If this rivalry really does heat up again, Cubs board member Todd Ricketts just created some classic bulletin-board material for Mets Twitter and the New York tabloids.
Ricketts is probably best known for that “Undercover Boss” appearance and his right-wing politics. He doesn’t really have a buttoned-up personality — at least compared to brothers Tom (Cubs chairman) and Pete (Nebraska’s Republican governor).
Ricketts had the Cubs Convention audience cracking up inside a Sheraton Grand Chicago ballroom on Saturday morning, telling a story about some of his favorite moments from an unbelievable 2015 season.
“I don’t know if you guys know this, but Mets fans are really, really obnoxious,” Ricketts said during a Q-and-A session with ownership.
Ricketts explained how his French-Canadian wife, Sylvie, is a huge hockey fan who tagged along for the playoff ride, watching the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wild-card game and eliminate the St. Louis Cardinals in the divisional round.
“Even since she moved here, she’s been a bigger Blackhawks fan than a Cubs fan,” Ricketts said. “So she’s always understood the Cubs as like a family business, and she roots for the Cubs. But she didn’t have that level of emotional engagement.
“So in any case, we go to Pittsburgh and we have a great time. The energy level is great. We go to St. Louis and the fans there — they were a little more confident — but still friendly and hospitable.
“And then there was New York.”
That line drew laughter from the audience of diehard Cubs fans. For years, the Cubs and Mets have been two big-market teams on a collision course. But power hitting versus power pitching became a blowout in the National League Championship Series, the Mets never trailing during their four-game sweep.
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“Obviously, that series ended disappointingly for everyone, but we continued to watch baseball,” Ricketts said, fast forwarding to the World Series and the Mets leading the Kansas City Royals in the ninth inning of Game 5.
“My wife and I are sitting in our living room. It’s 10:30 at night. We’re in our pajamas. I don’t know if you guys remember — Matt Harvey refused to come out of the game.
“He did a show on TV. He did his own little drama on TV to show that he was the tough guy and he was going to win this game for the Mets. He went back out on the mound — and I think three batters later the Royals had scored two runs.”
The Royals would tie the game with Eric Hosmer’s heads-up hustle on a groundball, score five runs in the 12th inning and win their first World Series title since 1985.
“When Hosmer’s left hand went across home plate,” Ricketts said, “my wife jumped up, pointed at the TV and she said: ‘Screw you, Matt Harvey! Screw you, Mets fans!’
“So I’m not certain that she’s adopted baseball as her favorite sport. And I’m not certain that she still would say that the Cubs are her favorite team because she loves the Blackhawks so much. But I know this for sure: She really, really hates the Mets.”