Cuban and the Cubs, a slam dunk?
It was a case of baseketball at the Sports Lawyers Association annual conference in San Francisco this week when the Chicago Cubs came up in conversation.
The Cubs, as most Media File readers know, is the pro baseball team being sold by Tribune Co as it looks for a way to dig away at its mountain of debt after it was taken private by Chicago real estate mogul and noted raconteur Sam Zell (careful with that link. It’s NSFW). One potential bidder is Dallas Mavericks owner and blogger Mark Cuban, who got quite a plug during the conference.
Thomas Ostertag, senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball, was giving a state-of-the-sport speech to an audience of several hundred sports industry officials and attorneys. Here’s what he said about the Cubs:
“We do expect this sale to get more public attention than really almost any sale I can think of in the history of our game, putting aside perhaps the sale of a guy named Babe Ruth to the Yankees way, way back.”
That’s when Joel Litvin, president of league and basketball operations for the National Basketball Association said, “I’m sorry Tom, can I make a plug for Mark Cuban as the next owner of the Cubs?”
Cue laugh from the crowd.
Litvin pressed on: “He’s smart, innovative and entrepreneurial.”
Ostertag smirked and replied, ”Moving on.”
More hilarity ensued, especially because few people believe Cuban has a shot at getting the team. But even if he doesn’t, he has plenty on his plate already.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in San Francisco. Writing and links by Robert MacMillan in New York)