07/06/09 7:14 PM ET
Report: Tribune, Ricketts family reach deal
Agreement to sell Cubs said to be close to original $900m bid
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"I'm glad to see things are progressing," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Monday. "It's a positive thing for this organization. It was good news."
The Chicago Tribune reported the two sides finalized a sale agreement over the weekend and have forwarded the contract to Major League Baseball. However, the deal must be approved by other baseball owners. With Tribune Co. operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the sale also will need court approval.
The Tribune source said the sale price is "close" to the $900 million bid the Ricketts family offered earlier this year that won an auction for the baseball team, stadium and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, a regional cable television sports network.
Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot has big plans for the new Cubs owner.
"What about an indoor swimming pool in here?" Theriot said, looking around at the cramped Cubs clubhouse, which can barely handle a kiddie pool. "It would be good for cardio and guys with leg injuries and stuff. It would be nice.
"The other thing that'd be pretty cool would be a retractable roof -- that would be neat," Theriot said. "If you want to really dream big, heck, we could get a big private jet to fly around."
The Cubs aren't close to doing any of that.
"All I heard today was that it wasn't all the way done, it's getting closer and we'll go from there," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.
Hendry did not intend to change his approach because the sale has not been finalized.
"We've been fortunate the last couple years -- especially a franchise of this magnitude to be for sale this long -- to operate the way we have," Hendry said. "Until recently, you never felt the weight of it before. Obviously, when you don't have an owner this long, there are certain things that come into play which happened the last four, five months which made it a little tougher than the first couple years. In the big scheme of things, we don't have a lot to complain about here. It's a pretty good place to work."
The deal may not be completed before the July 31 Trade Deadline, but the Cubs made some "moves" on Monday when they activated Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman from the disabled list. Ramirez had been sidelined since he injured his left shoulder May 8, and he's been missed the most. That may be the extent of the Cubs' moves prior to the deadline.
Theriot has other plans. How about a bigger clubhouse?
"No, I love the clubhouse," the shortstop said. "The clubhouse is perfect. Probably the jet's good, that's enough. If we could each have a jet, that'd be cool.
"Indoor pool, near Lou's office, and a retractable roof," he said. "Maybe [the roof] could just disappear across the street into the rooftops, and when it rains, it could come back. You know what? How about this: Let's just put a cover over the whole Wrigleyville. ... Whatever we do, we've got to do something about [Mike] Fontenot's hair. I've got to talk to the new owner about that, because it's getting out of control."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.