Ross, Ricketts, Marquee Sports Network: 2020 to be tense year for Chicago Cubs


Sarah Barber

Between the new management, questionable actions of the owners and a new streaming service, the 2020 Chicago Cubs will be nothing like fans have seen before, but is that a good thing?

I have lived my entire life bleeding blue and living and dying on the wins and losses of the Chicago Cubs, but most importantly, I’ve spent the last few summers worshipping at the altar of Joe Maddon.

But Maddon’s contract with the Cubs was up this year, causing the program to seek another general manager to employ. Their choice in turning to Cubs alum and fan favorite David Ross was unexpected, but largely met with joy from the majority of the fanbase. After all, who better to manage the team than someone who was on it and knows the game of baseball inside and out?

The fact that the team spent the 2019 season in a significant slump has dampened my adoration of Maddon and made me even more intrigued to see who would take his place. I placed my trust in President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein (who I’ve met, not to flex), and knew that whoever became the new manager would hopefully bring my boys out of their slump.

When the rumors about the choice of Ross began to circulate, I was pumped, to say the least. David Ross is nothing less than an icon, and I will forever remember him as one of my favorite players on the 2016 championship team; however, I also spent years loving Maddon.

I only found myself questioning Ross’s qualifications for a little bit. After all, his only experience is on the field, with little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes work, but this feeling quickly went away. However, the more I began to think about why Ross was appointed, the more I realized the discrepancies regarding this choice.

The Cubs’ owners, the Ricketts family, with the exception of Laura, are avant supporters of Donald Trump, and with their team being based in a mostly Democratic city, many people believe the choice of Ross was made to appease those upset with the Ricketts’ donations.

There has been a lot of concern amongst fans about whether or not the money the Ricketts are bringing in has been going to a political party and a president that a significant amount of the fans do not support. The more politically charged fans have withdrawn their support from the team altogether, claiming that they can no longer be fans of an organization with owners who support a person like Trump.

Personally, this all has presented quite a challenge. I can’t let go of a team and players I’ve watched and loved my entire life because of the actions of those in charge, because at the end of the day, the players have nothing to do with it. But at the same time, I am extremely opposed to the Trump administration, and it’s hard to know that if I want to see a Cubs game, I might be funding that administration.

It becomes even more complicated when one learns that Cubs games won’t be streaming on the typical channels of WGN, FOX, and ABC, but rather on “The TV Home of the Chicago Cubs” — the Marquee Sports Network. This new network is a barrier for fans who don’t have Layer3 TV, Charter Communications, RCN or AT&T as their providers, as well as those who don’t have cable at all.

All of these changes and complications are sure to continue to pile up throughout the 2020 season, but I just hope that David Ross can come out unscathed. Even more so, I’m intrigued to see the response that the Ricketts get from what has been known as one of the most dedicated fan bases in baseball, and how that affects this season.