Cubs owe Ronnie ‘Woo Woo’ an apology

Dear Cubs,

What did Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers ever do to you other than give you his loyalty?

It is hard to figure what you have to win in this ongoing battle between you and a 75-year-old fan. A fan who is arguably more popular than your official mascot, Clark the Bear.

Sorry, but I don’t see how your story explaining why you kicked Ronnie out of the bleachers during the seventh inning of a game on April 19 holds up.

You claim that Wickers was booted because he couldn’t produce a ticket. But why are you even bothering to ask him for his ticket in the seventh inning – when the game is almost over? Did you ask all of the other 40,000 fans to produce their tickets that inning? Did you ask any of them? Well, other than Ronnie’s friend, of course. The one who actually had the ticket on his phone.

Isn’t there a presumption that once you’re in the ballpark you’re in there because you produced a ticket to enter the stadium? That’s how I’ve always gotten in. If I’m ever asked to produce my ticket during a game it is only to show where I’m sitting. But that shouldn’t be necessary in the bleachers where it is general admission seating. I’ve been to many games in the bleachers over the years. Not once have I been asked to prove that I belonged there once I was there.

By all accounts but yours, Wickers did get into the game with the e-ticket of a friend. That ticket was on his friend’s phone. That friend also got booted because when you asked him to produce the ticket on his phone he couldn’t call it up. He then allegedly got a little belligerent. But what do you expect? He produced a ticket to get into the ballpark and now you’re asking him to produce it again seven innings into the game. Have you ever tried to use your cell phone during a game at Wrigley Field? It’s almost impossible. Reception is terrible. How could he have been reasonably expected to call up the ticket if he doesn’t have cell reception? And for the record, he has since proven that he did indeed have two e-tickets to the game.

So why was Wickers singled out in the first place? You claim that he tried to get in earlier without a ticket. A claim for which you’ve so far produced no proof. There is the assertion by some that Wickers has managed to sneak into the ballpark in the past. Sure, maybe he did. But when was that? Twenty years ago? It’s almost impossible to get through Cubs security without having a ticket today. Security’s as tight as it is to get onto an airplane. As it should be. And if it is true that he has somehow managed to evade this security in the past, isn’t that really an indictment of Cubs security? Really, how does one of the most recognizable fans not get noticed entering into the ballpark? If it’s that easy for him to get in how hard would it be for a legitimate security risk to enter the ballpark?

You see, your side of the story just doesn’t add up.

So, again, I ask: What did Ronnie ever do to you to make you treat him this way?

I know some fans find his incessant wooing annoying. But I have a strong sense that he’s got a lot more supporters than detractors. And there are a lot more annoying fans in the ballpark. Ronnie doesn’t drink. He doesn’t get into fights. He doesn’t even use foul language. He’s just a nice guy. A guy who has loyally cheered for the Cubs for half a century. He’s given you plenty of free PR. Thousands of fans have posed for photos with him over the years. You don’t see how this is a losing battle for you? What can you possibly win by beating up on a 75-year-old fan?

The jokes are predictably already starting to come that the Cubs’ mediocre play so far this season is due to the Curse of Ronnie “Woo Woo.” After all, the mother of all Cubs curses began when the team kicked out Billy Sianis’ goat during the 1945 World Series. Ronnie’s no goat. He may seem like a clown to you but he’s a human being. If you ever took the time to actually talk to him, you’d see this.

Is this really the way you want to treat one of your most loyal fans? As a long-time fan myself, I sure hope not.

Your spokesman, Julian Green, referred to the “integrity” of the ticket in one of his less-than-impressive media responses to WooGate. He says the team takes “ticket integrity seriously.” Maybe try taking your most loyal fans seriously. Maybe try some compassion and respect for your fans. Maybe try actually listening to them. Aren’t they worth more than a ticket? Take a cue from United Airlines, which learned its lesson the hard way.

Treat Ronnie with respect. Treat all fans with respect. That’s what we ask of you.

And do the right thing: apologize to Ronnie for the way you’ve treated him. It’s the very least you could do. Believe me, you’ll feel better for it. He’ll feel way better. And then we can all move on and get back to baseball.

There’s still time to right the ship. The quest to be the second Cubs team in history to win back-to-back championships will be a lot easier if we  have some positive karma on our side. A simple apology to Ronnie would be a good start.

Just do something right and do it fast. Before the woos turn into boos.

Randy Richardson is the author of the Wrigleyville murder mystery, Lost in the Ivy, and a regular contributor to Wrigleyville Nation