BOB: Cubs Sold

Tribune and Ricketts family enter into exclusive negotiations

There are still a lot of details to get through, but it looks like the future owner of the Chicago Cubs will be Tom Ricketts and his family. Ricketts is best known as the founder of the online discount brokerage firm called TD Ameritrade and he’s also the chief executive at Incapital, an investment bank in Chicago.

The final price is right around $900 million, which is less than the $1 billion number that was being thrown around earlier in the year. The purchase includes Wrigley Field as well a 25 percent interest in Comcast SportsNet, a regional sports network. Already, there’s talk about adding more seats to the Cubs’ ballpark as well as adding a stadium club. One thing it appears that the Ricketts won’t do is sell the naming rights to Wrigley.

Not that there isn’t enough Cubs news, but the team has sued Under Armour over its advertisements in Wrigley’s outfield. The Cubs sued the apparel maker for going back on its five-year, $10.8 million sponsorship deal that consists of having the Under Armour logo plastered on the outfield doors. Under Armour has responded by saying that it was the Cubs who backed out of the deal and then neither side could agree on something new.

Reds extend Triple-A deal with Louisville

The Cincinnati Reds and Louisville Bats recently announced an extension of their player development contract through the 2012 season. The original deal had the Bats as the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate through the 2010 season. Louisville has been the Reds’ affiliate since 2000 when the team opened up Louisville Slugger Field.

Louisville is one of those forgotten towns when it comes to baseball, but what a lot of people forget is that at one time, Louisville sported a major league team. The Louisville Colonels were part of the National League up through 1899; it was the first major league team for which Hall of Famer Honus Wagner played. Louisville’s also at or near the top every year in minor league attendance, so it’s quite the baseball town.

Commerce Bank Park gets a roof

Mayflies have caused quite a few complaints over the years at Commerce Bank Park in Harrisburg, Penn. The bugs have been a constant nuisance since the stadium opened in 1987. Now, with the help of a combined city- and state-funded renovation project, a roof is set to be added to the stadium for the start of the 2010 season.

Another big improvement to the home of the Harrisburg Senators is that the old bleacher seats will be replaced by individual chair-back seats. Both of these items will be in the second stage of the renovations and in 2009, fans will get to enjoy a boardwalk along the perimeter of the outfield as well as a new box office and retail stores.

Rangers, Kevin Millwood to build youth ballpark

Texas Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood, in conjunction with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, recently announced plans for the construction of the Kevin Millwood Texas Rangers Ballpark. The park will be part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arlington’s new National Semiconductor Sports Complex; it’s the 10th youth ballpark built by the Rangers Foundation. Construction is set to begin in February and finish in May at a cost of $101,250.

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