Monday, September 15, 2008

Cuban Shut Out

Maury hears that Thomas Ricketts -- and not Mark Cuban -- has won the bidding war for the Cubbies:

Word on the street is that Thomas Ricketts and the Ricketts family are the winning bidders for the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in ComcastSports Chicago. Thomas Ricketts is the chief executive of Chicago investment bank Incapital LLC and son Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

Word also is that the announcement will come 2 days after the end of the World Series.
Interesting. Based on its past history, Major League Baseball is not entitled to a presumption that the process played out fair-and-square here, but there's not much we can say objectively about it unless and until the bidding information is ever revealed, and my guess is that it won't be.

The real question is whether Cuban entered into a confidentiality agreement when he submitted his bid. If not, I'm hoping we'll hear him grouse about the process soon.


Michael M said...

I was really hoping he'd win. I think he would have brought a lot of great energy and spunk to an already-exciting franchise.

Pete Toms said...

Craig and I have had this conversation outside of this blog, but can I ask the Shyster flock; why is everybody so in favor of Cuban? I'm not anti Cuban at all. My question is why are us chattering classes so in favor of him. What's the big appeal?

Pete Toms said...

Craig. Why "Cuban Shut Out" and not "Ricketts the favorite"?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Pete -- others may chime in, but Cuban in Dallas has been seen as a fan's owner. He took what was a near laughingstock franchise and either (a) made it consistently competitive; or (b) put the people in place that did the actual work (I really don't know). At the same time, he has been remarkably accessible for an owner, and that's appealing to a lot of people. Whether this is more flash than substance is open for debate, but I think that's the perception.

As a memeber of the chattering class, I'll cop to the notion that it's way more interesting to write about Cuban, and I secretly hope that he would be become something of a pain to the very insular world of baseball owners for that very reason. Good copy!

As for the title: unless you're a hardcore Cub fan, you don't care about the ownership transition of the team outside of the context of Cuban's potential involvement. Call me a whore, but more people are going to be interestd in reading "Cuban Shut Out" than "Rickets the favorite."

Pete Toms said...

Fair enough, everybody knows who Cuban is and not many of us know who Ricketts is.

If I were an owner I don't know if I would want Cuban as a partner. One of the principal reasons that there has been labor peace in MLB ( the biggest being obviously the grotesque amounts of money the industry is generating ) is that Selig has unified the owners. He has done some unethical ( some would say ) things to achieve that end but you can't argue with the results. Pre Bud, the owners were their own worst enemy. If I'm an owner I don't want a loose cannon in the ranks.

Ok, he turned around a shitty basketball team ( I don't know, I've no interest ) but many owners do that and nobody knows what they look like. Bloggers like him because he is one of them. Fans like him because he blows his stack courtside, he gets fined and he sticks it to the "man" ( the notion of a billionare, even one in jeans & t shirt sticking it to "the man" is laughable but I digress ).

John Henry has done great things with his ball team but he's not the subject of the fawning that Cuban is in the media and on blogs ( I'm swearing off blogosphere ) that Cuban does. Henry is a quiet, ( publicly anyway ) geeky lookin guy. He's not cool. Cuban is cool.

Let me ask this. Everybody assumes Cuban would be the best owner. In order to make that assertion credibly you have to know something about the other bidders. What's wrong ( or not as appealing ) with Ricketts?

Michael M said...

I am a hardcore Cubs fan and I'm definitely bummed Cuban lost out, for the exact reasons Craig just listed (Craig's list, haha, I amuse myself).

Anyway, Cuban seems like he would do what it takes to maximize access to the Cubs and he has a very friendly demeanor that would go with Wrigley. I'm kind of tired of having such a distant ownership group like the Trib. I love that Hendry has the freedom he has, but that's likely because the Trib could care less now that they won't be footing the Cubs' salaries. I just feel like Cuban would have kept the cash flowing into the team, and we don't know what Ricketts will want to do.

Daniel said...

I would have preferred Cuban be the Cubs owner. Why?

The collective owners of MLB teams seem to be a 30-person good ol' boys club. They sit in their meetings with their cigars, harrumph a lot, and then decide that these damn kids make too much damn money. That's the perception. Most owners are also very faceless. You hear their names, but other than a few notorious examples like Steinbrenner and Jeffrey Loria, they're not very interesting or personable.

Cuban is definitely NOT of that mold. He would be interesting, and I would be intrigued by whether or not he could change the old guard (or whether he would even try). As long as it's not my team, the spectacle itself, whether good or bad, is interesting enough. I don't even know who this Ricketts guy is, but my guess is he'll fit in with current ownership just fine.

And that's boring as hell.

mooseinohio said...

I concur with Daniel in that I wanted to see an 'outsider' get into the mix with the baseball owners. The whole anti-trust issue has allowed Selig to play a shell game with ownership groups and select those who pass muster with the inner most circle of owners. I wonder if Steinbrenner would be allowed in nowadays as he was in many ways the predecessor of Cuban as he turned around the a Yankee francisee that CBS had considered moving to Florida and eventually dump it to George to simply get rid of it. In many ways what Cuban has done with the Mavs is minor compared to the Steinbrenner and the Billy Martin episodes or his using the NY media to bash players or his overspending on players and greatly aiding to the hyper-inflation of salaries. Is Cuban better than the Ricketts? Who truly knows but selecting Cuban may be an indicator that the powers that be in baseball recognize the need to appeal to the fans and not just what appears to be in the best interest of a select group of baseball power brokers.