Ricketts keeps positive outlook for Cubs
Chairman 'having a great time' in first season as owner
LOS ANGELES -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Sunday he isn't pointing fingers at anyone for the team underachieving in the first half and was still having fun in his first season as owner.
"I'm not going to assign blame to anyone or anything," Ricketts said. "The fact is we came into the season, we had what appeared to be a pretty strong lineup. It hasn't worked out for whatever reason and it seems like the guys are putting it together now and let's just keep winning."
The Cubs have the top payroll in the National League but headed into the last game of the first half of the season on Sunday 9 1/2 games back in the Central. Ricketts, who arrived Sunday and planned on attending Tuesday's All-Star Game in Anaheim, said he "had the highest level of confidence" in general manager Jim Hendry.
"The fact is right now, Jim is our general manager, I support him, I think he does a great job, and after that we'll just take it one day at a time," Ricketts said.
This is the Ricketts family's first season as the Cubs owners, having completed the purchase last October. Last week, Ricketts met with season-ticket holders at Wrigley Field to get their feedback.
"We're doing what we think we can," Ricketts said. "We've tried to support every level throughout the organization. I've been out talking to folks to see if there's anything else we can be adding to the mix. In the end, you put the guys on the field and in the right chairs and you support them and hope they do the best. That's all we can do at the moment."
As for pitcher Carlos Zambrano and his tantrum in the dugout June 25, Ricketts said it was "unfortunate."
"You just hope all the guys can always play under control," he said. "We'll put it behind us."
Monday was a deadline regarding the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Cubs and Mesa, Ariz., which is trying to put together financing to keep the team's Spring Training headquarters there.
"We're working with Mesa, we're talking to them, we're looking at trying to get a proposal that works," Ricketts said. "I'm not really focused on any type of deadlines. We're just trying to get a deal that works for everybody."
Despite the Cubs' struggles on the field, Ricketts, a life-long fan, said his first half as the team owner has been fun.
"Absolutely," Ricketts said. "I'm having a great time. It's still a lot of fun. Like any other fan, there's been frustrating days this year and and that's just the way it is. I'm having a fun time, the family is enjoying it and we're looking forward to a good second half."
There have been a few more empty seats at Wrigley Field, and if the Cubs continue to falter in the division, it will likely continue.
"Obviously, the more momentum we have, the better we're doing on the field, the more seats we'll fill," Ricketts said. "If we're winning, that will take care of itself, and that's what we're looking for."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.