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Tom Ricketts distances the Cubs from the anti-Obama campaign presented to his father

May 17, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Tom Ricketts

Followup from this morning’s New York Times story about Joe Ricketts being pitched to bankroll that anti-Obama campaign.  Son Tom, chairman of the Cubs, issued a statement:

“As chairman of the Chicago Cubs, I repudiate any return to racially divisive issues in this year’s presidential campaign or in any setting — like my father has,” Tom Ricketts said in the statement. “I shall have no further comment on this or any other election year political issue. My full-time focus is on making the Chicago Cubs a World Series champion preserving Wrigley Field and making the Chicago Cubs a great corporate citizen.”

I assume that “like my father has” line means that he believes his father has repudiated such politics. Which, while he is now said to have rejected that “extremely literate” black man thing mentioned this morning, he hasn’t done. The Times still reports him to be “entertaining” it and any number of other initiatives. We’ll see when Joe Ricketts either speaks or acts.*

Also notable, Tom’s sister and Joe’s daughter Laura Ricketts is a big Obama donor. She issued a statement too, supporting both Obama and her father, even if she disagrees with his politics.

I think the absolutely most notable thing about all of this is that what seems to be driving the statements the most is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s angry reaction to the Times story this morning. Apparently, as the city is in talks with the Cubs about Wrigley Field renovations, Emmanuel was none too pleased to hear that the Cubs’ patriarch is going after Emmanuel’s old boss.

Which, while understandable, is reason number 1,456 against public funding for ballparks.  If you pay your own way, you don’t have to care a lick of what partisan politicians — especially the hotheaded ones — feel about your views on the world, and then you don’t have to issue statements like Tom Ricketts just had to.

*Also, can we dispense with the notion that Joe Ricketts had no intention whatsoever in bankrolling a campaign intended to smear Obama personally? This was a slick 54-page proposal accompanied by a personal presentation. One doesn’t come off the street and pitch that kind of thing cold like Fuller brushes or Kirby vacuums. Such proposals are requested and such requests have guidelines about what they’re looking for.  I’m assuming Ricketts didn’t ask for the stuff about “an extremely literate” black man, but unless the political operatives who pitched it were the worst ever at their job, they were certainly delivering to Ricketts something in the ballpark of what he wanted to see.

  1. verytalldad - May 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    This should be a fun comment section, with lots of “extremely literate” commentators with very well thought-out and reality based comments on the President.

    • Ben - May 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      randygnyc incoming!

      • dirtfrompeedysuniform - May 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        Hopefully he’ll bring Mitzvah with him.

    • Old Gator - May 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      Good luck Tom. Your father’s hypocrisy is already lodged in your mitochondrial DNA. Here’s hoping that Rahm Emanuel forces the old fool to walk his talk for a change. Fix the stadium with your own goddamned money and let the public funds be squandered on the school system instead for a change.

  2. comeonnowguys - May 17, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    How far can he really distance himself? The team was bought at Tom’s request, but it’s basically Joe’s money.

    It is pretty hard to justify spending millions to go this far to battle government handouts, and then ask taxpayers to help fund Wrigley renovations.

    Mayor Emmanuel is one of the few people who have been in support of the renovations, and they brought in former Obama press secretary Julian Green to be the face of their renovation campaign. Joe didn’t exactly help his standing with two key people in this whole funding campaign.

    But I’m digressing. He actually went pretty strong against it, considering it’s his own father and holder of the purse strings. Still, his father’s hold on things cannot be denied.

  3. kopy - May 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Does anybody have any thoughts on why their adopted politcal party is superior to others? Generalizations of those you disagree with are preferred.

  4. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - May 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Dearest Republican strategists,
    I was really hoping this would be the election season where you attacked Obama for executing a US citizen abroad, or for the way he’s attempting to limit freedom of the press, or for any of the legitimate reasons you could attack our sitting POTUS.
    Instead, it’s more of the same “Lee” Atwater bullshit.

    • Ben - May 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM


    • verytalldad - May 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      Killing terrorists and not answering stupid questions from the Politico-style, gossipy press. Obama is AWFUL!!!!

      • Ben - May 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        Surely there’s a way to have national security without the systematic destruction of our civil liberties?

      • Francisco (FC) - May 17, 2012 at 5:46 PM

        You can have security or freedom, if you try to have a little bit of both you end up having none.

      • Ben - May 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM

        Oh, well if I have to make a false choice, then I guess I choose freedom.

  5. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Coincidentally enough, I’d suggest you assorted liberals, socialists, communists and DFH’s to pay a timely visit to today. Perfectly stunning revelation that if proven true will lead to a prosecution. Fingers crossed.

    • Ben - May 17, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      When you say liberal, what exactly do you mean? Because of course classical liberalism begins with the humanist assumption of an individual with property rights embedded in the market. Socialism as it’s typically understood still retains some elements of classical liberalism but argues certain rights override the logic of the market, while mitigating some of the individualism (although not necessarily). Communism, well, Marx of course is part of a long conversation in Western philosophy dating back at least as far as Aristotle’s discussion of exchange value vs. use value in The Politics.

      Or do you just mean the boring distinction between liberal and conservative in US politics?

      • bigharold - May 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM

        A measured logical reasoned response???

        Just what do you think your doing?

      • Marty - May 18, 2012 at 1:15 AM

        Check out the big brain on Ben.

        I think the most simple of definitions would suffice. Liberal as a member of the political left.

        But never underestimate a liberals insistence on articulating common knowledge as if it is either exclusive, or a conspiracy.

      • cleverbob - May 18, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        Actually, liberal has been co-opted by far right leaning conservatives as a dirty word to describe anyone that disagrees with them, whether they truly are liberal, moderate or just slightly less conservative.

      • Marty - May 18, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        Come to think of it, anyone right of your rank and file Occupy toe sniffer has been labeled a teabagger all up and down the democrat chain.

        Interesting times. Apparently one cant even read a baseball blog without gettin a taste of the division this country is under.

        Thanks Craig Calcaterra!

      • cleverbob - May 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        That’s hardly the case. Most of America (including the President) falls right of the Occupy movement, but no one is claiming there’s a Tea Party majority. Your exaggerations and off color tweaks do nothing to bolster your claims.

      • Marty - May 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Yes, Bob. Most Americans are right of Occupy. That was my point.

        You are as clever as you purport yourself to be.

      • cleverbob - May 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        “anyone right of your rank and file Occupy toe sniffer has been labeled a teabagger all up and down the democrat chain” does not equal “Most Americans are right of Occupy”

        If that was your point, you did a poor job of expressing it.

    • verytalldad - May 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      This is a baseball website, so I guess has to connect on at least hit of a story in 3.5 years of a presidency. So far their batting average is .000

      • lmoneyfresh - May 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        I seem to have lost my tinfoil hat. Can I still read articles on that website?

      • Marty - May 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM

        That clipping is interesting. But it doesn’t matter. It could infer he wasnt born on US soil, or it can infer he was another left bag trying to inflate his exotic disposition to gain favor among the elites.

        Democrats don’t give a shit. They’d would and are saying “who gives a fuck, he’s our man”.

        It’s moot.

    • The Common Man - May 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      Because Breitbart dot com is the very picture of accurate and responsible journalism.

      • Marty - May 18, 2012 at 1:29 AM

        Thanks for pausing Tivo reruns of Olbermann’s Current broadcasts to share that.

    • stex52 - May 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Hate to tell you, champ. Breitbart is dead. Was the information gathered in a seance?

      • verytalldad - May 18, 2012 at 1:10 AM


    • 18thstreet - May 17, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      G-d only knows what is inspiring me to go down this path, but …

      Is there any doubt who Barack Obama’s mother was — Anne Dunham — and that she was born in Kansas? Because whatever crazy conspiracy theories about book publishers and Hawaiian newspapers and the Panama Canal Zone and tinfoil hats … if a man’s mother is a U.S. citizen, he is a U.S. citizen, even if he was born in Indonesia or Kenya or Vancouver or Moscow whatever it is you idiots believe this week.

      • Kevin S. - May 17, 2012 at 8:03 PM

        While he might be a US citizen, one is still required to be born on US soil to be eligible to run for president. The birthers are lunatics, IMO, but their argument isn’t exactly that Obama’s not a citizen.

      • bigharold - May 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM

        “While he might be a US citizen, …”

        According to the history books I read Hawaii became the 50th US state on Aug 21st 1959. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4th 1961. Where doe “might” come into it.

        I get it, .. there is a certain segment of the US population that will never like the current President, but, please cease beating this deceased equine with a deceased equine!!

      • 18thstreet - May 18, 2012 at 7:33 AM

        John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and no one has ever questioned whether he was eligible to be President. So, no, you don’t have to be born on U.S. soil to be President.

    • borninfellspoint - May 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM


  6. nelsonsaint - May 17, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    The elder Ricketts should use Poochie for his next presentation.

    Literate TO THE EXTREME!!!

  7. badmamainphilliesjamas - May 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    “unless the political operatives who pitched it were the worst ever at their job ”
    …this WAS the team responsible for the “demon sheep” and Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ads.

  8. lew24 - May 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Obama is a White Sox fan so he knew that he would not get the Cub vote!

  9. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Wow, “birthers” must be pretty smart to plant that info way back in 1991. Great foresight. Hard to imagine Ba’raq didn’t approve that copy. If true, he’ll have his day with Ole’ Sparky.

    • stex52 - May 17, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      Shall we check back next week and see how your little dream scenario is going?

    • The Common Man - May 17, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      Are you seriously gleeful about the insane notion that our President, who was lawfully elected and has provided ample evidence that he was born in the United States, might face execution by electrocution? You’re a sick fuck.

      • 18thstreet - May 18, 2012 at 7:36 AM

        I like the idea that his REAL name is Ba’raq Hussein Obama, but Americanized it to something palatable like Barack Hussein Obama in order to run for office.

        Good stuff.

  10. recoveringcubsfan - May 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I am having a hard time following the logic that public funding for ballparks is bad because it would force the Cubs ownership to act like not-racists. In the universe of reasons not to pay for baseball stadiums with public money, that is the grippingest gripping I can think of. I know this site likes to do the devil’s advocate thing and usually it’s interesting at least, but that’s just stupid. I believe that the OP must have meant the opposite: to wit, any expectation of public funding comes standard with a duty to act civilized and show some kind of political acumen, not spout racist crap about the people who you’re asking for money and expect to get away with it.

    Even if he wasn’t talking about Rahm Emmanuel’s boss, if Ricketts says racist things about black people and then comes begging to the city for public funds…well, who does he think pays taxes in Chicago? Whose public services are disproportionately crummier, and which pot of money will the city raid to do some upkeep on the Old Whore of Wrigleyville? The city ain’t gonna take services away from the North side, I’ll tell you that!

    • The Rabbit - May 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      As a former elected official, let me try and explain Craig’s logic.
      The issue is the same and larger than merely using taxpayer money for improvements of a privately owned asset.
      Every city, town, county, etc. has a limited amount of cash to spend for the benefits of its citizens. In an ideal world, that money is spent to benefit the majority of the citizens to improve the infrastructure (transportation, roads, water quality, etc.) and provide benefits such as education.
      Unfortunately,we don’t live in utopia and greed is rampant. There are special interests that would like to have more than its fair share of access to the money paid by the average working person and homeowner taxpayers in a given area. Most of these special interests already have lots and lots of money and are able to help finance campaigns to get the “right” people elected hoping that they will be able to get a big return on the campaign investment.
      I’m not even talking about bribery.
      If these interests can get enough people elected, you sound like you’d be surprised that they would make decisions that go against the interests of the local population. Trust me. It happens all the time.
      Those elected officials hope that the sources of their campaign money keep their mouths shut and aren’t a public embarassment. In a situation like this where Ricketts is an obvious nutjob, it creates a major dilemma for his surrogate elected officials. It is that to which I think Craig is referring.
      I happen to agree with Craig. I’m one of those people that believes that taxpayer money should not be used for the benefit to improve the assets of one wealthy entity or any single individual, for that matter and that taxes should be used for the protection (fire and police) and infrastructure for all that live in that muncipality.

  11. OchentaYcinco - May 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    “So there I was, sitting at my desk and writing out a fat check to the local orphanage while humming The Star-Spangled Banner like any good American. Then I get a knock at my door and in walks this guy. Shifty. I knew I wouldn’t like him from the moment I laid eyes on him!”

    “Ricketts?” he asked. I nodded. “Say, given any thought as to which candidate you’ll be supporting this fall?”

    “Well,” I said, “I consider myself a fair-minded man. And as you’ve surely noticed, I’ve done quite well for myself. That ballclub I’ve got is waiting on some public funding for our park, as luck would have it. So to answer your question, I’ll be carefully weighing the issues and making a reasoned decision.”

    The man raised his brow. “What if I told you that for a scant $10 million dollars we could make the incumbent President look like a radical socialist racist Muslim whose black Christian preacher hates America?”

    When I awoke from fainting, I called for security. “Get out! Get out I said! My immense wealth will not be used to subvert the democratic process with such racist nonsense! I repudiate such politics, and I’m calling my son right now to tell him so!”

    True story.

  12. chill1184 - May 17, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Obama is an idiot no doubt but if Papa Ricketts thinks Romney is any different other than skin color and hair than he isn’t much brighter than the clowns in DC.

  13. jimmymarlinsfan - May 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Dear jr.

    While I thoroughly applaud you chastising your father is a public manner, there is so such thing as a corporate citizen unless such a citizen can be taken into the street and tarred and feathered for the greed of those who think themselves monarchs

  14. dowhatifeellike - May 17, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    This racism is killin’ me inside. – Dave Chappelle

  15. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    18th street- that would make him a natural citizen. BOTH PARENTS MUST BE US CITIZENS TO BE CONSIDERED A “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN”, the requirement to be president. His father was indisputably born in Kenya. Now, if he was born outside of the US, with the exception of a US military base during war time, he’s not a “natural born citizen”.

    • The Common Man - May 17, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      That is completely, and totally, and demonstrably false.

    • 18thstreet - May 18, 2012 at 7:41 AM

      As someone who votes for the other team, I want to thank you for representing the Republican Party so ably.

      Please, go post on soccer mom blog blogs or Undecided Independent Swing Voters Dot Com. I’d really appreciate it if you’d go door-to-door in the Philadelphia suburbs. Tell the people!

      You’re doing great work for the Democratic Party, either by really believing this crap or by saying you do.

  16. simon94022 - May 17, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Craig, the entire premise of your original post was that the Cubs owner was looking for an “extremely literate” black man for an ad campaign against Obama. That turned out to be false, and there is frankly no story here at all. It’s astonishingly lame to keep the story on life support by claiming that this rejected proposal “must have” been “in the ballpark” of something he wanted.

    There are 300+ million people in this country, which includes all sorts of offensive kooks across the political spectrum (look at the entire “occupy” movement for example). But this particular incident is not representative of the opposition to Obama, and I guarantee the Romney campaign considers Jeremiah Wright an unwelcome distraction from the focus on Obama and his record.

    Time for the Left to go back to focusing on thinly sources stories about high school pranks and dogs on car roofs. Anything to divert attention from the train wreck that is the Obama record.

    • verytalldad - May 18, 2012 at 1:24 AM

      An article making a conservative look bad… even on a baseball website. NOTHING TO SEE HERE. Shield you eyes.

      This article is a “representative of the opposition to Obama” by a baseball owner and one who wants public funds.

      You know, hating Obama because he is black is not representative of the opposition to Obama, but surely it exists and surely it can be talked about. Just pretending that all parties are equally bad really does a disjustice to how awful one side really is. Its just lazy. Are you trying to make yourself feel better about a party that is the complete opposite of what it claims to be (small government when government jobs and debt grows faster and quicker with GOP presidents the past 30 years, personal freedom unless your a woman, lower taxes for all unless you are a poor alleged freeloading bum). The whole party is a hypocrisy.

      Left=high school pranks, goofy stories about dogs on roofs
      right=President who hates america, has secret agenda, wasnt born here, and if re-elected will indoctrinate us all with something (TBD by next secret GOP memo).

      Yeh, pretty even.

      I think if you talk about Obamas record vs. Romneys ideas. Obama wins, but Romney thinks he can win by not mentioning what he would do. It might work.

      Oh, yeh, BASEBALL!!!!!

  17. dasher521 - May 18, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    I dislike getting off baseball; however, there is nothing “noble” about big money in politics.

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