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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cuban offers $625 million for Cubs

Billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is more serious about buying a major league baseball team than he’s been letting on. The tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner is set to offer $625 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co., according to a source familiar with the matter. “Mark is desperate to buy the Cubs,” says the source. “He wants this so bad.”

Please Mark.  Do it.  Cubs fans deserve this.  You will be a hero.  A legendary sportsowner to bring the World Series trophy back to the North Siders.

If this happens, be afriad National League.

CrazyAboutLou Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:36 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. phredbird Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:44 PM (#2304623)
whoa. i wouldn't mind cuban being in baseball, but please, not in my division.
   2. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2304628)
No!!!! The Pirates!!!!
   3. CrazyAboutLou Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2304633)
Would Bud Selig and the owners allow Cuban to MLB?
   4. Rally Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2304635)
I hope it happens. Cuban is my favorite billionaire, because of his brutal honesty.

But do you really think Bud and the boys will let him in? Everyone knows that as soon as Cuban is an MLB owner, he'll be blogging about umpire's strike zones and getting fined for it. Will MLB allow this to happen?

I think they'll block him.
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:54 PM (#2304637)
Would Bud Selig and the owners allow Cuban to MLB?

I'll bet Selig is particularly opposed to Cuban being in the NL Central. But MLB could use a colorful individual owner much more than another faceless corporation.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2304640)
I'm just a bit envious.

Didn't he express an interest in the Pirates, only to be told the club was not for sale?
   7. rr Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2304642)
“Mark is desperate to buy the Cubs,” says the source. “He wants this so bad.”


I am sure he does. Running an NBA team in the same market with the Dallas Cowboys seriously hampers his media face time, which in his mind should be about equal to Brangelina's. Owning the Cubs would make him the subject of a jillion feature stories and would jack the hits on his blog through the roof to where he would likely start a new Cubs blog.

As to whether he would help the Cubs--certainly, his track record in Dallas and the lack of a salary cap in baseball indicate that he would, as long as he was smart enough to hire good people, give them some latitude, and realize that building a winer in MLB is differnt than building one in the NBA. Watching him deal with Selig would be funny.
   8. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2304644)
I could see Cuban making a big positive impact on the Pirates, but the Cubs? What would he do that the Trib. Corp. doesn't? Aren't they already one of the better-funded teams in the league?

That said, it would still be interesting to see.
   9. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2304651)
If this happens I think Baseball would instantly become my favorite sport just because my favorite team is owned by someone who has shown himself to be good to his players and good to his fans. I have no doubt that the Tribune Corp. wants to win, but I don't think that the incentive for them is nearly as strong as it is for Cuban.
   10. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:08 PM (#2304652)
I could see Cuban making a big positive impact on the Pirates, but the Cubs? What would he do that the Trib. Corp. doesn't? Aren't they already one of the better-funded teams in the league?

Judging from his background, there's a pretty good chance he'd make the Cubs a lot more saber-friendly. That would make a lot of us Cub fans here really happy.

Didn't he express an interest in the Pirates, only to be told the club was not for sale?

Yes. He's frequently talked about wanting to buy the Pirates, but he's been denied.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_392140.html
   11. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:09 PM (#2304653)
Cuban was prepared to make a fair-market offer for the Pirates, but decided to buy a new suit with the money instead.
   12. Guts Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:09 PM (#2304654)
Isn't $625 million, heady a sum as that is, way short of what the Trib was looking for? I heard one billion being tossed around as a good sale price a few months ago.
   13. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2304655)
Cuban was prepared to make a fair-market offer for the Pirates, but decided to buy a new suit with the money instead.
   14. Honkie Kong Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:15 PM (#2304658)
I am sure Bud Selig would oppose Fidel Castro buying the Cubs
   15. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2304661)
I could see Cuban making a big positive impact on the Pirates, but the Cubs? What would he do that the Trib. Corp. doesn't? Aren't they already one of the better-funded teams in the league?

They are... but I just think Cuban is the type who would think asymmetrically about building a winner, something I think TribCo has been quite unwilling to do. You can certainly make an arugment that the blame there lies at the feet of Andy MacPhail (up until this past offseason), but the fact is -- the only real front office maverick the TribCo ever employed (Dallas Green) was basically driven out of town by his clashes with Tribune corporate culture... of course - a hands-on owner like Cuban presents an entirely different set of possible conflicts with his management team, but I guess you could I'm bored with the current problems and would prefer to see a whole new set of problems.

It's entirely true that the Tribune has never (or at least, rarely) been 'cheap' in terms of payroll, Madddux is really on the own big FA that's gotten away... Sutcliffe, Sandberg, Sosa, etc - most Cubs get their payday.

The problem, as I see it, isn't that the Cubs skimp on payroll -- it's that they look at the bottom line, see a payroll ranked 2nd or 3rd in the leauge - and figure that the payroll isn't the issue. the problem is -- that high payroll isn't high because they have 5 legitimate MVP/Cy Young candidate studs tying up 60-80 mil, it's high because they overspend on eminently replaceable utility IFs and middle relievers... I have no hard facts to base this on - but I think you can directly tie this to the TribCo. Corporate culture is heavily invested in reducing risk... and there's certainly a lot less risk in paying 25 guys 4 million a piece than there is paying 3 guys 25 million a piece and 23 guys a million a piece.

One can point, of course, to the Soriano signing this offseason -- but I think that was as much a matter of certain Cub officials realizing they're the natives are restless and they needed a big 'splash' than an overall recognition that 1 A-Rod at 25 mil a year is worth one hell of a lot more than 5 Neifis at 5 mil a year.

What I think an owner like Cuban brings to the table -- if A-Rod goes on the block, the chances of him landing in Wrigley become something like 50/50 rather than slim-to-none.

Perhaps I'm mistaken -- but when you look around baseball at the mega-FA contracts, and more importantly -- those big trades involving monstrous salaries, etc -- it's usually the egotistical 'single owner' (Tom Hicks, George Steinbrenner, etc) teams that get the trigger pulled than it is the faceless corporate teams.
   16. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:31 PM (#2304670)
The Trib can ask for $1G all they like. They're not currently in a position to bargain too much. If their shareholders like it, they'll have to do it.

Anyway, he'll have billionaire Sam Zell to contend with. Zell has reportedly put in a bid for the Trib lock, stock, and barrel.
   17. MSI Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:32 PM (#2304671)
According to Cot's, "The Tribune Company bought the Cubs for $21M in 1981. Forbes magazine valued the club at $448M in April, 2006."
   18. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:37 PM (#2304675)
Forbes valued the Cubs at $448M last April. The Trib ain't gettin' a billion.
   19. rr Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2304678)
What would he do that the Trib. Corp. doesn't?

I think he would outspend them, for one. Second, he would bring the demand for and expectation of success, which the Cubs have never really had at the top. Third, he would bring energy. In any organization, the leader sets the tone.
   20. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2304680)
Cuban? The guy with the Moe Howard haircut?
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2304679)
Anyway, he'll have billionaire Sam Zell to contend with. Zell has reportedly put in a bid for the Trib lock, stock, and barrel.

Was Donald Trump serious at all about wanting to buy the Cubs?
   22. Zac Schmitt Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2304684)
i wonder if he's got the attention/resources to be an active part of both major franchises he owns. it could work any number of ways, really, with the three or so most likely (in my opinion)being that he either divides his time unevenly between the two and and one is left in the lurch, divides his time evenly but finds that 50% effort given to both teams isn't enough for either, or, best case scenario, finds that 50% attention to both teams ends up being the exact right proportion (not too overbearing or too neglectful) and both franchises propser.

those concerns aside i think he'd be great for the cubs. it'll be interesting to see how the league handles another steinbrenner type, though.
   23. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:47 PM (#2304688)
Heh... need we rehash how Cuban actually BECAME a billionaire?

I'm not saying potential buyers aren't aware of the 448 mil valuation, nor that it won't come into play (and even further - I'm not saying I think the price tag necessarily hits 1 billion)... but ever since Wall Street took over the world -- the actual 'value' of anything, be it a commodity or business, seems to have less and less with its pricetag and a lot more to do with the old axiom "everything is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it."

It would not shock me in the least to see the Cubs sell for 1 billion... if they are sold separate from the TribCo, I suspect the price will be closer to 750 mil or so - but 1 billion would only mildly surprise me.
   24. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2304689)
Heh... need we rehash how Cuban actually BECAME a billionaire?

I'm not saying potential buyers aren't aware of the 448 mil valuation, nor that it won't come into play (and even further - I'm not saying I think the price tag necessarily hits 1 billion)... but ever since Wall Street took over the world -- the actual 'value' of anything, be it a commodity or business, seems to have less and less with its obejctive valuation and a lot more to do with the old axiom "everything is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it."

It would not shock me in the least to see the Cubs sell for 1 billion... if they are sold separate from the TribCo, I suspect the price will be closer to 750 mil or so - but 1 billion would only mildly surprise me.
   25. Transmission Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:52 PM (#2304694)
Doing two minutes worth of fact checking, here's where we stand:

BTF is reporting that Deadspin is reporting that Some Random Tabloid Rag called Radar Online is reporting that an annonymous source is claiming that Cuban wants to buy the Cubs.

HOW is this credible news? How is this even a slightly credible rumor? We're left where we started, with an earlier generalized expression of interest by Cuban, to the effect of "sure, I'm always interested in acquiring new sports properties."

yeesh.
   26. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:55 PM (#2304697)
yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

World Series within 5 years if this happens, bank on it.
   27. Kyle S Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:55 PM (#2304699)
from what i understand, the mavericks spend a lot of resources on the saber part of basketball - calculating pick and roll success percentage, or average points scored from set X, for instance. they certainly have a hell of a track record in recent years.

even as rich as mark is, there has gotta be a lot of money from the bank or other investors in this number. wonder which it is.
   28. Zac Schmitt Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:56 PM (#2304698)
It would not shock me in the least to see the Cubs sell for 1 billion... if they are sold separate from the TribCo, I suspect the price will be closer to 750 mil or so - but 1 billion would only mildly surprise me.


free agent bidding philosphy at its best. bid not what a guy like a-rod or dice-k is worth, but just more than whatever you think someone else is willing to pay for him.
   29. CraigK Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:01 PM (#2304702)
Well, if it goes through, say hello to the 2010 World Champs.
   30. K-BAR, J-BAR (trhn) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2304708)
I'd think that $625M would be a good starting point for buying the Cubs. As others have noted, last season Forbes valued the Cubs at $448M, an increase of $12M over their 2005 value. I suspect it'd be generous to value the Cubs (at least in terms of the Forbes numbers) at around $500M. The Red Sox, which were valued at $617M last year, were bought for $700M back in 2002 when Forbes valued them at $426M. Seeing as NESN was part of the what Henry & Co. were buying with the Red Sox while the Cubs probably wouldn't be sold with WGN, $700-750M or so seems reasonable to me.

And on what basis would Selig keep Cuban out? It seems to me that the backstage wrangling happends when the commissioner pressures the owner on the sale prior to the approval process. For instance, presumably thanks to Bud, the trustee of the Yawkey trust ended the bidding process when Henry matched the highest bid, despite Dolan's willingness to go $90M higher. Seeing as the Cubs have a duty to their shareholders to maximize the value they receive for the Cubs, they should, in theory, be immune to that pressure. Of course, the Yawkey trust's trustee had a similar duty which he ignored (though he claimed that the ease with which Henry would be approved made Henry's offer in the best interests of the trust). Still, the relevant questions with Cuban vis a vis the Tribune Co. should be 1) how high is Cuban willing to go? and 2) are the Cubs willing to sell?

Once it reaches the approval process, the rejections by the owners themselves seem to have been based on financial werewithal. Otherwise, approval can be contingent on things like building a new ballpark (as in Pittsburgh with McClatchy), but that shouldn't be an issue with the Cubs. If the owners reject Cuban because of other issues, which I suppose they might, we'd hear about it loudly and publicly which would probably lead to some bad publicity for MLB. I suppose MLB could reasonably spin complaints as more ramblings from that maniac Cuban.
   31. MSI Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2304713)
First thing he does is fire Hendry and hire the best GM he can find. He pours more money into them, increases sabremetric workers, and they become a dominant team.
   32. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2304712)
free agent bidding philosphy at its best. bid not what a guy like a-rod or dice-k is worth, but just more than whatever you think someone else is willing to pay for him.

As I sort of alluded - I'm not saying it's 'right'... just saying it 'is'.
   33. MSI Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:12 PM (#2304717)
Wikipedia says Cuban has a networth of 1.8 billion. But that seems like not much if he's trying to buy a team for 1/3 of his net worth. That figure just seems wrong also, with all his business investments he's gotta be worth a lot more than that.
   34. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2304718)
Mr Cuban, if you happen to read this, please consider this nice little team we have in St. Petersburg, FL. It'll cost you probably a third of what the the Trib will want for the franchise.

Cuban vs Steinbrenner, mano a mano. It would be beautiful, man.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2304729)
Well, if it goes through, say hello to the 2010 World Champs.

He can put it the World Series trophy next to all those NBA Championship trophies he's won.
   36. Meatwad in mourning Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2304732)
this may be the best news iv heard about the cubs since the day they traded neifi
   37. MSI Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2304733)
I hate that critique of great GM's. So what if he hasn't won a championship? There's a lot of luck in winning a championship and other factors and if you can turn around a crappy organization into a good one, then your a great GM.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2304741)
The Cubs don't need him, but Cuban is really the Pirates' only hope.
   39. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:58 PM (#2304746)
Cuban vs Steinbrenner, mano a mano. It would be beautiful, man.
Actually, Cuban vs. Steinbrenner vs. John Henry. That would be something.
   40. Boots Day Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2304747)
Chicago Tribune: Cuban shoots down report he's set to bid for Cubs.
   41. Srul Itza Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:05 PM (#2304751)
The Chicago Cub[an]s?

With Steinbrenner no longer the Von Steingrabber of old, MLB is sorely lacking in lunatic owners. There are no Charley O's, no Veecks, No Captains Outrageous. Just some well-meaning or not-so-well-meaning, rich guys, some incompetents, and a bunch of faceless corporations.

Mark Cuban, as the owner of the Mavericks (how damn appropriate is that name) was really a throwback to the colorful, out front baseball owners of old. He is in fact wasted on basketball.

MLB needs Cuban. Cuban needs MLB.

That is, of course, why it won't happen.
   42. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2304759)
Was Donald Trump serious at all about wanting to buy the Cubs?

I am skeptical that Trump has anywhere near the cash to buy the Cubs.
   43. Posada Posse Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:34 PM (#2304761)
"from what i understand, the mavericks spend a lot of resources on the saber part of basketball - calculating pick and roll success percentage, or average points scored from set X, for instance. they certainly have a hell of a track record in recent years."

That's my understanding too; I once had a professor in business school who was hired as a consultant by Cuban to provide him detailed statistical analysis about the Mavs. He talked about it in class occasionally; I don't remember the exact details, but it was obviously pretty sophisticated stuff similar to what you are mentioning. It raises an interesting possibility; a saber-friendly Cubs team for a change if Cuban ever were to buy them.
   44. Transmission Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:38 PM (#2304764)
So I take it we simply aren't concerned with reporting this accurately? The Tribune's shot down the report, and the original report, if you take the three clicks of the mouse necessary to check, is an anonymous person quoted in an online tabloid.
   45. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: February 28, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2304790)
What would he do that the Trib. Corp. doesn't? Aren't they already one of the better-funded teams in the league?

Yes, but as I suspect you know, that has not translated into on-field success. Which begs your first question, whose answer, I think, is pretty obvious--he'd probably hire people who are more on the ball in terms of talent evaluation.

I mean, he might be a disaster if he in fact DOESNT show baseball acumen (and/or makes the running of the team all about him), but at least we know he's a sports fan as opposed to a corporation worried about answering to shareholders.
   46. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: February 28, 2007 at 11:05 PM (#2304791)
Mark Cuban, as the owner of the Mavericks (how damn appropriate is that name) was really a throwback to the colorful, out front baseball owners of old.


He's colorful, but he's also the biggest spin doctor on the whole freaking Internet.

Trump never pays cash for anything anyway.
   47. asinwreck Posted: March 01, 2007 at 12:06 AM (#2304823)
My fantasy is the Tribune Company trades franchises with the Wirtz family.
   48. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: March 01, 2007 at 01:14 AM (#2304854)
My fantasy is the Tribune Company trades franchises with the Wirtz family.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   49. jim in providence Posted: March 01, 2007 at 01:29 AM (#2304864)
Doing two minutes worth of fact checking

Two minutes? Man, that dial-up connection must suck.

Yeah, not the most plausible of media reports. I read the (quite assertive) Newsstand headline and thought "Cuban owning the Cubs, now that would be interesting!" I'm a little too young to have experienced the real thick of things when Steinbrenner ran the Yankees (spying on Dave Winfield and the like), so I'd welcome Cuban's brand of rational craziness into MLB.
   50. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2304873)
The Trib article hardly means anything. Notice that Cuban doesn't exactly deny that he made an offer or is preparing an offer. He says "not true". As in, "not true that I offered $625M. I actually offered $624.5M."

===

Cuban shoots down report he's set to bid for Cubs

By Phil Rosenthal
Tribune media columnist
Published February 28, 2007, 3:59 PM CST

The Cubs are not about to become Cuban's, contrary to an Internet report.

Mark Cuban, the billionaire blogger, entrepreneur and owner of pro basketball's Dallas Mavericks, on Wednesday shot down a Radar Online report that said he is "is set to offer $625 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co."

"Not true," Cuban said by e-mail.

Radar quoted "a source familiar with the matter" as saying Cuban is "desperate to buy the Cubs" and "wants this so bad." It said it got no response from Cuban, who responded to a Chicago Tribune inquiry concerning the report in less than 15 minutes.

"I have no idea where they got their info," Cuban said.

Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs, the Chicago Tribune and other media properties, is currently exploring options to boost shareholder value.
   51. Darren Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:10 AM (#2304889)
He's only making this offer because there's valuable stone under Wrigley Field.
   52. jim in providence Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2304892)
He's only making this offer because there's valuable stone under Wrigley Field.

Really? What stone? Not ... THE stone?!
   53. MSI Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2304898)
If he didn't deny it it would seriously hurt his bid by ticking off the sellers and making them think he's not a serious or legitmate suitor.
   54. Rich Rifkin I Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2304915)
He's only making this offer because there's valuable stone under Wrigley Field.

Very, very funny. Had me laughing out loud.
   55. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:44 AM (#2304922)
So I take it we simply aren't concerned with reporting this accurately?

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
   56. farfalone Posted: March 01, 2007 at 04:43 AM (#2304930)
that would be very cool. he could buy a football team too and assemble them under the same name and founding a sport institution like Real Madrid, not just a team, an institution with soccer and basketball sections, so fans can follow the two most popular sports chilling for their team. Cuban don't be coward, what's just a few billions of dollars? heh
   57. rr Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:07 AM (#2304946)
Two threads to look forward to:

Secrets of a Hollywood SuperMadam," a tell-all book by Hollywood madam Jody "Babydol" Gibson that will be released Thursday, claims that Lasorda frequented her call-girl service, the reports of which brought from Lasorda a denial and a promise to sue. The book's lurid excerpts have since ratcheted Internet voyeurs to DEFCON 2. But Lasorda shook his head and said further dialogue would serve only to sell more books and perpetuate the story, the thought of which reddened his face and tightened his lips.


Bonds tells radio station he receives death threats


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Barry Bonds declined to elaborate Wednesday about death threats the San Francisco slugger says he is receiving.

"We're not going anywhere with that," Bonds said while walking off the field following Wednesday's workout at Scottsdale Stadium.



Oh boy oh boy oh boy.
   58. rr Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2304947)
Personally, I would rather read about Bonds' hooking up with call girls and Lasorda's getting death threats, but I'll take it.

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