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Archives for : theo epstein

Chicago Cubs Tickets Sales and Attendance Hopes to Rebound in 2012

Chicago Cubs Starlin CastroGetting a ticket to see the Chicago Cubs play at historic Wrigley Field is typically not an easy task.  The Cubs regularly sell out the ballpark and games against rivals such as the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals demand premium dollar in the secondary ticket market.  However, last year you couldn’t pay fans to head down to the “Friendly Confines”.  Although the Cubs sold over 3 million tickets (> 37,000 per game) by mid-summer Wrigley Field was half empty during most games.

However, there is hope for Cubs fans and ticket brokers alike as we head into the 2012 season.  The Chicago Cubs have made some major moves this off season – most notably the hiring of former Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.  Fans are hoping that Theo can help the Cubs break their 103 year World Series drought much like he helped Boston.  It might not happen this year as the Cubs are clearly in a rebuilding mode but they are already starting to acquire pieces of a championship puzzle and clearing out some bad seeds.  Former faces of the organization Aramis Ramirez (signed with the Brewers) and Carlos Zambrano (traded to the Miami Marlins for Chris Volstad) are gone and in are of David DeJesus, Ian Stewart, Reed Johnson, Travis Wood, and intriguing 1st base prospect Anthony Rizzo.

The Cubs opening day lineup likely isn’t going to instill fear in any opponent but it is clear a long term plan is in place.  All-star shortstop Starlin Castro is clearly the new face of the franchise and will be joined by C Geovany Soto, 2B Darwin Barney, 3B Ian Stewart, and likely Bryan 1B LaHair in the infield.  The outfield, as it stands now will feature Alfonso Soriano in right field, Marlon Byrd in center, and a platoon of David DeJesus and Reed Johnson in right.  The rotation will consist of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, and Randy Wells/Casey Coleman.  Although the Cubs didn’t go after any of the marque free agents (Puljols, Fielder, Jose Reyes, etc.), Cub fans are a loyal bunch and as long as things are headed in the right direct they will support their team.

So while the Cubs may not be all that good in 2012, there is plenty of buzz surrounding the franchise and that is usually good for ticket sales. Below is a list of 2012 Chicago Cubs games that should generate plenty of fan interest.

2012 Chicago Cubs Schedule Highlights

4/5/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Washington Nationals (Opening Day)
4/23 to 4/25/2012 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals
5/18 to 5/20/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox
6/12 to 6/14/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Detroit Tigers
6/15 to 6/17/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Boston Red Sox
7/17 to 7/19/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Miami Marlins (Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano return to Chicago)
7/27 to 7/29/2012 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals
8/27 to 8/30/2012 Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers
9/21 to 9/23/2012 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals

Chicago Baseball GM Shake Up!

Let’s talk a little baseball, eh?  Not about the October playoffs specifically, but what’s going down in Chicago.  I’m talking about the signing of Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox as the next GM of the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs fans are buzzing with anticipation knowing Epstein’s track record with the Red Sox.  The Red Sox used to be in the same position the Cubs are in currently, WAAAAAAAYYYYY too many decades passed without a World Series to call their own.  Epstein steps in and wham-bam, in less than a decade two world series under their belts.

On November 25, 2002, he became the youngest GM in the MLB history at the ripe old age of 28.  Two short years later, the Red Sox won their first World Series Championship.  Three years later, the team wins yet another.  Epstein might be young, but the guy certainly seems to know what he’s doing.  On October 11th, 2011, he signed a five-year contract worth $20 million.

With Epstein being given almost free reign to do what he pleases with the Cubs, there are many possibilities.  Going for him are the facts that he doesn’t have to compete with the pocketbooks of the likes of the Yankees nor with an overly involved media like in Boston.  Starting with this offseason fans can expect the Cubs to be active in trades and free agency, especially for a power hitting first baseman. Also, there are a number of starting pitchers that can be brought in like C.J. Wilson that can help bring this team to be a real competitor in his first season.  Epstein has a real knack for finding talent in the draft and then have them come up in the ranks and bring the team big wins.

As if the Cubs weren’t excited enough, new news is starting to emerge.  According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Cubs want to renew ties with Ryne Sandberg.

According to the Sun-Times, “sources close to the Cubs, along with those close to Sandberg, have said in recent weeks that they expect reconciliation this off-season.” The Cubs and Sandberg have not discussed the situation of late but all of that is expected to change once Epstein is officially in place.

It is not clear if Sandberg could be a new manager or if he would hold a prestigious spot on the Cubs’ coaching staff.

On the other side of town, the Chicago White Sox have been scrambling a bit since Ozzie Guillen was shipped to South Beach before the 2011 season even ended.  He was quickly replaced with former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura.  Ventura spent 10 years with the White Sox and is very familiar with them, but he lacks experience as a manager.  Guillen was never a warm fuzzy GM with his players or with the media or anyone else for that matter.  Ventura gets the privilege of going in there with a clean slate and all the possibilities in the world.

What we do know, is the 2012 Chicago baseball scene will be very, very different than what is was in 2011, and thank goodness for that!