The Cubs continued to bask in the glow of the championship.
But that light is turning dark.
The Cubs have lost 4 home games in a row for the first time in three years.
The championship hangover continues.
And then there is the weirdness about their diamond rings.
When shown after the ceremony, it was learned that on the inside there was an image of a goat.
Why is there a goat on a Cubs ring?
When Ricketts purchased the club, they were adamant that they did not believe in any curses. When Epstein arrived in town to run the team, he said he did not believe in curses - - - and he came from Boston, the home of the Bambino Curse. He said building a quality organization leads to championships. And he backed up his words with an aggressive and painful rebuilding program.
So by putting a goat on the championship ring, the Ricketts have directly acknowledged the mythical curse. There was no logical reason to do so. And some fans, seeing the Cubs are in a slow, bad baseball start, will believe that putting the goat on the championship ring has revived the curse.
But as gracious and generous the Ricketts family was at the ring ceremony, the Sun Times reported that there is an another strange twist in the Cubs championship. The paper reported:
The Cubs organization is handing out World Series Championship rings
to players and other employees, describing the bling as a “priceless
memento of the greatest championship quest in all of sports.”
fact, each ring does have a price — $1, to be precise — even though
appraisers say they could fetch anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 on the
That’s because the rings come with strings attached. The Cubs are
discouraging ring recipients from selling the hardware. But if they get
the urge, the Cubs reserve the right to buy each ring back for $1,
according to a memo the organization is asking each ring recipient —
including players — to sign.
“We regret the formal nature of this memo, and we do not intend for
this information to overshadow our joy in being able to provide this
ring to you,” the memo states. “However, we think it is important to
communicate this information to you.”
planning to sell “or otherwise transfer your ring,” must give the Cubs
written notice of “the proposed transaction and a complete accounting of
the terms. If the Cubs elect not to purchase the ring, then you
may transfer it according to the terms you provided to the Cubs;
however, each subsequent owner shall also be bound by these terms in the
event of a subsequent proposed sale or other transfer.”
The memo makes an exception for rings that are given as gifts — say to a child, spouse or grandchild. Cubs spokesman Julian Green stated that it was not unusual for this stipulation.
However, Sun Times contacted the White Sox about their 2005 championship rings, The Sox said the rings given to players and staff had no conditions attached to them. The Sox said that the rings were gifts to the players who could do whatever they wanted with them.
And sports writers have never heard of this stipulation in past champions.
It seems like a petty power grab by the Ricketts to assert control over their players and their assets. The players "earned" those rings by performing at the highest level. The players success has directly increased the Ricketts' value of the club by approximately two billion dollars. So why are the owners trying to seize back the $70,000 ring if a player needs to convert it to cash?
It is the same reason why Crain's reported earlier in the year that the Ricketts push to control the surrounding Wrigley Field blocks is pushing old neighborhood merchants farther and farther away from the facility. By pushing away the competition, the Cubs are casting a monopoly upon fans coming to games with pre-game merchandise sales at their huge new store and beer or food stands outside the park. It comes down to the Ricketts continuing philosophy (that blew a part the rooftop settlement) that only the family has the right to make any money off the Cubs. And this includes the players and their championship rings.
We all know stories of players after their careers are over who become down on their luck. Many players do not save their wealth, or find themselves making poor investment decisions because their focus was on their career and not business. Many athletes get into bitter, expensive divorces where cash is the only way out. So the Ricketts have effectively "cursed" their future former championship players with a "generous gift" that is only worth $1 outside the family. Experts believe that a championship ring of Bryant, Rizzo or Lester could command $250,000 or more on the open, auction market. But instead, the Ricketts want fans to pay them $10,000 for a cheaper replica of the ring.
The whole ring dynamic tarnishes the Cubs championship.