’t seem like a recipe for greatness, well then what does?
We did not reach our goals however and finished with a disappointing record of 83-78. Not long ago, there might have been some comfort in playing above .500 and finishing in second place. Those days are over. Success will only be defined by winning a championship and we are committed to finishing the job.
By “not long ago” I mean, of course the letters I wrote you in 2005 and 2008.
There were bright spots in 2009. The pitching staff put together a solid year, led by our starters who produced 94 quality starts€”the second highest total in the NL. The bullpen ranked second in the NL in opponents€™ batting average and fifth in save percentage. Rookie Randy Wells paced the team with 12 wins and a 3.05 ERA. Offensively, Derrek Lee had a tremendous year, finishing with 35 home runs, 36 doubles and 111 RBI.
The bullpen ranked second in NL batting average because it led the NL in walks. When a rookie wins 12 games and leads your team you had a shitty year, and hey look, Derrek Lee!
The work has begun to improve the ballclub for 2010 and we expect to return to the playoffs next year. Since Lou Piniella took over in 2007, our overall record of 265-219 ranks second in the National League (only Philadelphia has been better). Our home record of 145-97 is best among all NL teams during that three year span.
We’re working on it! Rudy Jaramillo! Did we mention him?
Just because the Phillies have won two pennants, a World Series and 20 more playoff games than us over that same span, doesn’t mean we’re not as good as they are! And hey, you got to sing “Go Cubs Go!” 145 times in the last three years. Neat-o!
Wrigley Field Improvements
With the support of the Ricketts family, we are investing substantially this off season to improve Wrigley Field. Our concession operations are being reviewed and you will see new product choices and new points of sale in 2010. A new club will open on the left €“field side of the mezzanine suite level and the Captain Morgan€™s Club will be reconfigured to provide more sheltered seating and additional outdoor space.
Just because the team isn’t going to be any good shouldn’t keep you from enjoying some of our new concession offerings this year. We plan on cooking the hot dogs this year! Well, most of them. And we’re going to open another new club that doesn’t have any views of the field, so when Ryan Theriot is being picked off second base again, you won’t have to see it because you’ll be too busy waiting in line for a $17 Heineken! Did we mention Rudy Jaramillo?
Much-needed expansion plans are underway for both our men€™s and women€™s washrooms and many of those that are not being expanded will be remodeled. Our historic scoreboard, long in need of restoration, is being refaced to improve its appearance. We are also replacing and adding televisions to improve viewing throughout the ballpark.
Like I said before, Rudy is going to be cleaning the piss troughs, and we’re painting the scoreboard so you can watch us put the line score up and see that the Cubs are losing again more vividly! Oh, and we went to a Black Friday sale and bought two 22″ Dynex flat screens!
As important as our immediate projects, we are moving forward with a number of long range projects that will substantially improve the Wrigley experience, including the construction of a multi-purpose facility west of the ballpark and a more generous renovation of suites.
We’ve been talking about building a new facility with offices and a batting cage in it for 15 years, and we still haven’t done a damned thing about it. And now we’re going to renovate some of our suites so that you can pay even more for a metal box that hangs awkwardly under the upper grandstand.
Season Ticket Location Upgrades
One of the requests we hear most often from our season ticket holders is for improvement of your seating location. For 2010, we are creating 700 new season ticket locations which will first be offered to season ticket holders to consider for relocation purposes. These seats include club boxes formerly held by Tribune Company and seats that were unallocated following our various seating expansions.
We’ve jacked up the prices on seats that we used to give to ourselves and now you can pay through the nose to sit in them! Holy crap, we are awesome. I think you agree. Oh, but if you still want to pay $60 to sit on a piece of wood 450 feet from home plate, you can! If we keep pretending the most overpriced seats in sports are really neat, you’ll keep buying them!
The relocation process is detailed in the enclosed fact sheet so please review this information before calling your season ticket representative. Unfortunately, we will not be allowing for an increase in the number of your season tickets, as the 120,000 people on the season ticket waiting list will be provided access to your vacated seats after the relocation program concludes.
Oh, if you are thinking of complaining about your seats, or threatening to not renew them, I thought I’d subtly point out that 120,000 dopes are licking their chops to get their hands on your seats. So don’t mess with us! Tee hee, tee hee!
Season Ticket Pricing
For 2010, prices are essentially unchanged for 50% of our tickets. This follows holding ticket prices unchanged for 33% of our inventory in 2008. For 2010, we did raise ticket prices in our most desired locations however and because those locations are reserved for our season ticket holders, it is likely you
will see an increase.
Hey, we’re only jacking up the prices on half of our seats this year, and we only did it on 67% of the seats after last year. We are so benevolent. But hey, Rudy Jaramillo’s not going to pay for himself! (Well, not until he gets to the last line of that contract.)
We understand price increases are unpopular and we will continue pursuing other revenues to finance our operations, including appropriate marketing sponsorships, new media offerings, Wrigley Field tours, other sporting events and concerts. We are also supportive of your use of Stub Hub to underwrite your season ticket purchases and know up to 25% of our ticket inventory traded via Stub Hub for certain games last year, at prices that were a multiple of face value.
Hey, why do you care if we raise ticket prices? We know you are all selling them again anyway! Because we know you are selling them for more than we were making you pay, we’ve decided that you basically gave us permission to raise ticket prices. This is your fault. And don’t you forget it. And did I mention Rudy Jaramillo and 120,000 people on the season ticket wait list? I did?
As the amusement taxes you pay have increased over time, including again for 2010, we have broken out the amusement tax portion of your season ticket invoice so you know where your resources are going.
Mayor Daley, Pat Quinn and Barack Obama raised your amusement taxes again. But are you surprised? They’re all White Sox fans!
Season Ticket Holder Amenities
We hope you have taken advantage of the season ticket holder Web site (www.cubs.com/sth), which was constructed last year at the suggestion of season ticket holders attending one of our Tell it To the Cubs luncheons. Our meetings with you at those luncheons have been invaluable to our efforts to improve your experience at Wrigley Field. They will continue in 2010 and we hope you will consider attending.
Actually the STH at the end of that Web address doesn’t stand for Season Ticket Holders, it stands for Shit Taking Humps, because that’s what you are. We dish it out and you take it! I love you idiots! I’m going to name one of my yachts after you.
Oh, and we’re changing the name of our “Tell it To the Cubs” luncheons. Let’s try “Tell it To the Cubs Without Calling Me a Douchebag” luncheon this year. Deal?
Last year, season ticket holders used the Web site to access tickets for the NHL Winter Classic, Cubs spring training games, concerts and our exhibition games in new Yankee Stadium. We will continue providing you with early access to all of our special events in 2010.
Remember how we offered up like 200 tickets for the Winter Classic? And this year we’re having a huge concert again. If you thought Rascal Flatts was awesome, just wait until you see Hall and Oates rock the ivy!
We hope you will continue your support of Cubs baseball by renewing your season tickets for 2010. To do so, please return the enclosed renewal form to us by mail or fax on or before December 18, 2009, or send us an e-mail at email@example.com stating you intend to renew. A deposit is not required at this time but payment in full is due by January 8, 2010.
You don’t need to give us a deposit, just pay the whole damned thing in the next five weeks or we’ll give them to one of the 120,000 morons who want a crack at your seats. Oh, and feel free to use the Square D fax line in the booth to send in your check. Isn’t technology grand?
To retain your seats, it is imperative we hear from you by December 18, 2009.
If you don’t call, fax or e-mail us by then well, we’ll have no choice but to either sell your tickets to somebody else or charge you double to get them back. I’m not even making this up! It sounds like I am, but I’m not. Tee hee, tee hee!
Please also provide your updated email address at your convenience at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email address is the most efficient way to communicate with you regarding Cubs news and in-season updates, including changes in game times.
Please give us your e-mail address, because we make pretty good money selling it to Peter Francis Geraci and to any number of boner pill companies.
Once again, thank you for supporting the Chicago Cubs. We are committed to earning your loyalty in everything we do. Please do not hesitate to contact your Ticket Office representative if you have any questions.
Thanks for gleefully taking it up the rump again this year. And don’t call me, call Mark McGuire. I’m too busy trying to bill a condo in Naples, Florida to the Rickettses.