And The Winner Is…
It’s been almost two years since the Chicago Cubs were put up for sale by the Tribune Company. Most Cubs fans (including myself) hoped they would be sold to billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Those hopes proved to be nothing more than pipe dreams as fans were told early and often that Cuban was not looked upon favorably by Bud Selig and many of baseball’s elite, and reports surfaced that Cuban was not one of three finalists to bid on the team. Most fans believed that their beloved Cubbies would be sold to one of Selig’s friends, who would ultimately turn the team into the Brewers.
It appears we can all rest easily, as the winners of the bidding are the Ricketts family led by Tom Ricketts according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times. Tom Ricketts is the head of TD Ameritrade and InCapital LLC, and most importantly a lifelong Cubs fan. According to the Sun-Times, other bids may have been higher, but Tribune Company favored the Ricketts bid from the beginning, as their financing of the sale would be more favorable to the Tribune’s creditors and their tight-knit family and local roots would be an easier sell to the other owners.
Ricketts used to live above a bar across the street from Wrigley Field, met his wife at a Cubs game, and released a statement hours ago that stated, “My family and I are Cubs fans. We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve.”
The sale is not final, as the Ricketts family has to jump through more hoops before making it official, but given Selig’s desire for a local owner and the fact that they bid $900 million for 95% ownership (Tribune will retain 5%), it’s a pretty good bet that this will be finalized as soon as possible. As suspicous and cynical as Cubs fans can be, if the Ricketts can prove their committment to building a championship team, this is a fanbase that can easily be won over. Now, he just has to put together a team that can get to (and maybe win) a World Series. That shouldn’t be tough.