Sister Jean from Loyola University has taken center stage as the cinderella team makes their way to the Final Four. Can Sister Jean also pray for the Cubs and the Republican Party as we head into the 2018 midterms? RNC Finance Chairman and co owner of the Chicago Cubs, Todd Ricketts joins Dan and Amy for a preview of the Final Four, Cubs, and 2018 midterms.
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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. Sister Jean...not seen, as I said, a run by a person of the cloth like Sister Jean's since at least Bishop Pickering in Caddyshack, and hers is ending off better, at least so far, as Loyola faces off against Michigan in San Antonio this coming Saturday. Jacobson: I know! They've won 14 straight, we're hoping to make it 16. *Game Sound plays from tape* Jacobson: Yeah, and that hero for that game was Ben Richardson, so they trade off who is the hero every game. Which is great, because that's what makes them a great TEAM. Proft: Great team basketball, well-coached by Bennett Academy alumnus... Jacobson: Oh, I'm sorry, who? Proft: Porter Moser. Jacobson: Yeah. Proft: Not good enough for Illinois State, huh Redbirds? Huh, Redbirds? Would you like to extend and revise your review of one Porter Moser? *strained* How would you like Porter Moser to be coaching your team NOW? Jacobson: They had a great homecoming for them yesterday at the Genteel Center and...oh, Porter Moser, ear-to-ear smiling. Moser (from tape): This group on stage is what's RIGHT about college basketball! They're high-character, they're unselfish, and I tell you what...this could be an unbelievable ride and journey for our university! But NOW, it's an unbelievable ride for our country! Proft: Porter Moser giving credit to his mentor, Tony Barone, coach of Creighton where he played, and also Rick Majerus, where he was an assistant before taking the job at Loyola. Jacobson: And Rick Majerus actually talked him into taking the job. Moser (from tape): I've been blessed with two mentors, Tony Barone and Coach Rick Majerus. Coach Majerus, he was adamant, he said "You've gotta take this job!", you know, he said we were building something there, Chicago area, Jesuit school, so I think he'd be happy with the type of kids we got, and how we play the game. And that's what he would love about this. Proft: And, of course, Sister Jean is entertaining offers, probably, I suspect, the Cubs have already extended an offer for her to be one of their Goodwill Ambassadors this season. I don't know, but we could go to the source on this. We're pleased to be joined by Cubs co-owner, but also newly-minted Chairman of the RNC Finance Committee, Todd Ricketts. Todd, thanks for being with us, appreciate it. Ricketts: Hey guys, thanks for having me. Jacobson: So, are you gonna have Sister Jean throw out the first pitch on Opening Day, huh? Ricketts: Well I would just...well, I don't know about that, we'll wait till the season's over before we start having talks about that. But, I do...I do say to Sister Jean before each game, "Will you pray for the Cubs too?" Proft: Exactly! Ricketts: And I would just go on to say...like, the whole Sister Jean Bobblehead...yeah, that's not NEW. Right? Like, we've had those, we had those in the past, so it's important for people to know that she's been a big part of our community for a long time. Proft: Oh, no question. Actually, I dug up a Tribune article from June of 1971, where she gave a commenc...she gave an address to the graduating class at Mundelein College. So, maybe a commencement speech or two, she's still got in her, this year, starting at Loyola. Ricketts: Yeah, she definitely still has it in her, that's for sure. Jacobson: So, are you gonna go to the game on Saturday? Ricketts: Oh, of course, of course. I've been down, we were in St. Louis, we were in Dallas, we were in Atlanta, we'll be in San Antonio again. Proft: And, do you know Porter Moser by any chance, or have you gotten to know him? Ricketts: I do, you know, I joined the Board of Regents at Loyola about the same time as we hired Porter, and I've always thought he was a good coach. I didn't know that he was as special as we're finding out, but if you go back and look at the Loyola games when he first got there, we played good teams, and we NEVER got blown out. We were in every game that we lost, even though we lost a lot of them, we were always in the game, and I've always felt that Porter was a great coach, and now we're seeing that when you get just the right mix of kids, and we got...it's a special group, they're all great kids. Jacobson: And don't you love that they're all so humble? They kind of remind me of the Cubs. Ricketts: A little bit, a little. These guys, you know, the only people who are surprised at where we are right now are the people who haven't been paying attention to us for the last couple of years. Which is...this group of kids, they've been doing it, we just didn't get all the wins we wanted in the last couple of years, but it really just came together this year. We feel really great about it. Proft: Well, you know, when an 11-seed goes to the Final Four, you know...Jim Malanga at George Mason, then he goes on to the University of Miami, Shaka Smart at VCU then goes on to the University of Texas. So, Porter Moser...how you gonna keep him around, Todd? Ricketts: Well, you know, I think Porter's pretty happy here in Chicago. Obviously, the hometown kid and, you know, his family's here, they're kind of entrenched in the community. So, there's a lot of things that are keeping him here that aren't necessarily contract and dollars... Jacobson: *quietly* Damn... Proft: Tony's got FILTHY money floating around... Ricketts: Yeah...you know, those conversations have to wait until the season's over, and let's hope it lasts until Monday night. Jacobson: Okay. Well, his contract is up this season, right? Or is... Ricketts: No, he's got a couple more years on his contract, but you know, I think everybody understands that, you know, obviously those things aren't etched in stone, and the conversations are going to take place. Proft: There you go. So, who do you want them to face in the Championship Game? Is that Kansas, or Villanova? Ricketts: Well, you know, those are both tough teams...it's a tough call, because those are...they both present some challenges. But, I would point out that I believe the athletic director at Kansas now is I believe the athletic director who fired Porter at Illinois State. Proft: Oh boy! More vengeance, I love it. Jacobson: Yeah, let's build up the drama! Proft: And the kid, the point guard, Custer...he's from Overland Park, Kansas, isn't he? Ricketts: Yeah, he and Ben Richardson, they played high school basketball together. Proft: Oh yeah, that's right! That would be sweet! Anna would be...and you could beat Bill Self, former Illini coach! Boy, that could be real fun! Ricketts: Yeah, there you go. You bet...Ben and Clayton, they've been going to school together since they were in first grade. So they've known each other their whole lives, and they've played basketball together their whole lives, which is probably a lot of the reason why they act like one person on the court. Proft: And so, alright, so and we're switching gears a little, a bit more sports talk here, the Cubs...uh wait, you open on the NINTH at home? When's your home opener? Ricketts: Yeah, that's right, it's that Monday, the 9th, we've got a little bit of a long road trip to start the year. We're starting off in Miami this week, and a couple of pit stops on the way back to Chicago for the 9th, and again, another team, another special group. I feel very good about the talent level we have this year, and the attitude, so barring some catastrophic injuries, I think we're going to be right back in the mix this year. Jacobson: Right. Now, you took a new position recently as the RNC Finance Chair. How is it going, is it more than...is it what you expected? Ricketts: No no, it's actually really really great fun and I feel pretty good about that too. I...I steal this line from the mayor, who says "When the President calls you and asks you to do something, you have two choices; you can say Yes, or Yes, Sir." And so I chose to say "Yes, sir", and you know, I've been working with Rana for the last month or so, just trying to gather up the resources for the midterm elections. Proft: In some ways, we got a preview of Loyola Basketball, we got a preview of Cubs 2018, so give us a preview of GOP 2018 and midterms, particularly with some of the decisions of late, like the one on Friday that's got some Conservatives rankled. Ricketts: I'm sorry, which one are you talking about? Proft: The signing of the Omnibus spending bill on Friday that's got some Conservative rankled. Ricketts: Oh, that's right. I was watching basketball so I didn't... Jacobson: See? Ricketts: So, I feel...I actually feel pretty good about it. You know, obviously every time the President heads into a midterm in their first term, they lose some seats in the House. And this one, you know, the challenges are the same, I think we probably will lose some seats in the House, but we've got a 23-seat advantage right now, and we just have to make sure we don't lose more than 23 seats, that's really what we're going to be focused on, and working hard to make sure that doesn't happen. Proft: Alright, he is Todd Ricketts, Cubs co-owner, Loyola Board of Regents, RNC Finance Chairman...he doesn't get much sleep. Todd Ricketts, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Ricketts: Oh yeah, we're just gonna keep the winning going, all across the board. Proft: At least SOMEBODY's doing it in this state, and it's fun to watch! Thanks, Todd. Ricketts: I will talk to you guys later. Proft: See ya.