Results tagged ‘ Ricketts family ’
Everyone is still buzzing about this afternoon’s panel on the proposed Wrigley Field restoration—here are the images to show just how exciting it all is. Renderings were provided by the Chicago Cubs. Thanks for all your support of the Vine Line blog today. Check back tomorrow for updates from Sunday’s panels and a few more images of Wrigley Field’s bright future under the Ricketts family.
The entire Cubs organization had a blast thanking fans for their tremendous support and attendance throughout the 2010 season. On Sunday, everyone from players to seasonal associates to executives chipped in to give our personal gratitude.
Players took a lap around the field and threw autographed baseballs into the crowd, like Carlos Marmol above. Ryan Dempster perched himself at third base and chucked baseballs as far as the upper deck. The fan response was tremendous.
Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts split up between all of Wrigley Field’s gates and were joined by front office associates to welcome fans before the game. I saw a number of people getting their tickets, jerseys and promotional Kernel Fabyan’s popcorn buckets signed by the Rickettses. Our team photographer, Stephen Green, captured Todd later walking around terrace reserved handing out signed-and-dated baseballs to kids, something ownership has been quietly doing all season long.
After the game, Mike Quade walked along the third base line to sign autographs and take photos with anyone whom asked.
The last game of the season was bittersweet: On the one hand, it’s always great to have an opportunity to celebrate the Cubs’ special bond with their fans, especially under the new ownership’s fan-friendly focus. On the other, it was hard not to look around the ballpark — the ivy changing color, the packed house, the organ music and the other little details that tend to slip by in the middle of the season — and want just another day or series or month to the season.
Hey, at least we have the 26th Cubs Convention in just 108 days. (Individual passes go on sale soon, but hotel rooms at the Hilton Chicago — with heavily discounted passes — are available now.)
— Sean Ahmed
More of Steve’s photos below the jump.
Should Opening Day be a holiday? Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny thinks so:
“If you love baseball, when Opening Day comes around, it’s a great feeling. It’s awesome for us as players. I think of when I was younger. I was always excited because I would try to get out of school and run home as quick as I can to watch baseball the rest of the day. That was a fun time. It was almost like a holiday for me. It should be a holiday.”
Here’s the day in photos, from the lens of Stephen Green.
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Gosh, I’m knackered.
You know that all-over body ache that you get after pushing yourself an extra few miles on a run? (No? Well, I don’t really, either, but can glimpse the day-after pain nonetheless.)
Capturing video of the Ricketts family’s first home opener has left me similarly exhausted but also buzzing from seeing the hands-on tour the team’s new owners took in and around Wrigley Field. Team photographer Stephen Green and I started at 6 a.m., when we gathered our gear for the first stop, Harry Caray’s Tavern. Tom and Laura Ricketts kicked off the family’s media tour there in front of a raucous, packed house on the Eric & Kathy Morning Show. Next were WGN Radio, ESPN’s Mike and Mike, as well as an appearance by Todd and Pete Ricketts on Lin Brehmer’s WXRT morning radio program. Total, there were about 10 interviews, all before 10 a.m.
The most frequently asked question went something like this: “Now, if I owned the Cubs, I’d be saying this guy is batting fourth and jumping out there to make pitching changes. So as Cubs fans, how are you going to handle daily operations?”
All of the Ricketts siblings laughed and then replied that, while it was a dream to own the team, they have developed a lot of trust in the people in charge and won’t be exerting any direct control over baseball operations.
That said, their fingerprints were all over the stadium on Opening Day. From the renovated stadium exterior and bathrooms to the expanded food options, there was a lot new and improved to the familiar “Friendly Confines.”
The Ricketts family also put a personal face to the team’s win, walking around during the middle innings to hand out autographed balls, shake hands, take photos and get first-hand impressions from fans. Steve and I followed Tom and Laura, as they split up the lower and upper decks and bleachers with Todd and Pete.
But after rushing through all the back alleys of Wrigley Field to get to the press box in time for the family to conduct the seventh-inning stretch, it hit us just how neat this day was. We got to trail four big Cubs fans throughout a day that amounted to the celebration of another spring, a Cubs win and a new era in the team’s storied history.
And it’s pretty amazing that they seemed to have enough energy to “play two.”
— Sean Ahmed
Lucky wristband No. 3300 started the box office line at Wrigley Field today, and I imagine thousands more of you are sitting in the comfort of your home or office snapping up seats right now.
Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts served coffee and greeted fans as they waited through the frigid cold to snap up those last tickets to Opening Day and series against the White Sox and Cardinals.
The Ricketts family shook hands and talked to fans for over an hour — and they’re in the same boat as us.
“Hey, we’re getting closer,” Tom Ricketts said. “Opening Day is just around the corner. It’s very, very exciting.
“It’s great to meet the fans because we are fans,” he added. “It’s really natural for us to come out and shake hands and talk to people. The best part of all of that is everyone is just very excited. Everybody just wants to get to the season.”
Though fans were briskly ushered through the Wrigley Field concourse, Tom said he is excited for fans to see the extensive renovations of Wrigely Field.
“We’re doing a lot. Everything we could identify that could be done by Opening Day we really attacked. The best thing is I want to talk to people after they’ve had a chance to see a few games and hope they feel that the changes have been worthwhile. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
Well, I guess we should start the countdown to the home opener: 52 days.
— Sean Ahmed
Photos by Jennifer Dedes Nowak. Subscribe to Vine Line.