Celebrate the Facts!
The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has recast Western perceptions of Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. History now scrutinizes past Western investments in Russia as the West implements draconian sanctions to dissuade Russia from further warfare. Of course, people in the West have long understood enterprises such as McDonalds and Starbucks. What is murkier is Western investment in Russia’s defense industry. Through a complex confluence of bond purchases, stock sales, joint ventures, and licensing of weapons manufacturing, Russia has been able to bolster its defense capabilities with outside money. Much of that has come from firms headquartered in nominally liberal Western democracies.
In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian government transferred most assets to private companies. In the transition from a centralized command economy to private commerce, innovation and value chains disintegrated, and the output of the manufacturing sector, in particular its high-tech branches, cavitated.
This signaled the restoration of a state-controlled command economy led by state-owned companies. For the last 15 years, under Vladimir Putin-led ‘state capitalism,’ Russian state-owned corporations have had the responsibility for manufacturing in Russia. Roughly contemporaneously, the Russian government formed a military-industrial conglomerate called Rostechnologii (Rostec), including the state arms exporter, Rosobnoronexport, 450 other entities, and 180 state corporations. Most of these operated in the defense, machine building, aviation, auto manufacturing, and metallurgy sectors. Rostec’s portfolio now comprises over 800 subsidiaries.
The president of the Russian Federation appoints Rostec’s CEO, so the organization is under the direct oversight of Putin. Rostec is larger than similar international corporations like Airbus, Boeing, General Electric, and Samsung. The corporation’s annual arms exports total about $13 billion, up to 70% of Rostec’s revenue.
With its fighter jets and helicopters, the aviation sector represents the majority share. Russia consolidated its shipyards into the United Shipbuilding Corporation and its aircraft industry (such as the MiG, Sukhoi, and Tupolev companies) into the United Aircraft Corporation, later incorporated under Rostec.
Rostec generates revenues of between $21 to 25 billion annually from government contracts, military equipment exports, raw materials, and state subsidies. In addition, periodic Rostec subsidiary joint-stock companies issue stock to provide additional financing.
Russia is now the world’s second-largest arms exporter, behind the United States. Russia exports arms to over 45 countries and has a 20% share of global arms sales since 2016. Some of Russia’s arms clients back to the Soviet Union days.
Five countries buy most Russian arms exports: Algeria, China, Egypt, India, and Vietnam, with India being the largest importer of Russian weapons since 2016. Russia is attempting to broaden its client base and aggressively pursues new markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Russia exports military aircraft, air defense systems, naval vessels and submarines, radars, missiles, tanks, armored vehicles, small arms, and artillery. Aircraft make up 50% of Russian arms exports. Russia’s main sales pitch is that their weapons are less expensive to capitalize and more reliable because they are simpler and cheaper to maintain.
In 2019, Russia and India launched a dedicated joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, to mass-produce AK-203 assault rifles in northern India. In addition, in mid-2020, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization signed a technology development contract to develop rocket ignition systems, rockets, and missiles. India and Russia jointly manufacture the BrahMos missile system, and India builds the Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft and T-90 tanks under license.
India and Russia assemble the Ka-226T light-weight multipurpose helicopter, designed by Rostec subsidiary Russian Helicopters, under license to India. India and Russia had a joint development program of the Sukhoi Su-57 military aircraft. However, India terminated the relationship ostensibly because Russia refused to share software and computer codes to operate the military aircraft.
The Ural Works of Civil Aviation is a subsidiary of Rostec and supplies helicopter engines and drones for the Russian military. Diamond Aircraft Industries (DAI) is an Austrian-based manufacturer of composite aircraft. The two operate a light aircraft manufacturing facility in Yekaterinburg (Ural) to provide aircraft for Russian civil aviation.
The Boeing Company (Boeing) created a titanium production joint venture with Rostec to provide the metal for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the 737 Next Generation, and the 737 MAX. The Ural Boeing Manufacturing is located about 1,100 kilometers east of Moscow in a region of the Ural Mountains called the Titanium Valley.
The Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Stan Deal said the Russian company had been a ‘reliable and valuable partner’ for nearly a quarter of a century. Boeing determined the long-term contracts would meet about 35% of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ need for titanium. But, of course, the Russian military also uses titanium as a raw material for its defense industry, so Boeing’s support helped the Russian military develop capacity.
France's Safran SA, one of Europe's biggest aerospace firms, produces the engines, landing gear, and engine covers for the Sukhoi Superjet 100, a regional passenger jet, as part of a joint venture with UEC NPO Saturn, a Rostec subsidiary. Safran also has 24 plants with over 8,000 employees in America and is a major military supplier to every branch of the United States military. As a result, the Russian military benefited from the profits of these enterprises and technology transfer and manufacturing ability and knowledge.
Leonardo is an Italian multinational technology and defense firm with 7,000 employees in the United States. Leonardo DRS is a United States defense contractor and operates in Russia with a joint venture called HeliVert in the Moscow suburb of Tomilino has led to the creation of the AW-139 multipurpose helicopter.
HeliVert is a joint venture between Leonardo and two companies controlled by the Russian government - Russian Helicopters and Rosneft, with each Russian business owning a 30% stake in the venture. Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Rostec, mainly manufactures heavy helicopters for the Russian military, and Rosneft is a Russian energy company.
Novikombank is the core financial institution for Rostec, as it is a subsidiary. In addition, Novikombank assists in various fundraising activities for its parent and subsidiaries, issuing bonds and stock shares. The participation of Western investors is unknown, but one is inclined to speculate that wealthy investors, hungry for returns on stale capital, have significant investments in these enterprises, thereby helping to fund the Russian military-industrial complex efforts.
Western financial firms are still promoting investments in Russia, despite sanctions and the resultant uncertainty after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For example, in early March 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, JPMorgan Chase strategists promoted the bonds of Russian companies with significant international operations as an investment strategy. In addition, western investors can still trade in the bonds of Russian companies that are not on the sanction list and have dollar bonds.
Money has no flag, and the picture of Western support for the Russian military is unknown and likely unknowable. Regardless, the situation is analogous to buying one’s murder weapon. Western sanctions will further tighten the pipeline of goods and technology and make it much more difficult for the Russians to garner technological imports necessary to make truly advanced weapon systems comparable to American standbys. That development presages further movement of alignment of Russia with China, if only for technical goods. Knowing China’s stomach for strengthening a historical rival requires a crystal ball and may only be a function of its desire to hobble the United States.
Hacktivism, or digital means to obtain data for political means, has changed the arc of political discourse and governmental power. Often presented as digital vigilantes and watchdogs serving progressive causes, these individuals and groups have much more nuanced agendas, including acting as self-appointed military and law enforcement organizations. Governments cannot affect hacktivists other than by legal threats, so they represent a wild card. Regardless, hacktivism is here to stay.
Hacktivism is computer hacking (as by infiltration and disruption of a network or website) done to further the goals of political or social activism. These digital vigilantes target large corporations, religious organizations, terrorists, drug dealers, and pedophiles. Government-sponsored cyberwar activities are entirely different.
Hacktivism is necessarily asymmetric. Hacktivist organizations are lone wolves, individuals, or small groups of loosely-aligned people collaborating on a common goal. These efforts are digital judo, where the opponent's strengths become their weaknesses. Large organizations require networks to connect users. The larger the organization, the more the users and the larger the digital infrastructure. However, the servers themselves are weak, and every virtual user, such as sales, operations, department, and employee, adds more weaknesses.
Hacktivism is a relatively new phenomenon dating from the 1980s. As hacktivism is a unique and evolving phenomenon, people struggle to define it and attempt to break it into discreet categories. These ‘splitters’ attempt to segregate strategies but the finiteness of this obscure understanding and clarity. ‘Lumpers’ tend to try to lump groups into broad categories and can blur deeper understanding. Intermediate approaches to hacktivism may be a better strategy.
Hacktivists can be civil disobedients with lofty and progressive motives. Depending on ones’ ideological viewpoint, their actions might be free speech acts founded on sincere political commitments. This gloss makes hacktivism a protest, like civil disobedience, in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. This scenario pits the noble revolutionary or crusading reporter against the power of a repressive state and seems positive, but obscures nuance.
Hacktivism and Whistle Blowing
Hacktivists can have an outsized effect on political discourse and may help check government overreach. A controversial example is the case of Edward Snowden, a now-exiled American computer specialist, and former CIA employee and National Security contractor. He leaked classified details of the top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. Snowden resides in Russia under political asylum and is a fugitive from American justice authorities. The United States charged him with espionage and theft of government property.
Chelsea Manning is another whistleblower case intersecting Wikileaks. In 2010 authorities arrested Chelsea Manning for disclosing information to Wikileaks, then published by The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel. In 2013 the court convicted Manning of 17 of the 22 charges but acquitted her of ‘aiding the enemy.’ President Barack Obama commuted all but four months of her sentence at the end of her term resulting in freedom in 2017.
Hacktivists as Law Enforcement and Quasi-Military Organizations
Hacktivists can be self-appointed law enforcement, paramilitary organizations, and citizen-militias. The Anonymous hacktivist collective has been bombarding Russia with cyber-attacks since declaring ‘cyber war’ on President Vladimir Putin in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. For example, anonymous hacktivists interrupted Russian television programming with a video clip with images of bombs exploding in Ukraine and soldiers talking about the horrors of the war. Other hacktivists temporarily disrupted the websites of the Moscow stock exchange, Russia’s federal security agency, and the country’s largest bank Sberbank. Anonymous also hacked darknet websites dedicated to pedophilia and publicized the user names of the sites.
A potential risk to these activities in the Ukraine conflict is a Russian interpretation of the hacktivist acts as sponsored by the United States government, a scenario the government has likely accounted for and developed contingencies to address. Whether the United States government is behind such activities is unknown, but certainly, cyberwarfare has been a significant amount of the research budget of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It is certainly plausible the United States government funds or otherwise assists some of these efforts.
One person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist and such is true in hacktivism. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is a group of computer hackers who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It initially emerged in April 2011 during the rise of anti-regime protests in Syria. The SEA disrupted the website of the Washington Post in 2013 and hacked social media accounts and websites associated with National Public Radio (NPR), the Associated Press (AP), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Al-Jazeera, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Hacktivists Attacking Bigotry
Hacktivists have also targeted white nationalists. For brief periods Hacktivists shut down Gab, a social network catering to white nationalists and other right-wing extremists. Distributed Denial of Secrets publicized information on the Oath Keepers, a Christian nationalist revolutionary group. That information included about 5 gigabytes of emails, chat logs, members and donor lists, and other files from the Oath Keeper servers.
These hacktivist attacks on Christian Nationalist groups date back to 2012 when Anonymous declared ‘Operation Blitzkrieg’ against neo-Nazi and other hate groups and caused havoc, including website disruptions and releases of the supporter’s personal information. In 2021 Anonymous pilfered and leaked data held by Epik, a website hosting firm popular with far-right organizations like the Proud Boys. The leak included 150 gigabytes of data from years of online activities from far-right groups.
Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, Anonymous focused its efforts on the Minneapolis Police Department. It used distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack to disable the department’s website. A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the regular traffic of a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. Additionally, to further condemn police brutality, Anonymous crashed more police department sites around the country and defaced other networks.
When Liberals Collided with Hacktivism
One of the areas where ideologies collide with hacktivism is when the hacktivist action results in damage to a nominally liberal figure. The most famous is when Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, leaked a collection of emails between then-candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager. WikiLeaks is a whistle-blowing organization. As the name indicates, its preferred hacktivism attack type is leaks, and it has been a hosting domain of leaked documents since its launch in 2006. Most likely, a group of Russian hackers whose objective was to tilt the election in Donald Trump's favor provided the data to Wikileaks. The material affected media coverage of the Clinton campaign, with many blaming her loss mainly on the incident. The Department of Justice ultimately indicted 12 Russian hackers for the email hacks.
The United States government uses the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which initially targeted Mafia groups and anti-terrorism anti-treason statutes to suppress hacktivism. This mechanism is the primary check on the activities of these organizations. Defensive measures such as security also help passively, but the expertise of the hackers in these organizations is impressive and proven by the empirical results.
Dangers of vigilantism are inherent in their structures, and hacktivism is no exception. The small sizes combined with fervent political convictions can result in extremism. Unfortunately, this tendency is relatively unchecked and indeed not governed by a democratic process. On the other hand, the United States has a long history of whistleblowers and truth-tellers keeping power in check, and they often seem to provide beneficial results. Whether one agrees with these organizations, they appear here to stay.
Harry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio is a member of a group of social media actors who exploit and profit from their criminal and near-criminal conduct. Formerly a petty thief and perpetual underachiever, Tarrio became a co-founder of a white nationalist group called the Proud Boys. The FBI arrested Tarrio in Miami and charged him crimes related to the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol. Tarrio, a serial felon, has flipped before, and the United States Department of Justice will undoubtedly pressure him to flip again, provided he has meaningful information.
Tarrio, of Cuban descent, grew up in a dominantly Cuban area of Miami and is reasonably well-educated, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami. That sounds like an excellent launch to a middle-class lifestyle, but there is a much darker side to Tarrio, as he engaged in sequential criminal behavior descending toward his current situation.
Miami-Dade County successfully prosecuted Tarrio in 2004, when he was 20, on grand theft and dealing in stolen property for stealing a $55,000 motorcycle. The judge sentenced Tarrio to three years' probation, including community service and payment of restitution. Unfortunately, diversion and rehabilitation are not the forte of the American criminal justice system. In this case, it appears the system washed their hands of Tarrio, and unfortunately, the slap on Tarrio’s wrist failed to divert his maladaptive behavior.
Tarrio seems to have buckled down and graduated in 2009 graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in business. It is unlikely the University of Miami will ever feature him on their distinguished alumni lists. Tarrio represents he was District Manager of Nextel from 2003 to 2006. Tarrio’s LinkedIn profile says that he has been Chief Executive Officer at Spie Surveillance and Automation Technologies since that time.
The company’s rustic website claims it provides automated security system services. Given its amateurish presentation, one has trouble believing Tarrio generated much revenue via this avenue. Tarrio is the registered agent for several corporate entities in Florida, including Spie Security LLC, Fund the West LLC, Proudboys LLC, and Warboys LLC.
The FBI arrested Tarrio in 2013 and charged him with misbranding medical devices and possession of, conspiracy to sell, and transferring stolen goods. Tarrio and two other men re-labeled and sold diabetes test kits. Tarrio pleaded guilty and served 16 months in federal prison. The government cut his sentence almost in half because of his ‘substantial assistance in the prosecution of others.’ In other words, Tarrio flipped on his co-conspirators to garner a reduced sentence. Tarrio worked undercover for investigators after his arrest to earn the reduced sentence.
Despite his felony record, Tarrio ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2020 in Florida's 27th congressional district and withdrew. He also obtained $15,000 in paycheck protection program loans in 2021.
Tarrio created a special chapter of the Proud Boys known as the Ministry of Self Defense. VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys in 2016. The Proud Boys are a males-only group of self-described ‘Western chauvinists.’ Proud Boys members appeared conjointly with other extremist hate groups, including at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In February 2021, the Canadian government designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity, citing the role the group played in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Members of the group espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.
Tarrio’s presentation, like the rest of the Proud Boys, is macho and militaristic. Tarrio’s branding includes a baseball cap, wraparound shades, and paramilitary gear. Tarrio is slight of build, bald, and has a potbelly, so underneath the costume, he is anything but imposing, like many of his overweight colleagues in white nationalist movements.
Two days before a mob of white trash stormed the United States Capitol Building in January 2021, Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C. arrested Tarrio for a December 2020 incident in which he burned a Black Lives Matter flag, stolen from a historic Black church. Tarrio admitted to burning the flag, torn down from Asbury United Methodist, a misdemeanor crime. Prosecutors also charged Tarrio charged with weapons violations for possessing high-capacity firearm magazines. Tarrio publicly admitted he burned the flag, saying, ‘I didn’t do it out of hate ... I did it out of love.’ Tarrio, in this statement, either appears to be delusional or an inveterate liar, but the combination of the two traits is likely.
The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed on Tarrio and the Proud Boys for stealing a Black Lives Matter sign, identifying the act as a hate crime in a related civil suit. Regardless of a prison sentence, one might surmise that should the plaintiff prevail and get a damage claim; they will hobble both Tarrio and the Proud Boys in any future endeavors.
The Department of Justice indicted Tarrio on conspiracy and other charges related to the January 6, 2021 insurrection, and the FBI arrested Tarrio on March 8, 2022. In addition, the DOJ named him in a superseding formal indictment in the District of Columbia, including five previously charged defendants.
Tarrio and his co-defendants, all of whom were leaders or members of the Ministry of Self Defense, conspired to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, the certification of the Electoral College vote. The formal accusation says the defendants directed, mobilized, and led crowd members onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, and assaults on law enforcement.
American society is dissonant in its reward and punishment systems. The nation's laws prohibit many antisocial and criminal behaviors, while much of its economic system arguably rewards such endeavors. A media system now dominated by social media and Infotainment is hungry for clicks and views and viewers and followers and reward inflammatory conduct with money. The best provocateurs such as Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and Mark Levin skate toward the edge of legality but remain relatively invulnerable from criminal prosecution and enrich themselves in the process.
The second tier of such folks, such as Alex Jones of Infowars and alt-right leader Richard Spencer get quite a bit closer to peril and, through their lack of insight and intelligence, gather gobs of civil judgments but stay out of prison through guile and luck.
The tertiary set of actors lacks the intelligence or self-control to manage their careers in the Hate-industrial complex and seem to run afoul of the law and face lengthy times alone in prison to reflect on their misdeeds. White nationalists cleverly insulate leaders from actual criminal acts by establishing cells and ‘leaderless resistance.’ Actors such as Tarrio and Elmer ‘Stewart’ Rhodes forgot this page from that playbook. Barring the reelection of Donald Trump in 2024, convictions in these cases send these guys to prison for a long time.
The consequences of the Trump presidency continue to reverberate through society. The reckoning with the results of the confluence of the awakening of racism among white Americans, the realities of the post-Caucasian United States, stagnant real incomes, and economic stagnation have yet to come.
The unfortunate reality is that most Americans face these brutal realities yet seem unable to talk about how to fix them. A corporate social and conventional media system that harvests the profits from the hate it fosters is unlikely to change until that becomes unprofitable. Social media systems gear algorithms designed to feed extremist views to audiences already inclined to consume them to help sell more advertisement revenue in the name of ‘shareholder value.’ These algorithms create an echo chamber of editorializing often absent facts that reinforces but does not challenge such views.
Tarrio seems more a pathetic and maladjusted person inclined to petty thievery than a revolutionary figure. Despite his claims of Afro-Latin ancestry and declaiming racist viewpoints, he is a leader of a white nationalist group that is all-male, proudly misogynistic, and racist, so by default, despite his statements, he is a white nationalist. He is also a serial convicted felon and looking at a long stretch in federal prison.
The DOJ is undoubtedly looking to flip Tarrio once again. They know his psychology and have flipped him before. Tarrio claimed indigence in his initial hearing, and the court appointed a public defender to represent him and absent some right-wing benefactor’s funding for a private attorney; Tarrio will get the defense he pays for. The DOJ will deal with Tarrio if he has meaningful information. Should Tarrio flip, the next one up the food chain could be more interesting.
The Chicago Cubs had a nice run and won a World Series in 2016, and their ownership appears to have taken a page out of the Chicago professional franchise owners’ playbook. Chicago Cubs fans hoping for a winning team better be young, as it appears it will be a long time until the next good Cubs team.
Chicago has four professional sports franchises: the Cubs and White Sox in baseball, the Bulls in basketball, the Bears in football, and the Black Hawks in hockey. In addition, Chicago is the third-largest media market and has a considerable population of affluent, loyal, and arguably masochistic fans. Unfortunately for Chicago sports fans, Chicago franchise owners appear to have developed a template for operations that include occasionally building a good team, reducing costs, and harvesting the profits for decades.
These franchises have a lot in common:
Jerry Reinsdorf, an 86-year-old worth $1.7 billion, is the public face of ownership of the Chicago Bulls. The Chicago Bulls, founded in 1966, won an NBA championship was 1998, giving them a 23-year drought. The Bulls are the fourth most valuable NBA team at about $3.7 billion.
The Chicago White Sox, also purchased by Reinsdorf in 1981, won the World Series in 2005, so now they’re going on a 17-year drought. The White Sox had gone 88 years without a championship, as they last won a title in 1906. The White Sox franchise is worth about $1.7 billion. Given the relative disparity in value between the Cubs and White Sox combined with Reinsdorf’ s advanced age, one might suspect the White Sox are next in line for investments and attendant titles.
The Chicago Bears had a dream team in 1985 that won the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the Bears have now gone 37-years without a Super Bowl win. The Bears had gone 22 years as their previous league championship was in 1963. As outlined in an earlier investigation, the McCaskey family owns the Chicago Bears, but that will almost certainly change soon,
The Chicago Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 2015, winning three championships between 2010 and 2015. Their most recent title prior had been 1961, 49 years prior. The Wirtz family owns the Chicago Black Hawks, and they now have a net worth of $4.4 billion. The Chicago Blackhawks are the fourth-highest valued NHL franchise at $1.4 billion.
The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, after having gone 108 years without a championship team. The Rickets family bought the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and have a net worth of $4.5 billion. Ricketts bought 95% of the Cubs from the Chicago Tribune for $900 million and sold part ownership in 2014 to raise $150 million to help fund renovations to Wrigley Field.
Originally priced at $550 million, the investments are at least 100% over budget. Don’t cry a river for the Ricketts family as the Chicago Cubs are now worth about $3.4 billion, making them the fourth most valuable team in major league baseball. The Cubs trimmed their payroll to about $98 million for 2022 from about $144 million in 2021, a reduction of $46 million. Their payroll costs now rank 18th in a 30-team league.
The Ricketts family runs a real estate investment firm called Hickory Street Capital. They used this organization to develop a sports-industrial destination nested around Wrigley field. This development includes 93,000 square feet of office space, 85,100 square feet of retail space, a 173-room Hotel Zachary adjacent to the area, and an open-air entertainment plaza. These ancillary investments allow the Ricketts family to charge their organization for office leases and harvest the spin-off party culture around Wrigley Field.
Profit considerations have already determined the future of the Chicago Cubs. The Ricketts family purchased a moribund franchise from the Chicago Tribune in a fire sale at a bargain cost, then moved strategically to build infrastructure in and around the stadium while bringing the franchise back to winning status.
In the process, their project has been highly successful. The franchise value increase alone has yielded huge returns. Regardless Chicago Cubs officials paint a bleaker picture of operating losses. The Ricketts family does not have to open their books to the public, so these statements are open to question. Empirical evidence suggests that any narrative implying losses is erroneous.
The Ricketts family benefits from the losing money narrative in many ways. It allows them to maintain selling costs of tickets and concessions and reduce payroll investments.
Borrowing from the timeworn playbook, the Chicago Cubs organization will maintain a manager whose job appears to be more a media punching bag for poor performance than actual managing. Instead, marketing will likely combine nostalgia for past great teams and players with hopes for the future.
Future marketing messaging will glorify hopes for young arms and youthful bats combined with cheap aging castoff veterans. One can expect nostalgic banners of past Cub greats pasted all over Wrigley Field combined with hopes about the next title. Such might occur, but it will happen without attendant investments in payroll.
Regardless the Ricketts family fortune will continue to grow because of their canny business practices. But anyone who confuses franchise ownership in Chicago to commitment to winning needs a reality pill.
Michael Donnelly investigates societal concerns with an untribal approach - to limit the discussion to the facts derived from primary sources so the reader can make more informed decisions.