(Mark Cuban, on the right, presenting the Cubs new 7th inning stretch show)

A week after their tied-for-first status with Milwaukee, the Cubs now coast with a 5-game lead on Das Crew and 6 over the Cards. Back-to-back rockets in the 8th yesterday sent the Pirates home to the rust belt with an 8-5 loss, and now good news from the world of high finance.  Mark Cuban has taken the lead, for the moment, in the Cub bidding war, with the help of no less than NBA commisioner David Stern and Manny-hata #1, Red Sox owner John Henry. Paul Sullivan, of the fading Tribune empire, writes it up here:

Crain’s Chicago Business recently quoted one of the bidders as saying Cuban is now “the lead guy” in the battle to buy the Cubs, while Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said in an e-mail to the New York Times that he could think of “no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term” than Cuban.

While a Cubs official denied any of the remaining bidders is leading the pack, saying “we’re still at the starting gate” in the process, it’s apparent Cuban is gaining support in his bid to purchase the club after most figured he never would pass muster with MLB owners.

“I think that’s just because he’s outspoken,” Derrek Lee said, “and people take that the wrong way. But I think if you have David Stern on your side, you must be doing something right.”

Most of the Cubs players are in Cuban’s corner, especially knowing that every Mavericks players’ locker is equipped with a miniaturized version of a home theater system.

“He’s doing a great job in Dallas and I’m sure he would come in here and do a good job,” Lee said. “He’s passionate about winning. That’s his main concern”putting a winning product out there”plus he’s a lot of fun. He really gets into it. He’s not just a guy who throws his money in and is hands-off. He’s hands-on and involved, so I think it would be a lot of fun.”

Numerous sources have reported Cuban made the top initial bid at $1.3 billion, but the process will continue through the next two months before a winner emerges. Lee said the Cubs players aren’t really following the story closely and don’t really care who buys the team.

“I think the only thing we care about is that whoever gets it is committed to winning,” he said. “We don’t want someone coming in here and all they care about is making money and cutting payroll and putting it in his pocket.”