Cubs

Tom Ricketts explains why Cubs decided to give Steve Bartman a World Series ring

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AP

Tom Ricketts explains why Cubs decided to give Steve Bartman a World Series ring

Steve Bartman's name will live in infamy forever, but at least he has something only a couple thousand people can say: A Cubs 2016 World Series ring.

Bartman was one of the most head-scratching choices to receive one of the 1,908 rings the Cubs handed out last year. The most notorious fan in Cubs history obviously didn't do anything to aid the 2016 Cubs in their pursuit to reverse the curse and win a championship.

So why give him a ring? 

At the time, the Cubs called it goodwill, hoping to bury the ugly incidents throughout the 108 years of World Series futility.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was actually against giving Bartman a ring initially.

"I give credit to [Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney]," Ricketts said Saturday at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. "He came to me and said, 'You know, we should give Steve a ring to acknowledge what we've been through.'

"At first, I was like, our whole thing is to not look back. Stop worrying about what happened and worry about moving forward and the future. But Crane made a good case and the logistics side for us to add some closure."

So Ricketts, Kenney and Theo Epstein sat down to hash out the details.

"I think it was a good moment for the organization," Ricketts said. "I mean, the poor guy. True diehard fan. Reguarlarly attended games, coached baseball. Hopefully now he can feel like he's back in the family."

That "family" characteristic is one that Ricketts holds dear, classifying all Cubs fans as part of the "family." Ricketts also said Saturday Ronnie Woo Woo is part of the Cubs "family" despite a dispute between Woo Woo and the Cubs last year that involved the unofficial mascot getting kicked out of Wrigley Field for not having a ticket.

Ricketts hopes Bartman can get back into baseball now and not have to remain in hiding. As the Cubs owner pointed out, Bartman wasn't the only fan who reached his hand out for that 2003 foul ball, but was the only one unfortunate enough to make contact.

Ricketts added a mic-drop one-liner about how Alex Gonzalez botched a routine ground ball immediately after Bartman's accidental gaffe:

"Of course, he didn't fail to turn the double play three minutes later."

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

NBC Sports Chicago’s own Kelly Crull and videographer Scott Changnon recalled what All-Star week in the nations capitol was like from their point of view.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

 

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

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USA TODAY

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

What Chicago sports team is worth the most money in 2018?

As reported by Kurt Badenhausen in a Forbes article about the 50 richest teams around the globe, the Cubs are the most valuable organization in the Windy City.

Chicago’s North Side baseball team ranks as the 16th wealthiest team in the world, valued at $2.9 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2017. The Cubs are the third-most affluent franchise in Major League Baseball, behind the New York Yankees ($4 billion) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($3 billion).

This year, the baseball club owned by the Ricketts family surpassed the wealth of the Boston Red Sox ($2.8 billion), who the Cubs were ranked behind last season at $2.68 billion. In the span of a year, the North Siders gained two spots in the top 50 from 18 to 16 on the list.

What could be the reason for this increase?

Could it be that the Cubs are in first place in the NL Central? Or could it be the incredible performances from players like Jon Lester and Javy Baez?

Whatever the reason is for the Cubs’ prosperity, the team is doing something right.

The club also surpassed the Bears on the list this year. In 2017 the Bears (worth $2.7 billion last year) were tied with the Red Sox as the 16th most valuable sports team on Earth. The McCaskey-owned football team has fallen to a tie at 17 with the San Francisco Giants, both valued at $2.85 billion in 2018. The Bears even increased by 6 percent in the last year, making the Cubs’ jump seem greater.

The Bulls, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, are the last team from Chicago to make the cut. They stand at 23 in the top 50, tied with the Denver Broncos. Both franchises are worth $2.6 billion. Chicago’s NBA team even fell a spot from 2017, but they still increased their value by 4 percent (worth $2.5 billion last year).

The Bears are the seventh richest team in the NFL, while the Bulls are fourth wealthiest in the NBA.