– The Chicago Tribune reports that a new investor group has announced its intention to get in on the bidding for the Cubs. Called Robinson-Greenberg and Associates (after Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg), it "would represent the first African-American majority ownership of an MLB franchise."
Principals include: a Lutheran minister named Anthony Williams; real estate investor and catering company owner Marshall Bynum, Jr.; and entrepreneur Harold Davis.
According to the Tribune...
Bynum said the group intends to purchase both the Cubs and Wrigley Field, and is prepared for a price tag of $1 billion dollars or more. Tribune Co. has indicated it prefers to sell the stadium and team separately.The Trib story also quotes a baseball official who questions whether or not this heretofore unknown investor group could possibly be a serious bidder for the club.
– Alright, it's my fault. I dared to think that the Cubs might go through the Cactus League season and the regular schedule without losing a game, and look what happens.
On Friday afternoon in Mesa, Les Walrond was tagged for an eighth-inning grand slam by the Giants' Eddy Martinez-Esteve, as San Francisco turned a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 lead, eventually dumping the Cubs 8-6. Carlos Zambrano and Rich Hill gave up a combined one earned run over the first four innings. Kosuke Fukudome collected two more walks and scored two of the Cub runs.
Alfonso Soriano, who sat out the Spring Training opener on Thursday, made his debut Friday and went 0-for-2. Aramis Ramirez was absent from the lineup for the second straight day owing to a "tight right shoulder."
The Cubs (Jason Marquis) will visit the Angels (Jered Weaver) in Tempe on Saturday.
– The Cubs have already sold 2.7 million tickets for the upcoming season. That's a franchise record this far out from Opening Day.
Put another way, it's more tickets than the White Sox, Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Indians, Twins, Orioles, Reds, Nationals, A's, Pirates, Royals, Devil Rays, or Marlins sold in all of 2007.
– The Wrigley Company is not reacting to Sam Zell's reported desire that they pony up for the naming rights to Wrigley Field and, in the words of the Sun-Times, start to "pay for what the chewing gum company has been getting for free," i.e., the promotional value of having their name on one of the world's most famous sports venues.
The Sun-Times says that Zell would prefer to peddle those rights to Wrigley since that would allow him to put many millions of dollars in the Trib's corporate pocket and spare Cub fans the trauma of having to attend games at Boeing Park or McDonald's Field.
Always thinking about the fans--Sam seems to be really great that way.