August 2, 2022
Cubs, Chelsea and Ricketts family: What it all means

If you’re like me, you can’t, maybe even don’t want to, follow every sport going on at any given time, even locally, seriously. It’s too hard to juggle. There are too many deeply important things happening that have nothing to do with sport, such as the war in Europe, the growing divide within our own nation and Wordle.

Generally speaking, I go all-in on one or two sports at a time and fake the rest. It’s the truth. Do me a favor and don’t tell my bosses.

Some of us may be used to leaving college basketball season behind and jumping straight into baseball. Or, recently in Chicago, perhaps, throwing in the towel on the Bulls and/or Blackhawks and turning to baseball. I always appreciate baseball for being there – ready and waiting – not only with spring training games and storylines as soothing background noise throughout March Madness, but also with the early days of the regular season. nestled in this ideal location between the Elite Eight and the Final Square.

Almost always do this. Lockdown has pushed back opening day by just over a week, which isn’t huge but still disappointing and rather unromantic.

And speaking of unromantic: Hello again, Cubs.

These days, the Cubs are as adorable as a prolonged cold front and as promising as a blown shoe. They don’t tickle our fancy so much as they test it. Do they really have to come back from Arizona? Why bother? Wouldn’t it be more fan-friendly to stay there until they’re ready to perform as a major market contender again?

You can’t spell “Schwindel” without the WIN, but it’s still very hard to get excited about this Cubs roster. They signed Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, which would be a more exciting development if the writing wasn’t on the wall that All-Star receiver Willson Contreras could soon head for Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle. Schwarber. , that is, somewhere — anywhere — elsewhere. They signed starting pitcher Marcus Stroman, which is not the same, at least on the surface, as bringing in a Jon Lester or a Yu Darvish.

Outfielders Ian Happ and Jason Heyward are still there, but is that a good thing? The new rotation includes a Miley, a Smyly, and possibly a Wiley, though that final name may be a figment of my imagination.

That doesn’t seem like much beyond one of the wealthiest franchises in American sports trying to get its cake and eat it too, as it turns its baseball stadium and surrounding area into a gigantic piggy bank. while living in the same payroll neighborhood as the Rockies, Brewers and Tigers, to name a few.

And then there is the whole history of Chelsea.

Good heavens, talk about appalling.

It’s hard to conceive of a worse set of optics than kicking out all your star players and ending the 2021 season — after laying off dozens of paycheck-to-paycheck employees — for then make an offer on a Premier League club that would be worth between $3 billion and $4 billion, like the Cubs.

How does the Ricketts family explain this one? They can not. But we can do our friends in London a favor and offer a little explanation – a translation, rather – of what a Ricketts property would mean to Chelsea supporters.

For example, when a Ricketts says, “I deeply regret and apologize for some of the trades,” that’s certainly not a reference to the Fans’ Championship hero salary dumping deals. It may just be horribly embarrassing email leaks.

When a Ricketts cites ‘biblical defeats’, it’s not about being beaten on the pitch by age-old rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. It’s just your cue to kindly forget about being anywhere near the top of the table for a while.

“We’re focused on building our next big team” basically means, “What do you think we can find for this bag of lightly used footballs?”

How about “Breathe deeply”? That’s what Tom Ricketts encouraged fans to do after being booed at the 2020 Cubs Convention. Londoners, it’s a “Hey look, your shoes are untied!” diversionary tactic. Or as a footballer might sum it up, “Hey look, your shoes are untied!” Either way, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the prize.

And this, the other day: “Our family rejects all forms of hatred in the strongest possible terms.” This is more than a statement to allay the concerns of Chelsea players and rooters over the sectarian ramblings of patriarch Joe Ricketts. It also means: we’re here for the gold, not the goals, and we don’t care how much you can’t stand it.

No, it’s not very romantic at all. It’s like that.

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