MESA, Ariz. (AP) Now that his Chicago Cubs are champions for the first time in 108 years, owner Tom Ricketts is thinking far bigger: He wants to be the best organization globally.
A recent trip to Monaco to accept an award for top sports team in the world reminded Ricketts just how many people love the Cubs and are overjoyed to see them end a drought dating to 1908.
”There’s no more history we have to worry about,” he said.
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Ricketts addressed the defending World Series champs on Saturday, when their scheduled first full-squad workout of spring was rained out.
”I say, `Whatever you did last year just keep doing it,”’ Ricketts said at the club’s spring training complex. ”From my standpoint it was thanks. It was the first time we’ve ever gathered since. It was a nice chance for me to thank the players on behalf of the organization, on behalf of the family, on behalf of all the fans. I also said I think we have the unique opportunity to not only be considered one of the great sports teams in the U.S. but I just got back from Europe and I think our long-term goal should be considered one of the great sports organizations in the world.”
Dozens of fans donning Cubs gear braved the rain in the Arizona desert to get a glimpse of the champs Saturday, waiting for them to come outside after all the work was done inside.
”We’ve won one World Series, hopefully you want to be in the mix again for many years to come,” he said. ”That’s what you associate success with. If you look at the Yankees of 15 years ago, the Patriots of today, they’re just always right in the mix. … I’d like to think that one day, if we’re consistent enough and if we win, that Cubs logo will mean something to people around the world – not just a team that didn’t win for a long time.”
Ricketts said the championship rings are designed and the trophy will be on display at Wrigley Field this season so fans can get up close and take photos.
”It’s probably the most photographed trophy in the history of baseball,” he said.
Just like manager Joe Maddon and the players have already said, Ricketts stressed how Chicago now must push forward and focus on building off the momentum for 2016 with the expectations of another special October run. Then another after that.
”It’s certainly cooler after you win. There were a couple years that weren’t as cool,” Ricketts said. ”It’s just a great feeling. One of the things that I said in the room just a minute ago with the players was we’re all just blessed to be in a situation where we can be a little part in something that means so much to so many people. This offseason was really incredible, but we also have to turn the page and start looking at 2017 now.”