Cuban sees the Cubs in a whole new way

May 29, 2008

mark-cuban.jpgDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on Dan Patrick’s radio show on May 22 to talk about all sorts of things, but what got us interested were his comments about the Chicago Cubs, which he wants to buy (You can read about his thoughts on smoking marijuana here). No one seems to have picked up on what he said until an excerpt ran in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated magazine, which came out Wednesday. Here are his verbatim answers, with Patrick’s questions paraphrased by us:

Q: When you go to Cubs games, do you go to be seen?

A: I go to have fun. …I’ve turned down 99.9 percent of [news] interviews when I’m in Chicago. You don’t see me on every news station in Chicago trying to promote the fact [that I want to buy the Cubs]. That just defeats the purpose.

Q: Is chasing the Cubs like trying to get the girl you want to notice you? She’s expensive and you may not have a shot at her.

A: If there’s a hooker you want, it all comes down to price, right? And I think that’s a better analogy.

Q: So the Cubs are your hooker?

A: Well, yes, bad choice of words.

Q: Metaphorically.

A: Metaphorically… Aw, that’s just going to get ripped apart, I know.

Cuban had some more thoughts on the Cubs:

Do I think there’s going to be challenges with certain Major League Baseball owners? Probably, because they don’t know me personally. They know me how the media covers me, or by reputation. The good news is, where there’s crossover in ownership… they’ve all said — to a person — that they’d stand up and say something positive about me. The reality is, in the acquisition of the Cubs, the book isn’t out yet, we don’t know what the structure of a deal’s going to look like, but it’s an asset that the Tribune Company needs to sell in a way that rewards them as much as possible, and I think that’s going to be the deciding fact.

He also talked about the business of owning the Mavericks:

I’d say out of the eight years I’ve owned them, we’ve made money two years. I think the NBA’s a little harder to make money in than Major League Baseball because of the way the cap is structured. … The reality is, in a cap system, small-market teams always get crushed because the cap goes up faster than the revenues of a small market can, and so Major League Baseball doesn’t have that problem. I think one of the great things about Major League Baseball is money can play a role, obviously, but smarts plays an even bigger role. And you know, when you put the two together like the Red Sox in particular, good things can happen.

If I’m fortunate enough to acquire the Cubs, that would be the approach that we’d take. I don’t think you’d see me come in there and try to outspend George Steinbrenner as an example. I hopefully will be smarter.

Patrick also asked him about what changes he’d make to the team and Wrigley Field, which Tribune may sell separately:

Q: It’s still going to be called Wrigley?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: You wouldn’t change the facade or name?

A: Yeah, I was going to change it to Mark Cuban Stadium. … No, I’m not going to change it! The funny thing is, people are going in there to expect me to make all these changes just for the sake of change. But I’m not stupid. What makes Wrigley special is the fact that it is Wrigley.

Finally, Patrick asked if Cuban would be remembered more for his turn on Dancing With the Stars than his other activities:

In terms of real numbers, absolutely. I mean, they tell you when you go on, you can come up with a cure for cancer, but you’ll always be known for being on Dancing With the Stars.

Q: Did you have an outfit refusal?

A: Yeah I did. I did more than once. I learned after the first week that, you know, you can make mistakes. When I went in, I was like, “OK, trust them, and just take advantage of their experience.” After I got the feedback after the first outfit that I wore, you know, I had this hobo outfit, and someone called it an insult to hobos everywhere.

(Photo: Reuters)

4 comments

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Mark Cuban’s “hands on” reputation as an involved owner will mesh perfectly with the enthusiasm generated by the fans attending Cub’s games at Wrigley Field. I am one life long CUBS FAN that is confident that Mark Cuban will be the new owner of the Cubs. If only Harry Carey could return to broadcast the 2008 World Series with Mark Cuban leading the 7th inning performance of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”…SWEEEET!!! Mark, please email me if you need a finance person for your new CUBS organization!!

Posted by George Paganis | Report as abusive

Well-done piece. Let’s get the Cubs into the hands of an obvious sports guy like Cuban, and out of the hands of the lawyers and financiers who now run the Tribune Co.–Edgar C, whose first clear memory of the Cubs was the team of the 1945 season . . .

Posted by Edgar Coudal | Report as abusive

I would be honored to work for Sensei Cuban.

Mark Cuban is the man for the Cubs. http://www.CubanandtheCubs.com