The new Cubs regime has placed a premium on statue dedication ceremonies and other feel good media events to drum up support for their fledgling ballclub. To usher in the New Year, the Ricketts family announced plans for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony along I-80 near rural Minooka, Ill., where a 300-mile stretch of interstate running from Chicago to Des Moines will be renamed the “Jeff Samardzija Highway.”
“This is a special time to be a Cub, even if that means you’re an Iowa Cub and then a Chicago Cub and then an Iowa Cub once again,” said Chairman Tom Ricketts. “Nobody has burned up this stretch of highway more than Jeff the past five years. It is most befitting to take his name.”
The former Notre Dame Football standout — who bypassed an NFL career to sign a $10 million deal with Chicago back in 2007 — has been a major disappointment during his countless big league call-ups with the Cubs and is a poor Spring Training away from being released altogether. If the Cubs do part ways with Samardzija, Ricketts explained, the organization will have to rededicate the highway once more.
“A few other names have been bandied about like ‘Hoffpauir Highway,’ ‘Patterson Pike’ or ‘Brant Brown Boulevard,’ said Ricketts. “But we won’t cross that bridge unless we have to, so to speak.”
By Jeremy Barewin