The WISCH LIST
By Dave Wischnowsky
A funny thing happened on the way to 2016.
The Chicago Cubs became a baseball team again.
Now, yes, the club technically played that sport at Wrigley Field from 2010 to 2014 – the first five seasons of the Ricketts era, which resulted in a 346-464 record – but during that stretch the Cubs’ business wasn’t really baseball. Or even bad baseball, something it’s always been about.
Rather, the Cubs’ business was, well, business.
During those dark, dull days for Cubdom, the face of the franchise wasn’t any player on the field, any manager in the dugout or even the club’s biggest name Theo Epstein, who as president of baseball operations worked more in the shadows than the spotlight until late 2014 when the club’s checkbook finally cracked open for the blockbuster acquisitions of manager Joe Maddon and pitcher Jon Lester.
Rather, the most prominent face representing the Cubs from 2010-2014 was that of Crane Kenney, the team’s president of business operations. And for fans of baseball, that really wasn’t a great face.
Season after losing season, it seemed as if every Cubs story of note was about Kenney battling the rooftop owners over a deal he had originally brokered, or Kenney wrangling with the city over the Wrigley renovation, or Kenney working to determining what TV networks the Cubs would call home in a given year. It got to the point where it seemed as if everything involving the franchise was about anything but baseball, and that Kenney – not Epstein – was the key power player in the entire organization.