Cubs owner Ricketts hopes to reward fans' loyalty

Cubs owner Ricketts hopes to reward fans' loyalty

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts met with the players prior to Wednesday's first full-squad workout and part of his message was to "treat our fans like gold." That's because they've helped Ricketts during the losing seasons.

"We've had some tough seasons and have had to do things the right way and make long-term decisions, and that's cost us games," Ricketts said. "But walking around the ballpark is encouraging. Fans are almost exclusively supportive, and they want to see everything done the right way because we want to get to that World Series and we're not going to do it by making short-term decisions. Frankly, the fans have really helped me get through the bad years, rather than the other way around."

Ricketts said all the hard work to rebuild the Cubs' Minor League system and the roster is starting to pay off.

"We feel this is the year we'll start to show results," he said.

The bleachers at Wrigley Field may not be ready by Opening Night April 5, but Ricketts said they are on schedule to be available to fans by May 11. The Cubs began their four-year, $575 million renovation project this past offseason. Not having the bleachers available for the Cubs' first 15 home games will not be a "big financial hit," Ricketts said.

"They're not our most desirable tickets [in the first month]," Ricketts said. "April in the bleachers is kind of tough some times. It really isn't a big financial impact for us."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.