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  1. #1
    Its 2016. Poker is Dead NeilZelkin's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    The Chicago Cubs---On Tilt for over a Century----With no calm in sight

    I have been a die hard Cubs Fan for over 40 years. To express my feelings about that I have written the owner, Tom Ricketts a letter



    Dear Tom,



    When you and your family plunked down nearly a billion dollars to purchase the Cubs and its iconic ballpark several years ago you inherited a franchise that could guarantee its owner two things every season, a source of income for a field, and inevitable failure on it. During the last 30 years, players have come and gone and hall of fame careers have been launched and concluded. A dozen or so men, some colorful like Piniella and Baker, some forgettable like Essian and Franks all arrived fully intending to lead those lovable losers to that long awaited championship only to exit empty-handed. Yet, for many reasons, some of which may never really be known, Wrigley Field has enjoyed 30 years of loyal fans flocking to the friendly confines with a devotion more closely resembling a religious pilgrimage to Mecca than a trip to watch a generally mediocre baseball team perform while scanning the bleachers for the excellent looking female fan base that loves to fill the bleachers.

    It wasn?t exactly a blue print that any other sports franchise in the world could hope to replicate but the Cubs, despite their lack of winning on the field, perfected the art of achieving immense popularity among fans regardless. To the rest of the world, Cubs fans must have looked like mindless fools who burn money by blindly following their team on its annual march toward elimination from World Series contention before the season is 80 games old.

    However, Chicago is not the rest of the world. I am also fairly certain that the vast majority of Cubs fans are not mindless fools with a life so devoid of entertainment they will spend their money on absolutely anything like say a resident Minot, N.D. who come mid-Feb would probably buy tickets to watch an indoor bass tournament in the pool at the local high school.

    In reality, the team, the field, and the fans have spent the past several decades in a precarious quest for cultural equilibrium. It started with the rediscovery of Wrigley Field by Cubs fans in the 80?s. Wrigleyville, fed off this wave by gentrifying into one Chicago?s most prosperous neighborhoods and the team likewise profited by increased revenue and popularity.

    Wrigley Field was the hook used by the Cubs to catch its fans and not new found success. Yes, the magical 1984 season gave the Cubs growing popularity national legitimacy but another five years passed before their next playoff visit yet attendance at Wrigley Field increased every single year. The Tribune understood that Wrigley Field, not the team itself was driving the attendance bus and steadily raised the prices of tickets and ballpark concessions to capitalize. Ownership knew they controlled a captive audience generational in nature and the loyalty of such a fan base makes the year-to-year success of the Cubs less important than it is for most other teams lacking such deep roots.

    As the 80?s moved into the 90?s the Tribune kept exploiting this fan loyalty with higher prices at the gate that they justified by throwing wads of money at stiffs like while letting a homegrown guy like Greg Maddux walk the year after a CY young. Alternatively, by keeping a few popular players around for years and years while the rest of the roster seemed to turn over season after season.

    The fans, while restless for a winner, could go into every year paying higher ticket prices knowing that they had a chance to make that season a special season. With Sandburg, Dawson, Grace, Sosa, Wood or whoever else made up the handful of core-established veterans that the roster would always seemingly contain, the appearance of competitiveness inevitably accompanied the Cubs up from Arizona to start the season.

    Then the Cubs turned the page on a new century and suddenly found themselves in a new unfamiliar position of being the bigger draw than the ballpark. The players lived up to this expectation by making it within one game of their first World Series visit in 60 yrs. But they didn?t make it, instead the Cubs managed to choke, fumble and cry their shot at a title away in one of the most gut wrenching, heartbreaking collapses in Major League History. They have followed that up with two more trips to the playoffs in the next several years only to be swept out both times.

    Undying support and eternal optimism, even among a fandom spanning generations has its limits. Especially when new franchises like the Diamondbacks and Marlins, relative babies in comparison to the age of the Cubs, have managed to take home a World Series title or two.

    It could be said that becoming a Cubs fan entitles you to a lifetime of unfulfilled hopes and vanquished dreams making that eventual title so much more satisfying. But then you add highest ticket prices in the league, the gross overcommcerialzation of every aspect of the Wrigley Field experience in order to suck every single penny of revenue from its brick and Ivy, and then send out a team filled with cast offs and untested youngsters that is a lot to ask of any fan base even one as forgiving and supportive as the Cubs.

    I know your family paid a lot of money for the Cubs and that money allows you to do what you want. It is your team, technically. A few more years like the ones to start your ownership tenure and it really will be your team because everyone else will be gone. When you charge your patrons the highest average ticket price in baseball and so overtly grab any kind of revenue legally possible you are sending a signal to the fans that the Cubs are a top-five team that competes annually for playoff berths and titles. So to present the train wrecks of the last two years with another rebuilding year this season you might as well slap us in the face because you already have.

    Kansas City rebuilds. Cincinnati rebuilds. Seattle rebuilds. Teams with the revenue streams, teams like the Cubs, should never rebuild when their fans are paying for a far better product. So Tom you best understand that your are coming close to doing what was recently thought impossible to do, making a ticket to a Cubs game a hard to sell for face value. Tom Ricketts the man who killed the golden goose.

    Disgustedly yours,

    Neil Zelkin

  2. #2
    PokerOwned God
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    Dec 2011
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    ouch. bring back steroids in chitown only... sosa too. loloololololollollllllllllllllll

  3. #3
    Its 2016. Poker is Dead NeilZelkin's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    510
    The season is ending and I have had precious little to talk about. Hey at least we will not lose 100 games again. PUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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