CHICAGO: Tom Ricketts, owner and Chariman of the Chicago Cubs, greets fans before the Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cubs patriarch Joe Ricketts is priming for a brutal and vulgar battle this fall. If you don't side with him, there's no reason for you to wait to join the fight.
We've all had a day to get our press release statements out on Cubs patriarch Joe Ricketts' proposed attempt to drag down the President of the United States under the collective weight of damning evidence that didn't work worth a damn the first time around. Shall we check in?
Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel:
"I don’t think that’s fitting in a campaign of any nature. You can have disagreements without being disagreeable. America is too great a country with too great a future with the content they are talking about. And it’s insulting to the president, it’s insulting to the country."
"Though (the Ricketts family) may have diverse political views, above all we love and respect each other. My own personal view is that President Obama has been a great leader in very difficult times."
"I repudiate any return to racially divisive issues in this year’s presidential campaign or in any setting—like my father has. My focus is on one of the great American pastimes, baseball. And our team and every other Major League Baseball team are great examples of people of diverse backgrounds working together towards a common goal."
"I repudiate that effort. I think it’s the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign."
President Obama campaign chairman Jim Messina:
"The blueprint for a hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination speaks for itself."
So the stories have been spun and all is resolved. Now let's just forget all this happened and concentrate on the Cubs' season. Except that's not a good idea in the best of times this year. And I just can't focus on the game right now.
Instead, I can't help but dwell on how Papa Ricketts continues to fight to win the last war. Reverend Wright and referencing his middle name? Why not remind us of Obama's illegal birth and make-out sessions with Weather Underground dorks?
It makes me re-think other decisions we've seen the family make, possibly for irrational reasons. Who's the general that won the last war in baseball: the combination of analytics and cash to win a title in a town bereft of one for damned near ever? Is the hiring of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, et al suddenly less inspired?
And what am I to think about the Cubs trading away their only African-American player last spring? Nothing, right? It's a long walk from "Barack Hussein Bogeyman" to Marlon Byrd. Except now I'm thinking about it. I don't want to even think about this when I watch baseball.
I'm thinking about all those statements above as well. I'm thinking how each prominent family member set a stake in the ground slightly separate from Dad while still expressing loyalty. How they find "one common goal": pushing for more revenue streams, especially taxpayer dollars, all ostensibly in the search for a title.
But what makes us think this family can function as a unit in this endeavor? Will we see it devolve into Steinbrennian power plays or settle into the Rocky Wirtz picture show?
And why am I (and many others) giving money and time to a series of owners (from Tribune Co. to Tribune Co. starring special guest hobbit Sam Zell to the Ricketts with a splash of Zell) actively fighting to achieve goals I cannot willingly support, from lobbying for hundreds of millions in government dollars during the most fallow time for tax receipts in memory to tearing down a president in the most vulgar ways possible for not shoveling money back into their coffers quickly enough?
Jerry Reinsdorf, bless his calculating soul, has a laser eye on the bottom line at all times and has sprinkled his cash wherever it may do him good on either side of the aisle. He also can tell you the location of every back room from here to Glendale, AZ. But he'll never tell you. Jerry Reinsdorf knows better.
Which brings me back to Papa Ricketts. He told the employees of another of his ventures, DNAinfo, in a memo last night:
"I hope you are also aware that although I feel a strong obligation as a citizen to engage politically in support of the principles I hold dear, I feel equally strongly that my personal politics should have absolutely no impact on your work as objective, fair-minded journalists."
That's tremendously even-handed of you, Joe, except their success in meeting that goal then funds your coffers to meet your narrow-minded goals of guarding your cash through any means necessary.
You want to make noise, Joe? You want to change votes? Enjoying representative democracy in action? How about we start with the turnstiles at Wrigley? Republicans buy sneakers, as Michael Jordan once said. Also, people that don't care to support racial division and political sandbagging buy $12 beers. Or stop buying them.
And that's what I'm starting to think is the answer.