For those of you who don’t know Tom Ricketts, he’s the owner of the Chicago Cubs.
This last Friday my buddy Adam had some tickets, so Finn (my 5 month old son) and I jumped on them. It’s a Chicago tradition to skip work and go to a Cubs game, so Adam, Finn, and I hopped on the Brownline toward Addison and the lovable Cubbies.
It’s Wrigley lore that Ricketts wanders the bleachers and the nosebleeds chatting it up with his customers, but I’ve never caught a glimpse of him. He’s like a white stag, that one, rumored to be wandering the Wrigley wilderness, but never caught by the huntsman.
Well, we bagged a stag.
That sounds bad.
Let’s just say, he stopped by to chat with us. Finn started yelling and making noise (it’s actually a kind of roar that he does now), prompting a passing Tom to look our way, and Adam said, “Hey, that’s Tom Ricketts!” I then unashamedly held my son up and yelled, “Yo, Tom! Your youngest fan is here!”
“Yo” is a term of endearment in Chicago, btw. It’s kind of like saying, “Excuse me, sir, can I have your attention?”
He smiled, and hiked up toward us. Adam hails from Wisconsin and was decked out in his Brewers gear, a point that he had to apologize for. You don’t stare the owner of a ball club in the face while wearing the opposing team’s standard without a bit of sheepishness, no matter how staunch a fan you are.
Finn and I were in our Cubs gear, though, a point that Tom commented on quite a bit saying, “Well, it looks like you’re raising the kid right.”
It was then that I realized he probably thought Adam and I were together, bringing our son to the game from a family of mixed allegiences. Which, in many ways, if I had a dude life-partner, Adam would be in the running. It’d be like being married to me…which is a pretty good deal.
Regardless, we’re secure enough that we didn’t need to correct him. There were more important matters at hand anyway, like chatting about the club guys coming through the pipeline. He’s optimistic about next year’s prospects, although I’m not sure it matters. The Cubs will be what the Cubs will be regardless of the players. People will pay to watch them because, well, there’s nothing like skipping work to watch a Cubs game.
He handed Finn a ball and said, “Raise him right!” I said, “Sure will, Mr. Ricketts, but you can’t hand him a ball and not sign it.” So he pulled a pen from his pocket and gave my kid his first autographed ball.
Sure, Ricketts doesn’t play. But let’s be honest, Castro will only be with the Cubs another couple of seasons, Rivers isn’t going to last long, and nobody knows who the hell Nate Schierholtz is.
But Ricketts will be with the team for a long time. As Mel Brooks says, “It’s good to be da king.”
…and good to have him sign a baseball for your son.