Good Thing They Didn't Lift Niemi for John Grabow

In the spirit of honoring the Chicago Blackhawks, who are now just two games away from the Stanley Cup championship, and temporarily ignoring the black comedy that is the Chicago Cubs, here is a video that will warm the heart of every Hawks fan who remembers the joy of listening to the great Lloyd Pettit. (Pettit, of course, also worked alongside Jack Brickhouse in the Cubs broadcast booth for several years.)

The video was mentioned in Ed Sherman's Business of Sports column last week in Crain's Chicago Business.


Also fun to hear Lou Boudreau helping to cover Bobby Hull's 500th career goal.

Cubs attendance down 1200 per game according to Trib.
Sox down 3000.

Neither can blame the weather,imo.

Absolutely agree.

I am fascinated to see how aggressive--at least for them--the Cubs have had to become in marketing the team. The "It's A Way of Life" ad campaign they're running is the first, coordinated, multi-media campaign I recall them running, ever. And each time I have heard Kasper or Hughes reading announcements that "Good seats are still available," I figure the team is just trying to push those harder-to-sell early season tickets and the announcements will end...but then they crop up again.

On the one hand, I am thrilled to see the fans finally forcing a new level of accountability on the organization to put a first-class product on the field. On the other hand, I think Ricketts is already "all in" financially, and if the gate receipts aren't there, I don't know that he is going to be dipping much further into his own pocket to invest in the club.

In other words, they find themselves in the same boat as most of the rest of Major League Baseball, including, God forbid, the White Sox.

I'm not sure you fully understand the deal. It's a highly leveraged transaction meaning that it was accomplished with a large pile of debt. The money, even the money the Ricketts put in, was "borrowed" by the Cubs and the holders of the debt, including the Ricketts, are earning interest. That means the Cubs HAVE TO generate income in order to stave off bankruptcy, which explains insane ticket price increases and the desperation Ricketts expressed over the need for a Toyota sign.

However, the Ricketts want to pull a chunk of their money out of the team, reducing their exposure, by selling the debt to new investors, but to do that they have to fix up Wrigley Field because Wrigley is the only asset the Cubs have to secure the loans in order to keep the interest rates low enough so the team revenue can service them without defaulting.

All in all, the Ricketts Year 1 is well on its way to being a bust. And if the Cubs attendance should fall back to 2002 levels (34,513) things could really get interesting.

attendance is tough all around.

when the cubs go on the road they're not pulling the crowds they should.

playing in CIN and PIT they drew miserable crowds which is pretty uncommon...we're talking 20K or less crowds. yow.

I'm quite certain I didn't understand it as well as you just framed it. Thanks.

I was going to put this up yesterday, but nobody was here to read it.
Cubs average attendance:

2007 40,153
2008 40,743
2009 39,610
2010 38,369 and dropping.

That means the Cubs project to draw 200,000 fewer fans than they did in 2008. Using the numbers furnished by the Cubs, that translates into -$16 million in anticipated revenue.

The dopey Ricketts kids' solution? Clearly raising ticket prices in a recession didn't work. And their "improvements" to the field isn't bringing in the crowds. So let's Plaster Wrigley Field with neon signs. (If you read the fine print of their agreement with the City commission, the Cubs have agreed to wait four years...that's all...before they erect another sign after putting up that Toyota thing).

who gives a shit about signs at wrigley?

hell, parks used to be nothing but ads.

the fenway park "green monster" was far from green back in the day.


and if you want them to stay at wigley, that's what's needed to be done

I was at Fenway last year and was somewhat stunned -- it looked like a NASCAR race -- TV doesn't really pick it up. Huge Coke bottle in LF, signs all over the place (including the Monstah). Doesn't really change the experience -- just becomes part of the ballpark after a while.

through 27 games, 33,300 less fans have bought tickets so far this year compared to last. That comes up to about 100,000 less fans overall(they've played a 1/3 of their home games) and attendance almost always go up from June-August, especially tickets sold.

Sept will just depend on how they're doing in the standings.

the economy sucks, less folks are buying tickets, not a real shock here.

Exactly... although I would do the math a little different.

Assuming that navigator's attendance numbers are correct, they show a 3.13% drop in attendance. That translates to a drop of 99,281 from last year. Not including the premium/auction seats, the average 2010 Cubs ticket costs $52.56. That translates to a total off of $5.2M in ticket revenues.

Of course, the $5.2M doesn't factor in lost revenues from concessions, Cubs' own scalping schemes, etc, but the $5.2M is WELL less than Navigator's made up number $16M.

In general, the cheap seats go last, so even the $52.56 isn't accurate. That $52.56 included the weighting of the platinum and premium and whatever the hell else they call the harder to get tickets. What we're talking about is them not selling the crappy tickets for the crappy games - probably $30 is the high side for those average ticket prices lost to the Cubs.

Also Navigator's basic premise: the Cubs have to sell all their seats to avoid going bankrupt isn't founded on a solid logic of how finance works. Banks don't give loans based on business plans that show "if we maximize profits, we'll break even".

Yea... I agree with you on that, but I thought I would stay on the conservative side.

Attendance goes up from June-August, but that's not the point. The point is how much attendance goes up relative to prior years. If attendance figures from June-August increase the same proportionally to the April-May attendance from prior years, the overall attendance will still be down.

The only way they're going to make up any lost ground this year is if the team goes on a tear in June/July.

You're not looking at attendance through May for 2007-2009 though. You've got apples and oranges there.

I agree with that and I did add up 2009 and 2010 numbers through 27 games and Navigator's numbers for 2010 are at least correct, as our the Trib's that they're on average 1200 fans a game behind at this point.

But he estimated 200,000 for some reason, at the same rate as now, it would just be 100,000.

In looking at my Season Ticket records, my invoices have gone up 50% since 2006!

I would think without doing the math, that the ticket increases more than make up the slight percentage loss in attendance.

The Cubs roughly have by most accounts 22, 000- 24,000 STH. Many just aren't showing up (yours truly, included)

I do not think that the drop in attendance recently will have much affect anytime soon.

Attendance numbers are determined by tickets sold - they started doing that about 15 years ago so that the AL and the NL were comparing apples to apples.

Lou Boudreau sure was awful. I was glad to have been reminded of how much I disliked him, while at the same time I always was a HUGE Petit fan. Thanks Cubnut!

I blame Zell for the Cubs sucking. If McDonough was still the Cubs President - things would be different!

Bobby Hull, Dennis Hull, Stan Mikita, Pit Martin, Keith Magnuson, Chico Maki, Tony Esposito, and Meister Brau. Wow, that really brought back some memories.

I admit to being a fair weather Blackhawks fans, but I'm on the bandwagon now. It would be great to watch the Hawks win a Stanley Cup.

I can remember Lloyd Pettitt doing Blackhawks TV broadcasts (road games only) back in the early 60's. He was great ("A shot and a goal!").

Before Jack Quinlan died, Vince Lloyd was the #2 guy on WGN-TV's Cubs & White Sox TV broadcasts (he did the pre-game "The Lead-Off Man" show and then the play-by-play in the 3rd & 4th and 7th innings when Jack was taking a libation break). Lloyd Pettitt was the 3rd guy on the list for baseball, and he would take VL's slot when Vince replaced Jack if Jack was absent doing a Bears radio broadcast or a Sox road TV game or when he was covering a political convention.

Then Vince Lloyd replaced Jack Quinlan on the Cubs radio broadcasts in '65, at which point Lloyd Pettitt became the full-time #2 guy on Cubs & Sox WGN-TV broadcasts until he left WGN around 1970 (although he continued to do Hawks games on radio at WMAQ throughout the 1970's).

Baltimore's "Handsome Jimmy" West (as Jack Brickhouse used to call him) replaced Lloyd Pettitt on the Black Hawks TV broadcasts and as Jack Brickhouse's second banana on Cubs games in 1971. West didn't last too long at WGN, because GN lost the Hawks games about three or four years after West arrived. After West left, Lou Boudreau would come over from the radio side and relieve Brick for a couple of innings.

Loved Jim West. Did a nice job with the Hawks, which was no small task given that he was filling Pettit's shoes.

I remember Jack Quinlan too. I think he was the best doing Cubs radio.

Tremendous. A call involving Lou Brock as a Cub, no less.

Submitted by Cubnut on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 10:24am.
Tremendous. A call involving Lou Brock as a Cub, no less.


CUBNUT: The game you're hearing was four days before the Cubs traded Brock to the Cardinals. Is there some way we can reach back through the ether or go through a worm hole or something and get through to somebody?

If only, AZ Phil, if only...

(Do you think they would have listened anyway?)

You can't change the past. Everything that happened, happened.

grew up on Lloyd & 'Good Kid' Boudreau...cruised into chicago friday morn only to be slowed to a snail's pace by expressway traffic and crowded trains - finally raced into wrigley just in time to catch breath during the anthem, tear open a bag o' nuts & settle into our seats for a game that was over after 16 *%$@# pitches! plus, my companion was a redbird fan! after the respite of saturday's game [marred by a near catfight right in front of us in the club boxes]i had to ride home w/ him on sunday listening to pujols jack one every 50 miles or so...

In case you missed it, the Dodgers beat Arizona yesterday on a walk-off balk. The winning run was scored by Ted Lilly's old balk-spotting buddy, Casey Blake.

According to research by the AZ Snakepit blog, since 1954 walk-off balks have been even more uncommon than perfect games.

I can't go...obviously, so if anyone is interested.

Section: 205-2 Row: 13 Seats: 1-4

They go for $36 each plus BS fees so the total was $185. I can split them into pairs of two as well for $92.50 each.

Just looking for face value.

email me here if interested



btw, i have a new nickname for carlos silva..."are you f'n kidding me"

it's a little long, but it's to the point.

Fukudome, Castro, Nady, Colvin, Soriano, Fontenot, Baker, Hill, Lilly

vs. Jeff Karstens

letting him bat 4th totally makes up for

don't mind the lineup, really...nady batting 3rd is a bit "wuh" to me, but it's not like it's retarded.

Not playing him and then batting him 4th on the rare occasion he gets a start is a bit of a puzzler. What if he and Nady are both behind on the fastball from sitting so much? I guess that would make them optimal replacements for Lee and Ramirez today. (I'm so clever. *pat on my own back*)

who's colvin?

nada batting 3r instead of 4th.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a lot of that debt financed specifically so that Sam Zell would be able to avoid some tax liabilities? Meaning that Ricketts had more cash on hand, but they set it up this way to give the seller a better deal.

Not that I disagree that falling attendance could be a big potential problem, but I don't see the Ricketts or the Cubs going into bankruptcy over $5-$10 million in lost ticket receipts.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a lot of that debt financed specifically so that Sam Zell would be able to avoid some tax liabilities?


Cubbery reaches through the ether too...

June 1st 1969 (ether), Headlines:

Ernie Broglio winner of game 7 in the 1964 and 1968 World Series for StL, starts the 1969 season with a 7-0 record.

Cub OF Lou Brock, who hasn't stolen a base in 5 seasons after he broke his ankle back in July 1964, is now going to platoon with rookie Don Young.

Recent comments

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  • Outfielder Chris Young signs "multiyear" contract w BoSox.

    Wow, Dombrowski is an bufoon

  • well, that's the past. we're left with the present. even though that past you're seeing is some weird black/white either/or where hybridization of ideas isn't allowed...nonetheless...

    the present is ice skating, movies, concerts, beer gardens, hotels, office space and other wonderful baseball activities based around a young, successful baseball team.

  • All money making ventures, which would have been offset with a reasonable TV contract that previous ownership screwed up

  • Brilliant!

  • Nah, I'll probably just contemplate how they should've done a Padres-style all-in plan.

  • of course not. maybe go ice skating and think about it a while. make advanced reservations at the hotel they're starting construction on. check new releases for possible entertainment from the movie screens they want installed. think about renting an office in the new office spaces. write a letter to the cubs requesting your favorite beer be added to the beer garden. lobby your favorite band to play the outdoor venue.

    ...and in between that maybe they can find $40-50m to invest in the product that all of this revolves around.

  • let's not get caught up on phrasing for a setup and lose the gist of the post. i don't care what one wants to call the playoff exit.

    -crapping out
    +they lost their playoff attempt

    there. now we can focus on something other than not liking the tone of a line that's setting up a point.

  • I didn't like the entire post, if that helps.

  • Making the NLCS with a young team = "crapping out of the playoffs with a young team."

  • I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work

  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...