Todd Ricketts threw a tantrum at the Cubs not being given tax dollars for Wrigley renovations

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The Ricketts family is one of America’s wealthiest and most powerful families. In case you are unaware:

  • Patriarch Joe Ricketts is the founder and former CEO of TD Ameritrade — his work is the original source of the family’s billions — and is extraordinarily active in conservative politics;
  • Son Pete Ricketts is the current governor of Nebraska;
  • Son Todd is the current Republican National Committee Finance Chairman and was considered for President Trump’s cabinet;
  • Daughter Laura is a lawyer, Democratic activist and philanthropist, having been recognized for her work with Lambada Legal; and
  • Son Tom, as you probably know, is the president of the Chicago Cubs.

But the Cubs are not just Tom’s business. Controlling interest of the team is owned by the family as a whole. Tom is merely the one in charge on a day to day basis. The entire family has a say in how the team is run.

I lay that all out because, over at The Splinter, Molly Osberg has published a trove of emails and documents from the Ricketts family, as a part of an ongoing series in which she, well, does that. Most of the emails deal with family financial management and economic and political matters — go read all of them if you want to get a glimpse into how the top sliver of America’s wealthy view the world — but a few of them talk about the Cubs. And they’re pretty illuminating.

For example, you may recall that the Ricketts family tried for years to get either Chicago or the state of Illinois to pay for its renovation of Wrigley Field. Which they, in the end, did not. As that was going down, the Ricketts family was quite upset. Insulted, even!

What gets me here is the entitlement. When a government official says he will not give a private business owned by billionaires a subsidy to improve its facilities, it is construed as “public official does not want us here.” As if it is completely and utterly inconceivable to them that there is another option, involving them actually investing in their own for-profit business.

I will say, though, the bit about “I think we should contemplate moving” answers an age-old question I’ve had about such matters. Specifically, “do they actually think people will believe they’ll move the team if they don’t get their subsidy?” Welp, yes. At least this billionaire believes that, if Chicago didn’t give them money for Wrigley, they’d move out to Naperville or something. I can’t decide if that’s more dumb than callous or more callous than dumb.

A followup email from the same day:

This one perplexes me. The only way I read this is him saying “hey, we bought your city’s falling down stadium, the LEAST you could do is pay us to fix it up.” If I’m missing a potential interpretation here, by all means, let me know!

As the old saying goes, the rich are different than you and me. They ain’t better, they ain’t smarter, but they’re certainly different.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.