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Ricketts attends first owners meeting

Ricketts attends first owners meeting

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CHICAGO -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is the new kid on the block as far as Major League Baseball owners go, and he spent his first owners meetings soaking everything in.

"It was very interesting," Ricketts said Thursday after the meetings wrapped up at the O'Hare Hilton. "We're new, so we're here to learn and listen and get to know a few folks and start being part of the organization."

Tom Ricketts and his brother Todd were welcomed by the MLB owners at a dinner Wednesday.

"[MLB Commissioner Bud Selig] made an announcement and everyone says 'Thank you' and 'Congratulations' and moves on," Tom Ricketts said.

Some Major League teams did lose money in 2009, Selig said Thursday, and team owners face tough economic times just as any other business. Tom Ricketts didn't want to make any predictions on the economy, but said the Cubs did "OK" as a team. The Cubs topped 3 million fans in home attendance for the sixth straight year in 2009.

The 2014 season will mark the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, and Selig was asked if the Cubs have been considered as the host team for the All-Star Game that year. He said he has not determined who will host the 2012 or 2013 events. Selig did say some teams that built new stadiums were promised the All-Star Game.

As far as the Cubs and their pursuit of a new Spring Training facility goes, Ricketts said they are still exploring their options. The family was expected to return to Collier County in Florida the week after Thanksgiving to get an update on prospective sites there.

"We're still in research," he said. "I imagine there's a lot more trips in the future before we make a decision. We're just doing research to decide what's best."

He was not sure about when a decision regarding Spring Training would be made. The Cubs are able to buy out their contract in Mesa, Ariz., after the 2011 season, and are considering locations near Naples, Fla., and near Mesa.

"I'm not sure exactly what our time line is," Ricketts said. "We have some flexibility."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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