Out with the old, in with the Nucleus
Last week a flock of flying monkeys swirled up from the charred brick dungeon deep below the Tribune Tower. The menacing screech of these avian-primates sending word that the dark lord Sam Zell is one step closer to releasing our beloved franchise from his cold bony hands.
This is good news for 2 reasons:
1. The Cubs have been in ownership limbo for long enough. Everything has been in stand still mode since the Tribune buyout. Could you imagine if Lou decided he had enough of Soriano’s disappearing-reappearing bat and decided to quit? What top flight manager could the Cubs attract with such an unstable situation?
2. The Cubs were never going to win the World Series with Sam Zell as owner. Powerful forces were at work ensuring any Cubs title hopes would be thwarted. It is widely understood that any drought breaking championship win by the North sider’s would instantly ensure everybody even loosely associated with the club, from the owner down to the bathroom attendant, a place in Cub’s lore. Their own float in the parade and another line in their obituary. They would be remembered forever. But, the exact minute the Cub’s get that final out, the owners place in history set, the resale value of the franchise drops a couple hundred million!
Think about it. It’s not just the Cubs that are for sale, it’s not just Wrigley Field that is being sold, and not just 25% of Comcast sports net. What’s also being sold is the opportunity to have your name toasted in bars all over the world, to be famous, to be revered, to be immortalized. $700 million for the Cubs and Wrigley, $200 million to live forever.
You might not have realized the premium placed on this potential honor, but you can be sure anyone with a vested interest in getting the Cubs sold for the highest price realized this. The top of that list has Sam Zell’s name on it in big John Hancock size print.
Just below is Bud Selig’s name, and below that every other owner of a Major League Baseball team. (If the Cubs house goes for 900 million, all the other houses in MLB village are looking more expensive.) The people on that list are rich and more than capable of ensuring that they get richer.
So a sale to just about anyone at all would be great news. I don’t know much about Mr. Tom Ricketts and his fantastically rich family, except that they share a surname with a vitamin-D deficiency that is the scourge of many developing countries. As long as none of them are directly responsible for the creation and perpetuation of the disease then I think they’ll be fine owners.