(The Padres’ Sean Henn (L) and the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano (much, much further L) before last night’s 12-3 Cub win in Chicago)
News out of Chicago this morning is that Cubs owner Sam Zell has given up his scheme of selling the Cubs separately from Wrigley Field, which he hoped to offer up as an Illinois state-owned operation. They now go on the block together as a package deal. Hopefully, Bill Murray will soon be the Cubs’ GM. One reason the plan fell apart: Zell’s plan would eliminated buying season tickets as we know them, as Editor & Publisher reports:
To avoid using taxpayers dollars for Wrigley, he plan depended on an untested concept known as “equity seat rights,” in which individual seats at the stadium are sold outright to individuals. The plan differs from the widespread practice of selling “personal seat licenses,” a fee that grants the right to buy season tickets.
“Zell, Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney, and their advisers have concluded that the equity plan and its tax ramifications would violate both the Internal Revenue Service code and the rules of Major League Baseball, the sources said,” the story by staff reporters Fran Spielman and David Roeder reported.
Wait, the Trib Co. killed a deal on ethical and legal standards? Honestly, if you had to bet on what would happen first, the Cubs in a World Series or that, what would you have taken? I guess Zell really is shaking things up.
As to last night’s Pads/Cubs bout, the Cubs came off a sweep of the Diamondbacks this weekend whose only down moment was the rain delay that kept Zambrano from going up againt Randy Johnson. Zambrano did not disappoint in last night’s 41 degree chill, holding back the Padres for seven innings and putting himself on second base with a stand-up double. The offense had a great shot to blow open the game in the 1st after a run scored and a bases loaded situation that dried up and left all three stranded. Dealt the same hand by pitcher Sean Henn in the sixth, they jumped on it for six runs followed by five more runs in the seventh. With Zambrano pitching, the Cubs did just fine. As soon as Eyre and Howry took over it got a little sketchy, the bags filled up and the Cubs’ fat lead and a double play got them out of it for a 12-3 final. Basically, win or lose, Piniella’s still struggling with his iffy bullpen and, is lucky the Padres suffer from the same issues (but Zambrano threw for us). People who insist that Marmol close should ask themselves if Kerry Wood is really the guy you want holding your lead for multiple, mid-relief innings?
Meanwhile, in an 8-3 pummeling the Cardinals slipped out of first up in Milwaukee and fell a full game behind the Cubs. It didn’t help that STL’s Yadier Molina and The Calculator himself got tossed out by umpire Paul Schrieber, who I believe accused Molina of having a corked mask or something (photo by the AP’s Morry Gash).