Tom Ricketts has been a busy man. Late last week Ricketts was in the Dominican Republic to unveil plans for a brand new, one of kind facility. The 50 acre facility will be located in the town of La Gina, which is just outside of Santo Domingo, and very close to the airport. Just a few of the luxuries that Dominican ball players will have are a total of four fields, one of which being artificial turf. The academy will also be home to four batting cages, eight bullpens, a weight room, and two locker rooms. Rumor has it that the facility will also have a video room, which is a tremendous tool for not only scouting these players, but allowing this players to learn like major league ballplayers learn. Another solid feature of the academy is that it is almost laid out like a college. There is a cafeteria, a dormatory, meeting/class rooms, and has the capabilities to house 80 members including staff and players.
Before this blog moves forward, we would be remiss not to mention what has transpired since the disenchanted 2011 season came to a close. The Chicago Cubs as a team and organization took a giant step forward in not only changing the direction of the club, but the culture as well.
On October 25, 2011 the Chicago Cubs named a new President of Baseball Operations, none other than Boston GM Theo Epstein. Talk about making a splash, and for once, it actually makes sense because it’s off the field where it was needed most. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t much to like on the field the last couple of years, but in order to fix that, the real issue needed to be addressed, and it was. In order for Epstein to make the move to the North Side of Chicago he had to take a role that was above his current GM role in Boston. That in it of itself is a giant win for Ricketts, many die hard Cubs followers probably didn’t think Ricketts had it in him, but he proved them, including us, wrong in a huge way.
Video of Epstein’s full press conference via ABC 7 Chicago.