The long, arduous Cubs sale is not yet over, but late yesterday it got a good bit closer: Tom Ricketts, the chairman of a corporate bond dealer and the son of T.D. Ameritrade owner Joseph Ricketts, bought the team for a reported $900 million. That wasn't the highest offer but was the one with the most cash behind it; as the Tribune Company is currently bankrupt, cash is a powerful thing.
Of course, the next question -- beyond when the sale will be finalized, which could be months more -- is what kind of owner Ricketts will be. Will he pinch pennies? Will he splurge on payroll? Will he make the Cubs an efficient developer of talent? Will he improve the aged and decrepit Wrigley Field? No one has any idea, but if Ricketts' biography is any indication, it's a good sign for Cubs fans:
Tom Ricketts once lived across the street from Wrigley Field and met his wife in the bleachers. "My family and I are Cubs fans," Ricketts said in a statement Thursday night. "We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve."
The quick biography is just that. It lends only momentary insight into how Ricketts will run the franchise, whether he will understand the way the Cubs have lagged behind in so many areas for so many years, whether he will have the right methods to change those practices. But it is somewhat hopeful. At least he's a fan. At least he'll care. At least he's in the baseball team for more than a financial investment, something to be milked dry and discarded. That's the hope, anyway. Now Ricketts has to live up to it.