Politics & Government

Trump thought the Cubs were managed badly — and then they made it to the World Series

By ELIZABETH KOH

ekoh@mcclatchy.com

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Naples, Fla. The presidential candidate bashed the Ricketts family, which owns the team, in March during the primaries, threatening to “start doing ads about their baseball team, that it’s not properly run."
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Naples, Fla. The presidential candidate bashed the Ricketts family, which owns the team, in March during the primaries, threatening to “start doing ads about their baseball team, that it’s not properly run." AP

It makes sense that Donald Trump, who for decades in the public spotlight has called himself a winner, would be a fan of other winners.

But for months before the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series this year, Trump suggested that the baseball team was “not properly run” — and that he would even take out ads bashing the team’s performance.

The reason behind the feud: The Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, initially donated to efforts to block Trump from the Republican nomination. Marlene Ricketts gave at least $3 million to Our Principles PAC, which opposed Trump during the primaries, and triggered a threat from Trump in February: “I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”

In an interview in March with the Chicago Tribune, Trump added that he would be willing to take out ads “about their baseball team, that it's not properly run.”

"I'll start spending on them,” Trump added at the time. “I'll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they're doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that?"

Marlene Ricketts and her husband Joe would eventually sink $5.5 million in the PAC, funding several ads critical of Trump. But the Ricketts jumped aboard the campaign after Trump officially became the nominee — the Wall Street Journal reported in September that Ricketts and his family planned to donate at least $1 million to the candidate before Election Day.

“The Ricketts decided they could not sit back and watch Hillary Clinton become the next president of the United States,” Ricketts’ political strategist Brian Baker told the Journal. “Even though the Ricketts supported other candidates during the primary, they believe it is time to unite behind the nominees… This is all about helping Republicans win in the fall.”

Trump’s Twitter account has not called out the Ricketts — or the Chicago Cubs — since.

And the family said it is unconcerned that the family’s support for the Republican nominee will dull support for Chicago’s long-suffering baseball team, which has not won a World Series since 1908.

“I’m not worried about that at all,” son Tom Ricketts, the team’s chairman, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s no big deal.”

At least one letter-writer to the Chicago Tribune said he felt differently.

“I can not support a team whose owners would support a man who openly disrespects the majority of the players on the team,” wrote Tony Farina of Concord, Mich. “By supporting Donald Trump with their money, they are using their dollars to be heard loud and clear. What I hear is pure, unadulterated hate.”

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