CHICAGO (AP) — Chairman Tom Ricketts insisted there will be a day when results replace promises and headlines focus on victories for the Chicago Cubs.
It's just not here yet.
"There's only one way to do it and you have to do it the right way, and you can't take shortcuts," Ricketts said. "There's no way to cheat the devil on this."
The Cubs continue to pitch their long-term vision rather than short-term results, insisting the pain they're enduring will result in a payoff down the road. They point to top prospects such as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant. They mention new training facilities in the Dominican Republic and in Mesa, Ariz., and the planned renovations to Wrigley Field.
And the message remained the same when members of the Ricketts family and the front office fielded questions from fans at the Cubs convention Saturday.
"We're hoping that what we're doing is changing the culture and really creating the Cubs Way, which going forward will consistently put a team on the field that can compete to go the distance," board member Laura Ricketts said. "We're not shooting for one World Series. We're not shooting for one championship one year that 30 years from now we can all point back to and say, 'Remember that year how great it was?'"
The last few years have been quite difficult for the Cubs, and that's saying something for a franchise known for its championship drought.
The Cubs' most recent winning season was in 2009, when they won 83 games under Lou Piniella, and there doesn't appear to be much hope for a big jump next season. The process could speed up a bit if the Cubs land Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. They tried to sell him on hope, that he could be part of the turnaround if their prospects pan out, and they're selling the same thing to their fans.
They're also banking on the improvements to their facilities and the increased revenue and decreased maintenance costs of a renovated Wrigley Field. That $500 million overhaul remains on hold at the moment as talks continue with the neighboring rooftop owners, who hand over a percentage of their revenue to the team and could sue if the makeover obscures their views.
President of business operations Crane Kenney said they had two meetings last week with most of the rooftop owners and the city and that they made progress.
"I feel confident we're working our way toward the finish line," he said.
The Cubs initially projected the work on the stadium would take place over five offseasons. But now they think it could be done in four, although it would cost more.