Sam Zell

As reported by Phil Rosenthal in Friday's Tribune:

(Tribune Company Chairman and Chief Executive Sam) Zell said in a conference call with creditors
Thursday he now expects the confidential Cubs figures to be released to
potential buyers in the next 10 days or so and a sale to be completed
"sometime this year," regardless of what happens in ongoing
negotiations with the state over Wrigley, or whatever the park winds up
being called.

"You
ought to read the latest newspaper because it's all out there," Zell
said, noting there continues to be "steady progress" in talks for a
ballpark deal. "We're trying to do what is the optimum transaction with
the Illinois Sports Authority while simultaneously running with a book
on the Cubs going both ways, with or without the sports authority."


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An incomplete list, in no particular order...

Bad Weekend

Jason Marquis. Though Lou Piniella apologized for "overreacting" to Marquis' comments following Saturday's game, the pitcher's "I have a family to worry about" statement made him look stupid and foolish and...like a modern-day Major Leaguer.

Alfonso Soriano. Broke the tip of this right middle finger on Sunday during a drill meant to hone his ability to catch balls up against the outfield wall. Expected to miss game action for the next five days.

Neal Cotts. Pitched two-thirds of an inning on Sunday and now has a 27.00 ERA. 'nuf said.

Geo Soto's waistline. I hope AZ Phil can confirm or refute this, but it appeared to me from Sunday's telecast that Soto has regained a lot of the weight he lost last year, when he had his big season in the Pacific Coast League and was so impressive in his limited debut with the big club.

Kerry Wood. Tagged for a longball by the Angels' Torii Hunger, plus two singles and a double in one-third of an inning on Saturday.

Good Weekend:

Matt Murton. Went 3-for-3 in Saturday's loss to the Angels.

Felix Pie. Knocked his second Cactus League home run on Sunday; hitting .273 in the early going.

Carrie Muskat groupies. Carrie got some air time during Sunday's telecast and revealed that she had business cards printed up in Japanese to help her establish rapport with Kosuke Fukudome. I'm wondering how many cards she had printed up and how many she'll have to give Fukudome before he finally replies, through his interpreter, "What am I supposed to do with all of these cards?"

Sam Zell. As this NYT profile makes clear, Sam has little chance of being the game's most odious owner as long as Hank Steinbrenner is around.

 

Tribune Company is now owned by a supposed money-making genius, and the best ideas he can come up with to wring more money out of Wrigley Field are more night games, additional concerts, and peddling the naming rights?

What about the weddings you could host on the pitchers mound, the bar mitzvahs, the graduation bashes, and the Congratulations On Getting Out Of Prison parties?

We've all seen the elaborate staging that happens at halftime of the Super Bowl. How hard could it possibly be to wheel a roller derby track onto the field between innings? Or put a petting zoo on the concourse. Or try this, Sam--get to know Cub fans on a personal level and feed the bottom line by setting up a booth where the Cub faithful get to kiss your beard for a buck!

Obviously the creative ideas are out there, and Sam isn't uncovering them. He needs our help. Send your suggestions to Sam Zell at Tribune Tower. Or post them in the Comments.

We can all laugh and be disgusted together.

There's been a lot of talk lately about the potential sale of Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Many seem to be wondering why Sam Zell would risk devaluing the Cubs by selling its most valuable asset. The answer is simple...and obvious; more money.

While searching for the answer last night, I stumbled across the writers at Field of Schemes, who, in my humble opinion, are doing the Lord's work. It's been my long-held opinion that public subsidized stadiums are nothing more than corporate blackmail. The owners ask the state or local government to pay for their stadium. In return, the team won't move...how nice of them. The Field Of Schemes authors have a book whose subtitle explains it best: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Bingo! The octogenarian's in Florida have it right though, don't pay. In most cases, the teams need the city and its population more than the city needs the team (except Green Bay which I'm certain would be swallowed up by the Earth if the Packers left).

But how does this all relate to the Wrigley Field situation, you ask? The Chicago Reader explains what some of the reasoning might be behind Zell's plan (link found via Field of Schemes):

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sam Zell’s plan to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is “alienating would-be buyers” of the ballclub, A member of one of the prospective ownership groups says, “Splitting (the team and ballpark) absolutely diminishes the value of the team and my interest level.”

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