Game 1: Reds 5 – Cubs 1


Reds: 1-0
Cubs: 0-1
POTG: 1B D Lee (2 H, BB, CS)

It’s opening day! A new season! I should be excited! I’m not really! These are sarcastic exclamations! Perhaps I’d be more into it if they won some games first!

I was laying in bed, listening to WGN and wondering why I’m aiming to get six hours of sleep each weekday when I obviously need 8 (or 20), when I heard them report on the Tribune sale. Idle thoughts about how/if this would affect the Cubs, since they’d still be just a part of the pie and tied to radio/TV/Trib. The hosts were doing pretty good, considering they were covering themselves getting a new boss and a new corporate structure and a lot of uncertainty. Since we’ve been hearing about a sale for months – years really – this didn’t alarm.

And then, about an hour later, the news broke that the Cubs were being spun off, and the whole “relaxing in bed” thing was kaput.

I was going to write about this earlier today, but I wanted to read more and turn it over in my head a bit. I thought for a bit that it deserved a separate post than Game Post, because it has minimal impact on the game, or any game anytime soon. There’s so much distance between ownership and the players on the field in the Cubs organization, I don’t think there’s much of a short term effect. Maybe by the end of the season, when any deadline deal that doesn’t happened is seen as not happening because of the sale, or when players are pestered with “Would you prefer owner [X] or owner [Y]?” questions, it’ll take a drain on the season, but as long as the checks still cash, I think the players are going to be okay.

I”m ending writing about it here anyway, because it is the story of the day, and there was really nothing in the game that superseded it. Z looked back on opening day, like Z always looks bad on opening day – it seems like he’s too fired up because it’s opening day, but he’d be too fired up on any day he makes his first start of the season, so I think it’s something he needs to handle on his own, and switching his start in ’08 won’t matter. (It won’t matter at all if he’s not here, so I much more care about that deal getting wrapped up.) There were parts of the offense I wasn’t thrilled with, but it’s one game, and the first game under a new manager. It’s too early to figure out anything.

Elsewise, I’ve just got a bunch of stray thoughts on the sale

– I’ve read too much “Maybe Cuban is TOO involved” articles to be looking for him. I wouldn’t mind him, but I don’t think he’s the automatic best guy out there. I also don’t think he’d be able to be the same Mark Cuban if he was dividing himself between two teams, and who knows if he could afford two teams. Most importantly, I don’t MLB would want him as an owner, and they have a lot of say in this.

– Whoever makes the first grand public statement about the buying the team not only is very unlikely to buy the team, but knows it and is trying to get public support on their side because they desperately need the help

– I really don’t know enough to know who would be a good owner and who wouldn’t be. No one does at this point. At some point in the future we might have half a clue, but we’ll never really know for sure.

– There’s no chance of the club being sold without Wrigley. It’s economically unfeasible to run a major league franchise without getting stadium revenue. I guess the Tribune would rather get a yearly payment in exchange for the keys, but I think that would be bad in the long term – all franchises want to own their own stadiums, or get a sweet public money deal, and this would be neither – and probably mean the end of Wrigley within in a decade.

– Excluding WGN, the general sentiment is the Cubs were mismanaged by the Tribune, and new management will be better. I’m sure MLB will work hard to get a good ownership group for the Cubs, because of their important to the league…but we don’t know that they’ll be better.

The Cubs could end up with a owner that pushes the teams to wins and keeps the outside the foul lines stuff (Wrigley, being on WGN.) Or they could win, but while ripping out the core of the Cubs identity, and that’d be bittersweet. Or they could just not care and just collect checks.

No one knows at this point what the change will mean. All we know is it’s going to be an ownership change, and that’s the first major one around here in a while.

Bears: Halas family (1921-)
Black Hawks: Wirtz family (1952-?)
White Sox: Jerry Reinsdorf and group (1980-?)
Cubs: Tribune (1981-)
Bulls: Jerry Reinsdorf and group (1984-?)

You know what’s going to be really weird? Not reading any more “the Tribune’s coverage of the Cubs is biased!” stories after this year. Sun Times is probably revved up to get in as many shots as they still can.