Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts apologized to fans Wednesday that Wrigley Field’s bleachers won’t be ready for Opening Day.
In their place on April 5 when the Cubs play the Cardinals on national television, though, might instead be a tribute to the late Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
“We’ve got some ideas,” Ricketts said about how the Cubs will cover the incomplete bleachers. “Maybe a cool tribute to Ernie banks. But I’m not sure they’re finalized.”
Ricketts spoke for about a half hour at a City Club of Chicago event at Maggiano’s in River North.
Ricketts’ speech described the Cubs’ congruent rebuilding projects to both the ball club and to Wrigley Field, but he declined to go into much detail about the ongoing conflict between the organization and rooftop owners.
“The fact is that I really can’t talk about that,” Ricketts said. “There’s some litigation going on and right now we’re just respecting the process and moving forward.”
Rickets said he doesn’t know how much of the new outfield signage will be ready for Opening Day, but the video board in left field is expected to be up and running. The video board in right field, he said, is delayed by the bleacher construction.
The biggest on-the-field question involving the Cubs is the plan for mega prospect Kris Bryant, who has blasted nine home runs during spring training.
The Cubs are likely to send Bryant back down to the minor leagues after his super spring and call him back up a few weeks later to retain a year of control over him before reaching free agency.
Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, took the team to task on the subject Wednesday morning, telling sports host Dan Patrick that the Cubs’ decision to hold back Bryant is bad for baseball.
“I’ve got no problem with Scott Boras,” Ricketts said. “He has a right as an agent to represent his client, but we have the right as a team to make the player personnel decisions. And I’ll defer to Theo [Epstein] on what he thinks is best for Kris and for the team.”
Ricketts concluded his speech with an image of the Commissioner’s Trophy, the prize handed out to each year’s World Series champion.
Then he offered an apology in advance for the way fans behave when the Cubs reach that coveted milestone.
“If we get to the World Series, I apologize in advance for the riots,” he said over an image of rioting fans.