SBD/Issue 219/Franchises

Mark Cuban Reportedly The Favorite To Acquire Cubs, Wrigley

Many See Cuban As One Of Favorites
To Land Cubs, Wrigley Field
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in his bid to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field from Tribune Co. has "gone from being a long shot to one of the favorites," picking up "support from NBA Commissioner David Stern and others as the field of prospective owners narrows," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Another bidder recently told Crain's Chicago Business Cuban is "the lead guy" in the battle to buy the team. While a Cubs official "denied any of the remaining bidders is leading the pack, saying 'we're still at the starting gate' in the process, it's apparent Cuban is gaining support in his bid to purchase the club after most figured he never would pass muster with MLB owners." Cubs 1B Derrek Lee: "I think if you have David Stern on your side, you must be doing something right" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/3).

WEIGHING IN: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote under the header, "Cuban Wants Cubs, But Will Baseball Want Him?" MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy said of Cuban, "He's been outspoken on issues, but we've had owners who are outspoken as well."  However, Red Sox Owner John Henry in an e-mail said, "The commissioner's office abhors owners who speak their minds and fight for the rights of their respective franchises." Henry added he could think of "no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term" than Cuban. Stern said of Cuban, "He lives in the here and the now. In every issue we have to deal with, he freely expresses his views to me, some of which I'm happier to hear than others, but all are welcome. He would be an effective owner in most businesses." Cuban in an e-mail said the "biggest surprise to people will be how wrong the press always is in their characterization of [his relationship with Stern]." DuPuy said Cuban would get a "fair hearing; the fact that he's operated a successful franchise in another league will be taken into account." MLS Real Salt Lake Owner Dave Checketts, who served as MSG President when Cuban in '00 bought the Mavericks, said that if "Cuban's lack of decorum had not been more than balanced by the Mavericks' rapid turnaround, 'He would have been dead, and we would have found a way to take the franchise from him.'" Suns Chair Jerry Colangelo: "Basketball is a little more cutting edge, and baseball has been stodgier" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3).

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