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Mark Explains it All: Why Cuban won't buy the Cubs

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As rumors circulate that a deal to buy the Chicago Cubs is drawing near (Reuters), Mark Cuban -- once thought to be among the frontrunners -- is explaining on his blog today why he won't be buying them.

In this morning's post, titled simply "The Cubs," Cuban shoots down any inferences that would suggest the Major League Baseball owners would not have given him the 75 percent approval needed to purchase any team.
Cuban writes:

"It was pretty obvious that more than a few of the owners hoped I would come in and stir things up and stand up and speak for the owners when it came to digital rights and the future of technology and how it would impact the teams and leagues profitability. They were hoping I would be the new guy to come in and take the commissioners' arrows.  Which of course I would be fine with and happy to do if it got me their confirmation vote."

As to the rumored animosity between him and Jerry Reinsdorf, Cuban says that his relationship with the Bulls/White Sox owner is "good." He speculates, however, that his purchase of the Cubs would be not so good for the White Sox:

"Im guessing the people in the Sox organization knew, that if I bought the team, particularly at the price point that was being suggested in the papers, there was no way I would just accept parity in future business dealings. I was going to have to try to negotiate the very best deals possible for the Cubs, even if it was at the expense of the White Sox."

But in the end, it was these tough economic times that everyone keeps yapping about that derailed Cuban's attempt to save our Cubs:

"It was impossible to predict the full impact of these tough times on any sports team. That uncertainty created two issues. The first of course was valuation.  How much would I be willing to pay for the team ? I wasn't sure. More important to me was the cash flow.  If the economy had a significant impact on future revenues, it would also impact how much I could invest in players.  The absolute last position i wanted to be in was paying so much for the team, that if  revenues fell off, I couldnt play to win."

So there you have it, Cub fans. Those of you who were in attendance at the Sept. 17, 2007 game against the Reds were pretty optimistic, as I recall, that Cuban -- who enjoyed the game from the discomfort of the right-field bleachers with the beer soaked masses -- would be the one to finally turn around the franchise's 100-year tradition of poetic ineptitude.

And those who tracked him down at Murphy's after the game that night to shake his hand, wish him luck in his attempt to buy the team and maybe even knock back a can of $5 Miller Lite (yes ... can) with him will undoubtedly be disappointed by this news. I know this because I am one of those fans who may or may not have stalked Cuban that day.

But c'mon! Admit it ... the idea of Cuban coming in, cheering from the bleachers at every opportunity and transforming the team into a perennial contender and throwing a wrench into the good-old-boy baseball owners conglomerate would have made for some fantastic story lines for years to come.

Who knows what Cuban could have accomplished on the North Side? After all, this is a man who made basketball popular in Dallas ... Dallas!

Instead, Cub fans are faced with the prospect of living the rest of their lives cheering for a team owned by one of the following:

  • Chicago real estate investor Hersch Klaff
  • The Ricketts family
OR .... wait for it ...

  • A group led by New York private-equity investor Marc Utay
Was it Hemingway who wrote, "It is the dream of every young man to root, root, root for a team hometown team owned by a group led by a private-equity investor"? I hear that was part of the original lyrics of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

I can only make an educated guess as a lifelong Cubs enthusiast and resident of Wrigleyville, but I'm pretty sure that Cub fans already hate these people (or entities, as it were) who are lined up to make the purchase. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit if, under their leadership, the Cubs slide quietly back into inept oblivion. (At least you'll be able to find affordable tickets though ...)

So whose bid for one of the most storied teams in American sports history will be accepted? With Cuban out of the picture, who cares? One thing is certain though -- whoever it is certainly wasn't spending summer nights slapping high fives in the bleachers with the fans who, for six months every year see the world through a Cubby blue haze. You know ... the fine folks who will ultimately determine the bottom line and return on investment that is likely driving this purchase in these tough economic times.

Sale of Chicago Cubs to finally conclude? [Fanhouse]
Bidding for Chicago Cubs may be near a conclusion [Trib]

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on January 6, 2009 1:20 PM.

The guy responsible for the United Center uses his magic mitigating touch on the New Meadowlands was the previous entry in this blog.

Afternoon links: Jason Giambi to the A's, Crystal Harris likes an older man and why 6-year-olds shouldn't drive is the next entry in this blog.

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