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Goat Riders of the Apocalypse
A Hundred Next Years
Just Read 'em!
The Sam Zell era is over. It was horrible, but not. You see, short term thinking kills franchises. Franchises of any sport are built with steady hands thinking long term. For every 1997 Florida Marlins World Series title (purchased and disassembled within 2 years), are dozens of franchises with lost decades due to stupid short term moves. Think Kevin Brown's Dodgers, Albert Belle's Orioles, Mike Hampton's Rockies... or Alfonso Soriano's Cubs.
For years, the Dodgers, Orioles, and Rockies were hampered by enormous contracts given to players who never produced, or didn't produce well enough to justify what happened to the rest of the roster. In the last few years, the Cubs have made disastrous signing after disastrous signing. They've ballooned their payroll while never quite assembling a championship caliber team... and all of this was designed to create "instant value" so Sam Zell could sell my baseball team for more money.
As I've pointed out before, the Cubs selling for $845 million dollars helps no one but Sam Zell, and the Tribune Company's creditors. It certainly doesn't help the Ricketts family as they have over $400 million in debt to pay off at some point, and it doesn't help me afford tickets, beer, or Cubs jerseys from the Cubs store. Instead, the Cubs need to make about $30 million every year just to pay the banks. That's $30 million that could have been spent on A-Rod, or better yet, Hanley Ramirez... or that's $30 million less the Cubs would need from ticket revenue, beer proceeds, and jersey sales.
Anyhow, now that the Ricketts sale is official, it's a new era for the Cubs, and we're left hoping the four Ricketts kids are good owners. No one knows. Don't listen to the media folks who want to get in good with the new owners, don't listen to the bashers, just observe. See how they handle the front office, how they operate the park, whether they move forward with the Triangle building, and how they treat their neighbors. If these Ricketts kids get it, it will become apparent within a year or two. If they don't I guess I'd better get crackin on making about $5 billion so I can pry the team from their hands at some point!
The next to last hurdle in the Cubs sale process has just been cleared. The MLB Owners unanimously approved the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family. Linky Link
Since I think Sam Zell has been an atrocious owner (worse than the other TribCo suits that preceded him), I'm thrilled to see Tom Ricketts one step closer. The only big step left is the writing of checks and the turning over of keys.
I'll close with an off-the wall idea. MLB Owners should be required to leave a security deposit with their fan bases. I'm not sure on the details, but it should be something like 20% of the purchase price of the franchise. After 10 years, the fan base should then be allowed to vote on whether the owners can stay or must go (we're looking at you Peter Angelos!) If the owners do a really crappy job, the security deposit should be retained and refunded to people who bought tickets. Something like that.
Here's to a few World Series Titles. Good luck, Tom.
Movable Type 4.23-en