[from l-r: Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf; a Chicago reporter not friendly to Milton Bradley; and Mark Cuban]
A couple of months ago, Tribune employee Paul Sullivan interviewed fellow Tribune employee and Cubs CEO Crane Kenney about the sale of the Trib‘s Chicago Cubs. Sully managed not to ask at all where leading bidder Mark Cuban’s initial offer now stood in the second round of offers, just weeks after an SEC “insider trading” accusation was thought to knock Cuban out of contention. Sullivan got little out of Kenney except that Sam Zell, their employer, would make the final decision “ insight any paper boy with a Trib route might offer. On Tuesday, Mark Cuban’s blog provided a detailed answer to the questions Sullivan never asked.
As the final decision for the Cubs sale is rumored to be made in about a week, Cuban lets the following be known re the Cubs: he’s still interested, he wants a better price in the current economy, and Jerry Reinsdorf has nothing to fear from Cuban as the next Steinbrenner-size wallet owner. The appeal to Reinsdorf is the most interesting aspect of all this, since Cuban goes out of his way to make the Sox comfortable. That is, if the price of the Cubs comes down in relation to the current economic crisis, Cuban will keep a business as usual parity with the South Side, no matter how unfair that is to the North Side.
As Cuban writes:
In particular, a lot of the œintelligence that I would be a big time spender seemed to come out of Chicago. The œconventional wisdom of people that I talked to around the league suggested that Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox was going to be my primary obstacle to getting approval from MLB should I buy the Cubs. Contrary to popular belief, I think I have a good relationship with Jerry. I know I have a good relationship with all the people I deal with at the Bulls. We are probably on the same side of NBA issues 99pct of the time. I honestly don™t know what if any information was coming from Jerry, or his position on my owning a team. He was very cordial to me and made it clear that he would be happy to talk to me about anything at any time, although we never did get the chance to chat.
My sense of the entire situation was that whoever the new owner of the Cubs would be, it was in the Sox best interest for things to stay business as usual. Published TV ratings and other published measures showed that the Cubs were more popular than the Sox, yet before I even started looking at the Cubs, I knew from my discussions with people in the NBA that the Cubs and Sox were treated as equals in their business dealings. That was great for the Sox, not so good for the Cubs. 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.
In my conversations with owners around the league, they seemed to understand this point.