By Kevin Powell
Leaked emails. Domestic violence. A controversial TV network. It’s been quite a few months for the Cubs off the field.
“Obviously this is a different kind of gathering than we’ve had in the past few years,” Tom Ricketts said to a full interview room at the team’s Spring Training home in Mesa. “There are few more off field distractions than there have been in years past. You’re never going to get around them. We’re a very high-profile organization.
“Like I said, we continue to drive to be the best organization in all of sports. Things aren’t always going to go well every single year or every single month. It just feels like there are a few more distractions than normal this year. Hopefully, by addressing it the best we can and finding the positive things we can do to move forward, we can focus on baseball again.”
The broadcasting deal probably isn’t something fans should worry about. I don’t see Sinclair finding a way to inject their political agenda into the Marquee Sports Network. I’d give more thought to Joe Ricketts’ emails and Addison Russell’s domestic abuse suspension.
Moral dilemmas are everywhere in sports. Did you convince yourself to cheer on the Cubs even when Aroldis Chapman was on the mound? Would you have been OK with the Bears signing Kareem Hunt?
How will you react if Russell makes his way back from suspension and is in the lineup, starting at shortstop?
If the Cubs win, most people won’t give it much of their time. There isn’t an asterisk next to the Cubs’ World Series title because Chapman was on the roster.
In professional sports winning is everything. If the Cubs do win, most of the negative off the field problems will remain, but they’ll fade from the headlines.
Anthony Rizzo reported to camp on Monday and had this to say about what should be a highly competitive NL Central: “It’s gonna be a fight. There’s not going to be any easy wins. The Pirates are always competing. The Reds have been close for the last couple years now. The Brewers are going to be really good again. The Cardinals are the Cardinals… It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be a battle.”
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7pm. Follow on twitter @kpowell720