Siberian Baseball

Monday, August 04, 2008

Uncle Lou must drive like an old lady

The Cubs have traditionally played day baseball at Wrigley Field (duh) but the team has been limited in the number of night games it plays by a standing ordinance in Chicago that was designed to lessen the impact on the neighbors.

Twenty years later, there's a healthy bar district surrounding the park and a general circus atmosphere on most warm evenings, so the Cubs are hoping to expand those night games to include Fridays and Saturdays.

The team cites late travel on Thursday nights - get away days that end weekday series - as a big reason to allow Friday evening games. The funny thing is that instead of mentioning far-flung ballparks in San Diego or Miami, the first games that sprung to Lou Piniella's mind was last week's series in Milwaukee.

"A good example is Friday," Piniella said. "We had an afternoon game in Milwaukee on Thursday, and we get in late and have a day game on Friday."

Exactly how slowly does the Cubs' charter bus travel? Did they walk part of the way? Did the rookies start to get fussy and force Lou to pull the bus over for bathroom breaks and a half hour at the McDonald's playland in Kenosha?

I can't see this request being a big deal, save for one factor - the big money in play by releasing fans into Wrigleyville at 4 p.m. on a sunny Friday, where they continue to drink and pop the collars on their polo shirts.

If I'm a bar owner in the neighborhood, I'm not a big fan of losing roughly 5 hours of prime drinking time, especially when everyone leaves the park primed for a party. When strange things start to happen in the request process, it's not a stretch to assume that the bars are stepping in.

* Mark Cuban appears to be a frontrunner in the race to buy the Cubs. Not worth an entire post, but worth keeping an eye on.

The final five are:

Real estate executive Hersch Klaff and media investor Leo Hindery are among the five groups Tribune Co. approved to continue bidding on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, sources briefed on the matter said.

The other three approved bidders are Internet billionaire Mark Cuban; Tom Ricketts, chief executive of Chicago securities and investment bank Incapital LLC and son of the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and Michael Tokarz, chairman of MVC Capital Inc., two sources said. Both requested anonymity because the sale process is ongoing.

While each bid is over $1 billion, it's a bidding process to buy a license to print money. I don't care what Bud Selig says, it's virtually impossible to lose money while running the Chicago Cubs.

(Image taken for Siberian Baseball)



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