Closing The John McDonough File

In the wake of his big job change, John McDonough absolutely carpet-bombed the Chicago media today. I heard his interview with Mike Murphy on WSCR over the noon hour, just missed his late afternoon interview on WMVP (local ESPN Radio), then caught his appearance around 6pm with Roe Conn on WLS Radio. Naturally, his mug was all over local television as well, so much so that he effectively deprived poor Drew Peterson of the screen time he requires to continue creeping out the viewing public. McDonough's 24 years with the Cubs coincided with the 24 highest annual attendance totals in Cub history. The Cub fan convention, McDonough's idea, has become an annual rite of winter in Chicago and the blueprint for similar events now hosted by many teams in all major sports. (The 2008 Royals FanFest will be held January 19th at the Overland Park Convention Center. Get your tickets now!) Beanie Baby Day and the "celebrity" singers in the 7th inning stretch? More McDonough brainstorms, which, though derided by almost all of us, helped keep the organization in the spotlight even when the product on the field wasn't capable of it. An overlooked dimension of McDonough's legacy, I think, will be the way he extended the Cub brand to embrace players from the team's past and keep them in front of the fans. Not just the stars, like Banks, Jenkins, Sandberg, Williams and, of course, Santo, but also lesser lights like Jody Davis, Milt Pappas, even Gene Oliver. By nurturing this multi-generational Cub family, McDonough and the organization made multiple generations of fans feel closer to the team than ever, enabling 60- and 65- and 70-year-old fans, as much as the 20- and 30-year-olds, to say, "They're my Cubs." So why am I so glad McDonough is gone? Because as tough as he talked on the day he took Andy MacPhail's job in October of 2006, John McDonough was Tribune Company through and through. He is Beanie Baby Day and Kellie Pickler singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame and team-owned ticket scalping services and crappy food at outrageous prices and a tacky Harry Caray statue that the tourists will line up to pose in front of. Sorry, you'll never convince me that it was the former Marketing Director--as opposed to a new Tribune Company business strategy to pump up the value of the Cubs--who convinced the corporation to spend all of that free-agency money last winter. In my opinion, John McDonough never had the depth or the vision to warrant being the President of the Chicago Cubs. He was just a comfortable choice for an ownership group that had to be looking ahead to the sale of the team even as they were anointing their boy the new king. John McDonough is the Peter Principle in a blue suit. I will give him this: he was smart enough to adjust his career path before John Canning or somebody else adjusted it for him.


I disagree. I think McDonough was perfect for the Cubs. Making money is the first priority of any business. If we have more money we can better supply our team with both free agents, long term contracts to the guys we want to keep, pay bigger signing bonuses to draftees and we can hire the best talent to manage our farm system. Sorry, this guy is a winner and he will be sorely missed. The main reason he'll be missed, however, is his ability to be the "go-between" between Hendry and the Tribune company. Being able to leverage a money maker to get more resources (money) was his trading chip. The Bank (Tribune) was sold on McDonough-that's enough.

Regardless of how you feel about him, you can't argue that he's going someplace his talents will be much more useful. I don't agree with everything he did, but I do believe that he loves this team like we do, he's just a marketing guru, and they're slimeballs by nature. That said, I'm happy he's staying in town, and I hope he can revive the legacy of our once proud hockey franchise. The Cubs don't need his type of help anymore.

he at least gets security moving...this whole ownership turmoil with the cubs...never know what direction the new owner(s) will take. he was a HOF pencil pusher...heh.

does this mean I can't sing "take me out for some popcorn" next season?

A Harry Caray statue? No problem with that, whatsoever. A good thing, to me. Celebrity 7th inning stretch singing? May he burn in hell.

What of the poor Celebriducks? Where will they go? I can't give McDonough credit for ingenuity exactly; I think what he really did was expand well on concepts that had been Cubs truisms for decades. "Beautiful Wrigley Field," Ladies' Days, "can't beat fun at the old ballpark," etc. -- these were P.K. Wrigley-era marketing ideas engineered to get people to Wrigley whether the team was a winner or (likely) not. McDonough seems to have seen opportunities to update those ideas for the current age, introducing promotional giveaways and gimcracks like Beanie Babies, tie-ins with dowdy, silly, happy-talk culture (I'm thinking Jimmy Buffett and "YMCA" here, but maybe it's unfair to blame the latter on McDonough), and, of course, washing the whole experience in celebrity from top to bottom. Whether it was all to the good for the Cubs is debatable, but I certainly agree that the Blackhawks need an infusion of this stuff pronto.

Take me out to the ballgame in a Chevy truck Take me out to the crowd (who hopefully remembered to wear their Degree underarm protection) Buy me some Planters peanuts and Cracker Jacks I don't care if I ever get back, but if I do, may it be in a comfortable Chevy truck Let's root, root, root for the Cubbies If they don't win get some Old Style For it's one, two, Three Musketeers At the old ballgame. Let's get a run together for some Old Style!

I know this has been talked to death, but WHY do we need another second baseman? What about right field??

And in baseball news: Pirates scrape the bottom of the barrel for a pitcher: Jimmy Barthmaier (RHP) – Was claimed today off waivers from Houston…Spent 2007 season with Corpus Christi (AA) and has gone 30-27 with a 3.67 ERA in 98 career games (84 starts) in the minor leagues…Was Houston’s 13th round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft…Led Carolina League with 134 strikeouts and 146.2ip and ranked second with 11 wins in 2006 and was rated by Baseball America as the Astros fourth-best prospect prior to the 2007 campaign.

Quick unrelated question... Now that the MVP vote is out, who won the predictions contest? I was leading, but if I remember correctly, I was going to be passed unless Derrick Lee was in the top 10...

Good post. I also grew less and less comfortable with having a marketing guy at the top of the organization -- I don't like the trend of the Under Armour ads, etc. He's a good guy to have in an organization -- he has a lot of fun and interesting ideas -- but he could have become dangerous with too much power. This is a good move for him and the Cubs. The Cubs are not an organization that needs a marketing guy at the top -- that's the easy part with this team. The Royals, the Memphis Grizzlies the Blackhawks, etc. need good marketing minds at the top. Let's get a guy who has a keen understanding of what drives success on the baseball field.

" I don’t like the trend of the Under Armour ads, etc." This marketing revenue device is staying, regardless of McD or not. Get used to it.

Yeah, the trend is staying - and we can thank Johnny -Boy for that unfortunate reality. For charging among the highest ticket prices in the majors for a terrible product most of the time, for making a broadcaster the most important remembrance of the Cubs organization via the statue, for pimping out every possible aspect of the Cub experience, replete with cornering the market on the ticket scalpers - for all of this, we bow our heads in greatful prayer and thanksgiving.

This whole idea of Wrigley need to be an untouched catherdal isBS. In order to stay at Wrigley they need to squeeze all they can out of the place in order to stay there. Look back at Ebbets field and old Crosley Field and the walls are plastered with ads and billboards. This is nothing new. They need to put a video screen on both corners of the roof so they can sell more ads and get the experience of going to a baseball game into the 20th century. The world didn't end whent the lights came.

McDonough-that was a very funny post! Jacos-very true about Ebbets field, etc..I think if we all had to choose between new modern stadium and ads on the walls of Wrigley, we'd take the latter... The fact is the President of any team should be a business guy. Whether he comes from marketing or accounting, he needs to be a business guy first and foremost. McDonough took our brand image and expanded on it. I think the single biggest thing he accomplished is that he's started to show that winning will only help the bottomline. McDonough convinced the Tribune that if the Cubs didn't start winning, people would stop coming and stop caring.

On a baseball related note, here is my list of rightfield options for us in 2008: 1. Fukodome 2. JD Drew 3. Luke Scott 4. Nick Swisher 5. Carl Crawford 6. Rocco Baldelli 7. Ken Griffey 8. Mark Teahen 9. Randy Winn 10. Mags Ordonez 11. Jeremy Hermidia 12. Andre Eithier 13. Matt Murton Yes, alot of those options are pretty unrealistic, unless we want to trade all of our good young pitchers. No, I didn't put them in order. We know that we want a lefthanded hitter that is capable of putting up good power numbers and can actually field the position. If we trade for Tejada to play short, we can set our sights lower on the offensive side. If we don't, we need this guy to hit 5th. Given those parameters, I'd say JD Drew, Nick Swisher and Luke Scott would have the most appeal. Boston is looking for bullpen arms and help at shortstop. I'm not sure Dempster+Cedeno, however would get it done. What might do it, is Felix Pie+Ryan Dempter. Boston has the luxury of letting Pie play in Pawtucket in 08... Houston is looking get younger and add pitching. Scott is old for a second year player at 29. I still think Marshall+a second baseman would be realistic. Oakland is considering a total youth movement again. I'd say a package of 3 major league ready players would Swisher. Maybe Kevin Hart+Eric Patterson+???? Or we could just sign Fukodome and hang on to the players we have... Last but not least, non of these guys are without risk. Swisher could be involved in the steroid investigation (just a hunch), Drew has trouble staying off the dl and is often viewed as a malcontent and if Scott were really good, they wouldn't be willing to trade him.

Jacos- Fully agree -- I was at Fenway this summer, and was surprised to see the number and magnitude of the ads throughout the stadium and on the OF walls. But, it's still Fenway -- it's not Minute Maid Park, or some other modern-day obscenity.

"In order to stay at Wrigley they need to squeeze all they can out of the place in order to stay there." Of course it's in the overall revenue mix, but do you honestly think that the Cubs would ever have achieved their current nationwide popularity w/o the ballpark in the first place? And what about the enormous TV revenues? Are you suggesting that if they had moved out to Schaumburg and played in a park like the old Three Rivers (that was seriously being proposed at one time) they'd be hunky dorey with large revenue streams at this point? If they didn't have the ballpark, they'd be anything but lovable losers - just losers.

Cubnut - great post, I totally agree - McDonough! I think what people should not lose sight of is that McD was a great marketing guy and always will be a marketing guy reagrdless what his title says. Sure he was President of the Cubs but his vision was leveraging the Cubs brand whether its stamped on a bag of peanuts, whether its your name on the bricks outside Wrigley, or whether its the Cubs Convention - its all about marketing the Cubs name. At some point you have to build the brand and honestly thats not John's forte. Best of luck to him in his new gig with the Hawks we all know they can certainly use his services!

"Are you suggesting that if they had moved out to Schaumburg and played in a park like the old Three Rivers" No, I just said I don't mind they sell advertisement at the park. They still have not address the falling concrete from the upper deck outside of the nets. Which should be a natural tie in with Red Lobster to brand. ;-)

Anybody who doesn't get this team to the world series is an ass. Bottom line. I'm not getting any younger, dammit.

Hopefully the new guy will adopt Gimpy the Half Hibernating Bear as the mascot.

What the hell is this? From Yahoo sports, no attribution, no byline: MLB Rumors Add to My Yahoo! RSS Wood most likely will stay with the Cubs Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 10:41 am EST Kerry Wood Getty Images The longer Kerry Wood remains on the free-agent market, the less likely it seems that he will return to the Chicago Cubs. Several teams have courted Wood, including the Boston Red Sox, which wants him to be the primary right-handed setup man for closer Jonathan Papelbon. Source: Chicago Tribune Related: Kerry Wood, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs That's the opposite of this headline:

How is that the opposite of the headline ("Wood's return in doubt") that you linked to?

Actually... the Trib story says the exact same thing as the yahoo story.

I think Old & Blue's RSS headline said "Wood most likely will stay with the Cubs"

What kind of a deal is Andruw Jones/Scott Boras looking for? I know Boras says that they won't accept a one year deal, but what is it they are asking for? Is it anywhere near 5/75? If it is, I think that it would be a good deal for the Cubbies. I know he isn't left-handed and he can't steal third, but he would look great batting fifth behind Ramirez.

I too am interested in the idea of giving AJones a good hard look. It seems like he could really end up being a bargain, coming off such a bad year. If he goes back to doing anything like his numbers from 2002-2006, he'd be perfect in the 5th spot in the Cubs lineup. Pie and Murton could then Platoon in RF. Soriano Pie/Murton Lee ARam AJones DeRosa Soto Theroit Zambrano I'd take that for an opening day lineup

rotoworld blurbs... Reds actively shopping Ryan Freel and will entertain offers for Josh Hamilton. (Didnt't take long for the Dusty influence to pervade) Hunter has a 6 year offer from the Rangers and 5 other offers for 5 years supposedly... note from Stark's latest... "They are dying," says an official of one team that spoke with the Orioles, "to move that guy." Then again, judging by the price, "dying" might not be the right word. Tejada has $26 million coming over the next two years, and the Orioles haven't exactly offered to eat $25 million of it. So they'd like the bidders to eat the money and give them two "quality" players back, according to clubs that talked with them.

Fine, Orioles. Option 1 - Marquis, Murton and Cedeno for Tejada, Cubs take on whole salary. Option 2 - Murton and Cedeno for Tejada. Orioles pony up $8M in cash to the Cubs.

Option A - Mark Prior for Tejada, spring 2005

Kendall officially signs with Brewers. Can you say, "hello, sandwich pick"...I knew you could. Source, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Cubs pick up Brewers 1st round Pick. After Braves decline Salary Arbitratioin an Andruw Jones. Cubs will have 2 1st rounders and a significant upgrade. Provided that the Brewers do not sign any Type A free Agents (Which I doubt they will). HooRay Bob Melvin

George Altman — November 21, 2007 @ 2:01 pm Fine, Orioles. Option 1 - Marquis, Murton and Cedeno for Tejada, Cubs take on whole salary. Option 2 - Murton and Cedeno for Tejada. Orioles pony up $8M in cash to the Cubs. ........................................................................ Who Plays Rf?

Who Plays Rf? Pie or Fuld.

Pie or Fuld would be the worst hitting Rf tandem since the dead ball era

Cubs did not pick up Brewers first round pick...

Dr. aaronb — November 21, 2007 @ 3:26 pm Cubs pick up Brewers 1st round Pick. After Braves decline Salary Arbitratioin an Andruw Jones. Cubs will have 2 1st rounders and a significant upgrade. Provided that the Brewers do not sign any Type A free Agents (Which I doubt they will). HooRay Bob Melvin =========================== DR AARON B: As was mentioned by Cubster and Rob G, the Brewers signing Jason Kendall prior to December 1st means the compensation pick the Cubs will get in next June's Rule 4 Draft will be a "sandwich" pick between the 1st and 2nd round, and the compensation "sandwich" picks for losing Type "B" free-agents will be slotted AFTER all compensation "sandwich" picks between the 1st and 2nd rounds are allocated to clubs losing Type "A" FAs. Also, if more than one club gets a Type "B" compensation sandwich pick, the picks are slotted in the same draft order as the rest of the draft. Last year, the Cubs got overall pick #48 after the Dodgers signed Type "B" FA Juan Pierre prior to December 1st. The Cubs ultimately used the pick to select catcher Josh Donaldson (Auburn) this past June. The Cubs did not have to offer arbitration to Pierre on 12/1 in order to get the bonus pick. Whenever a Type "A" or Type "B" player signs prior to December 1st, compensation is now automatic. The only time a club needs to offer arbitration to a free-agent in order to get a compensation pick is when a Type "A" or Type "B" FA signs after December 1st. Kendall was the only Cubs FA rated as a Type "B." None of the Cubs free-agents this time around were rated Type "A."

AaronB, Fukudome plays RF..........3yrs/$33M.

[...] Baseball - Wrigley-era marketing ideas engineered to get people to Wrigley whether the team was a winner or (likely) not. McDonough seems to have seen opportunities to update those ideas for the current age, introducing promotional giveaways and gimcracks like more info [...]

[...] Closing The John McDonough FileBaseball - He is Beanie Baby Day and Kellie Pickler singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame and team-owned ticket scalping services and The Royals, the Memphis Grizzlies the Blackhawks, etc. need good marketing minds at the top. Let s get a guy who has a keen [...]

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  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 26 min ago (view)

    And if Bryant does win the Service Time grievance his value in a trade this coming off-season will be diminished, because one year of club control until he becomes a free-agent versus two years of control is a significant difference. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 43 min ago (view)

    Q-MAN: It actually wouldn't surprise me if Bryant wins the grievance. 


  • Cubster 2 hours 44 min ago (view)

    ...and our Manager can dance!


  • QuietMan 4 hours 3 min ago (view)

    Still cant get the images of that SNL skit out of my mind.


  • Cubster 6 hours 21 min ago (view)

    This is really sad. A fatal pulmonary embolism is quite rare, older data had about 0.019% incidence (range 0-0.6%, for total knees). DVT without prophylaxis is higher and most people are getting prophylaxis (blood thinners) postop. DVT (leg clots) is a nuisance but not life threatening (unless the clot goes to the lungs). Patients with a history of DVT are at greater risk and there are other risk factors.


  • Cubster 6 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Kaplan also tweets Ross is the new manager and they are working on contract. Tweet reported in mlbtr too.

    "Cubs made their decision late yesterday afternoon and the other candidates have been informed they are indeed out. David Ross is the choice."


  • QuietMan 6 hours 45 min ago (view)

    The Kris Bryant service time grievance is finally being heard by an arbitrator this week according to Kaplan.


  • crunch 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    j.girardi did a 2nd interview with PHI on Monday and he's supposedly the favorite for the job.


  • bradsbeard 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    The draft over the ASB and the trade deadline pushed back until August 15th or so would make sense. Otherwise, I don't know how scouting departments are going to handle the draft lead up and the trade deadline running almost simultaneously.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    One other thing about MLB player development that is very different from NFL, NBA, and NHL player development is that most MLB clubs have upwards of 300 minor league players under contract (not including players on their MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs presently have 301 minor leaguers under contract on nine minor league affiliates).


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    JUST SAYIN: MLB is the only one of the four major North American professional sports that holds its draft and signs its draft picks during the season.


  • crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    umpire eric cooper has died...complications from knee surgery (blood clot)...52 years old


  • crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    "MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

    espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.


  • JustSayin' 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

     That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col


  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Mr. Phil.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll.