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(WSCR) When Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts shocked the baseball world and snatched Theo Epstein from Boston, he made it very clear his team was committed to winning.
The five-year contract worth north of $18 million for Epstein was even further proof that the Ricketts family wasn’t messing around. Now, as the Cubs prepare for their first opening day under Epstein and Co., fans will get their first glimpse at the new brand of Cubs baseball.
“They sat down and they went through every aspect of the game for hours,” Ricketts told The Mully and Hanley Show. “There was a five-hour meeting on base running. Out of that, they wrote down things that they wanted to make sure that every player knew was important. Even right down to the terms we used. They’ll be the same all the way from rookie ball, instructional-type stuff down in Arizona, all the way through the big league club. It’s all on paper. It’s not just ‘Let’s try to get these guys to take more pitches.’ It’s ‘OK, here’s what we’re going to do … Here’s how what we’re going to call this … Here’s what we’re going to call that.’ Every hitting instructor is going to try to teach the kids the same way. … It’s a big, big book. It’s not just like a mission statement. That’s got to help with our player development. We’re going to draft great guys. We have a big draft coming up this year and then we’re going to coach them and train them the best way possible.”
LISTEN: Tom Ricketts on The Mully and Hanley Show
Ricketts also discussed the unique managerial style of new manager Dale Sveum.
“One of the things you’re going to see and one of the things that Dale really stressed in spring training was, ‘Look, I’m not going to yell at you for striking out. That happens. But if there’s something in the game that we can control, we’re going to be good at it,’” Ricketts said. “That’ been his emphasis in spring training.
“If you give up an out, an easy out early in the game, people don’t understand the ripple effect of missing a cut-off man and letting a runner go from first to second. Then, you’ve got a pitcher that has to face another batter. It just affects the whole game. Our coaches get it and I think we’ll be better at doing those things the right way.”
To give Epstein the maximum resources, Ricketts has begun a quest to receive public funding – a plan he says is in the works.
“We’ve had these conversations going on for awhile,” Ricketts said. “Nothing is final, but the good news is that everyone is kind of rolling in the same direction, trying to think of the best solution – something that’s a big win for the city, big win for the state and will help the team. I think we’ll get it there somewhere, I’m not sure what date that is or what that will look like, but I think we’ll get there.”