(CBS) Two days after his Cubs clinched their first World Series berth in 71 years, owner Tom Ricketts took a moment to reflect how far the organization has come since his family took over in late 2009.
And to be certain, he has a long memory about all the work it took, from the baseball operations overhaul, talent acquisition, physical infrastructure work, public relations and everything else that went into transforming a "lovable losers" tag into a winning culture. Particularly, Ricketts had a couple memories.
"There were two things I didn't really have a great appreciation for," Ricketts said on the Mully and Hanley Show on Monday morning. "No. 1, I had a very, very steep learning curve in Chicago politics, which was pretty much on the front page of the paper for several years. So we got through that.
"The second thing was the physical plan, the actual facilities, I had no idea that we had such facilities that were so much worse than every other team. I think that had nothing to do with the baseball guys that were here before me. Jim (Hendry) did a great job of making this a competitive team and getting to the playoffs a few times, but we didn't really invest in the future, and that wasn't really in his court. The fact is there were no dollars being spent on better facilities for the players or for the fans, for that matter. I was really disappointed when I first saw our Dominican facility. I was really horrified that we had the worst spring training facility, particularly given we're such a big part of the economics of the Cactus League. We shouldn't have to have the worst training facility. We got that addressed.
"I'd honestly never been in the locker room, the clubhouse before we were about to close on the deal. I was stunned."
All those issues have been addressed now, which Ricketts sometimes marvels at.
"We've been through a lot," Ricketts said. "You think of all the change that this organization has gone through and the repositioning of the Cubs from what they were to where we are now and everything's that gone into it. It doesn't feel fast to me, but I'm glad we're here. This was on schedule in the grand scheme in a way. Let it roll."
Listen to Ricketts' full interview below.
Tom Ricketts on the Mully and Hanley Show
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