BOB: Cubs and Rangers sale newsby Brian Borawski
October 21, 2009
Cubs sale approved by MLBThe Chicago Cubs sale to the Rickets family got one step closer as the owners unanimously approved the transfer of the team from the Tribune Company. The hope now is that the deal closes by the end of October but the bankruptcy court has to stick their nose in one final time before everything is tied up. That’ll take place next week then at that point, the banks have 10 days to fund the deal.
The timing will be good because it’ll be just in time for the free-agent signing season. Not that the Cubs have sat the last few out, it’ll just be interesting to see what they do (or don’t do) now that the team isn’t in limbo anymore.
Suitors to meet with Rangers brassWith the Cubs sale winding down, the sale of the Texas Rangers by owner Tom Hicks is just heating up. It was announced that three prospective ownership groups will sit down with the Rangers front office next week. Hicks and president Nolan Ryan won’t be among the people the groups meet, which should fuel the rumors that Ryan is one of the people in the running to buy the team.
In their place, the presentation on the Rangers operations will be by the team’s general manager, Jon Daniels, as well as some support staff. The three groups’ leaders have a wide range of talents. Chuck Greenberg is a sports attorney in Pittsburgh and he already owns two minor-league teams while Jim Crane is a Houston businessman who put his name into the hat for the Cubs. Rounding out the three is Dennis Gilbert, a former player and sports agent.
Hicks has to come up with some money because he defaulted on his loan back in March which is what is prompting him to sell at least a portion of the team. A lot will come down to the fact that Hicks just wants to sell a piece of the team and retain control. It’ll be interesting to see if he can find someone else to buy into that plan.
Another Marlins stadium victoryFor the longest time, it appeared that the Florida Marlins couldn’t win when it came to their prospective stadium. Now, it looks like they can’t lose as an appeals court judge ruled in favor of the team in their lawsuit with local businessman Norman Braman. The auto dealer has been trying to stop the construction of the stadium on the grounds the public didn’t get a say in the matter.
At this point it’s unclear whether Braman will keep up the fight. In the meantime, construction on the team’s new ballpark at the site of the Orange Bowl continues.
Richmond goes with Flying SquirrelsRichmond’s new baseball team has a name and it’s the Flying Squirrels. Richmond Professional Baseball made the announcement last week and the new Eastern League team will begin play at The Diamond beginning next year. The name came from 15,000 entries in an online contest and the winner won a pair of season tickets.
Reds open their half of Goodyear facilityThe Cincinnati Reds' new spring training facility is ready for business and the grand opening was over the weekend. Most of the brass was there including the president, Bob Castellini as well as general manager Walt Jocketty. Former outfielder Eric Davis was also in attendance.
Postseason ratings upIf you throw in the one-game playoff between the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers a couple of weeks ago, overall television viewership is up 13 percent from last year. While that sounds impressive, the news should be tempered a bit because last year’s postseason was one of the worst as far as viewership. Still, this year’s postseason has to be viewed as somewhat of a success just because all four teams left are from big markets.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.