(CBS) A day after locking in president of baseball operations Theo Epstein to a five-year contract extension, chairman Tom Ricketts called his Cubs “the best team in baseball,” pointed out they have the “best manager in baseball” in Joe Maddon and recalled why he hired Epstein in the first place.
“Living year to year, it just wasn’t ever going to change the prospects,” Ricketts said Thursday morning on the Mully and Hanley Show.
“There’s no shortcuts.”
Then Ricketts spent a lot of time reflecting on the patience it took between himself, Epstein, the rest of the organization and the fans to reach this point, in which the Cubs are a 101-win team and the World Series favorite with the playoffs opening next week. Ricketts recalled the losing seasons of 2012, 2013 and 2014 after Epstein — hired in October 2011 — had laid out the rebuilding plan for fans.
“The fans, even in our leaner years, once we kind of said the way it was going to be and kind of laid out the plan, honestly, 19 out of like 20 people were just supportive,” Ricketts said Thursday morning on the Mully and Hanley Show. “If you just listen to call-in radio shows or if you stay in your box and don’t go talk to people, you get this perception that everyone is about to jump and everyone is super angry. But the fact was that in the park, people I talked to were supportive all the way through.”
“What I realized through the process was, those types of people that I talked to in the crowd, they were giving me support and helping me stick to the plan. While a lot of people assumed it was the opposite.
“The fans staying with the team through some pretty lean years deserve all the credit.”
Listen to Ricketts’ full interview below.