The pieces aren't in place yet for the Cubs, but the plan is and so is the braintrust. Whether Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Dale Sveum will succeed remains a mystery, and the fact is there's more to be done. A lot more.
So on the cusp of Wrigley Field's 99th birthday, RedEye presents 99 things the Cubs need to do before they can return to glory.
99. Win the World Series. Duh.
98. Make Carlos Marmol go bye bye.
97. Tell the rooftop owners to go pound sand. And do it publicly.
96. Prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Theo Epstein is not a robot.
95. Stop signing players named "Scott."
94. Let fans participate in the annual spring training bunting contest.
93. Reward your incredibly patient fans by doing something wonderful for them.
92. And no, a Dale Sveum bobblehead night does not count as "something wonderful."
91. No more statues unless it's one commemorating a World Series title.
90. And yes, I do mean a Cubs World Series title.
89. Hire that young upstart John McDonough away from the Blackhawks.
88. Give Steve Bartman four season tickets for life. Don't make it public.
87. Find a way to bring Sammy Sosa back. And not in a Fredo Corleone sort of way.
86. Keep demanding more than just nickel and dime additions to Wrigley Field.
85. Move out for a year if needed and get it ALL done, or find a new home.
84. Should that home be in Rosemont? Don't be stupid. The Cubs can be cheesy, but not that cheesy.
83. Create a promotion called "Bill Murray's Groundhog Day" and then do it every year. With the same teams and, in a perfect world, the same fans.
82. Let kids run the bases after every game.
81. Trade Matt Garza the morning after his first decent start.
80. Under no circumstances re-sign Garza.
79. See No. 47.
77. Whomever you draft No. 2 overall in June should make his MLB debut in 2014. Or we will turn on you.
76. Brett Jackson and/or Josh Vitters are only part of the future if they're traded for players who will be part of the future.
75. The honeymoon ends the day after the 2014 season is over.
74. This means any success before 2015 is gravy, anything less than playoffs afterward is failure.
73. OK, let's talk about third base. As soon as it's humanly possible, stop giving Luis Valbuena at-bats. Just stop.
72. Yeah, I know he's the best third baseman they have. I just can't bear that this is true.
71. For the love of God, don't try and tell me Ian Stewart still may get his swing back.
70. Get off to a hot start this season to find out if Dale Sveum knows how to manage.
69. Cool off in time to make trade deadline deals.
68. So what happens if the Cubs are contending in late July? I will eat this entire issue of RedEye.
67. Even the iPad version.
66. Start a contest for fans to guess when Starlin Castro will get his 3,000th hit. (Put me down for July 23, 2027.)
65. Swap teams with the Kane County Cougars one day this season. See if anyone notices.
64. Pray Travis Wood turns into a quality starter. Unless the Cubs don't think young, cheap and lefty is their thing.
63. You want to keep morale up? Finish above .500 at home.
61. Win a season series from the White Sox for the first time since 2007.
60. You don't think beating the White Sox matters? It matters.
59. Hire @OzzieGuillen as your Social Media Coordinator.
58. Love the new seventh-inning stretch rules, but don't stop there: Don't let anyone in the booth.
57. Nothing kills the tension of a tight game than mindless banter with a guest, any guest.
56. Lock Jeff Samardzija up until 2018; he's the real deal.
55. Admit that locking up Edwin Jackson until 2016 will backfire.
53. One difference: The Angels gave up next to nothing, the Cubs should expect at least one decent prospect for Soriano.
51. When the Cubs are actually good, please don't mindlessly stick with your closer.
50. Because I'm starting to think Marmol's real last name is "Ricketts."
49. Actually, keeping Marmol as closer seems more like part of the long-term plan to get higher draft picks.
48. Take your slogan "Committed" off your website and I'll stop assuming Wrigley is an insane asylum.
47. See No. 79.
45. Fleece a general manager who doesn't work for the Padres.
44. Get lucky.
43. Albert Pujols was a 13th-round draft pick, the 402nd pick of the 1999 draft. That's getting lucky.
42. Have a public 30th anniversary party at Wrigley Field next year for the 1984 Cubs.
41. More than any other, that Cubs team turned the franchise around.
40. Would you believe only 1,479,717 tickets were sold in 1983? They topped 2.1 million in 1984 and never looked back.
39. I know, that team ultimately choked. Thanks for reminding me.
38. Get Tom Ricketts to run his own fake Tom Ricketts twitter account.
37. Don't get no-hit. The last time the Cubs were no-hit was Sept. 9, 1965, the longest streak of not being no-hit in MLB history.
36. Revenue-generating idea: Convert a skybox into the coolest condo in Wrigleyville.
35. Create a School for Wayward Cubs Fans.
34. Find a way to honor Kerry Wood's career, not just his 20-strikeout game. Not a statue.
33. Hold a contest where the first person to take a picture of Dale Sveum smiling wins a gazillion dollars.
32. Have Theo go on "Undercover Boss" wearing a fake nose and glasses.
31. Have Jed go on "Undercover Boss" wearing no disguise at all.
30. Have Marmol go on "Undercover Boss." And stay undercover.
29. Sorry about Nos. 47 and 79. Couldn't help myself.
28. Inform Samardzija he's allowed to have a girlfriend and he's allowed to get a haircut
27. Let Soriano leave with dignity. He's been a great teammate and, despite not living up to his huge contract, has been a solid player.
26. When you tell Marmol he's been traded next time tell him to leak it only on Google+ so nobody will notice.
25. OK, enough about Marmol. He's not a bad guy, he's just bad at baseball.
24. Pick one softball league to play its championship game at Wrigley Field.
23. I know Ryne Sandberg isn't coming back to manage, but I'm certain he could have won 61 games last season.
22. Revenue-generating idea: Sell naming rights to each seat in Wrigley Field.
21. Not seat licenses, just naming rights to each seat. Like bricks outside Wrigley, only inside Wrigley.
20. 40,000 x $250 each = $12 million. Enough to pay one season of Edwin Jackson's salary.
19. Dumb idea? Maybe, but not as dumb as the college of coaches. BOOM! 1960s-era SLAM!
18. Do your own version of the insane video the White Sox made for Opening Day. Only have it not suck.
17. Find a way to honor Mark Grace. Suggestion: Rename the Captain Morgan Club after him.
16. Focus on pitching.
15. Focus on pitching.
14. Focus on pitching.
13. Seriously, focus on pitching.
12. Find a way to honor Shawon Dunston. Suggestion: Let kids take BP and teach them how to swing at outside sliders in the dirt.
11. Once a year, sell tickets to the bleachers only on the day of the game. For old times' sake.
10. And if you really want to do it right, sell the tickets for $3.50.
9. Keep selling the beer at obscene prices. For old times' sake.
8. If you really do have a document called "The Cubs Way," let Andre Dawson write the foreword to it.
7. Revenue-generating idea: Sell naming rights to Wrigley Field. Really.
6. It would bring in tens of millions and prove you care more about winning than what some old ballpark is named.
5. Besides, nobody will call it anything other than Wrigley Field.
4. Although my kids do say Willis Tower now.
3. Develop an organization that doesn't have 99 things it needs to do.
2. You saw what I was doing with the numbers, right? Yeah, don't honor Ryan Theriot.
1. Win the World Series. Duh.
Jimmy Greenfield is a RedEye special contributor and author of "100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die." It's available on Amazon.com and other outlets, which he is quite sure you can find if you Google them.
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