Remember when the Cubs sale was supposed to be finished in 2007? Or 2008? Now that TD Ameritrade scion Tom Ricketts has won the final bidding status for the team, it would seem to be near completion. After all, once you accept a bid, the only thing that's left is how to structure it. It's not an uncomplicated process, especially in a billion-dollar sale of a professional sports franchise, but huge deals are structured by buyers, sellers, and lenders all the time in America. It usually doesn't take this long.
It's frustrating. Not only is it frustrating in a vague, theoretical way -- just get new ownership in place already -- but it's bad for Cubs strategic interests, too. Without an owner, the Cubs are in payroll limbo, meaning any trade to pick up, say, Jake Peavy will be shelved for lack of payroll approval from Ricketts. See why this sucks?
But it's not just Cubs fans angry at the sloth-like pace of the negotiations. It's also Bud Selig:
Selig has declined to speak publicly on the subject. But it's clear he wants it resolved, sooner rather than later. "It's not even on our desk," the MLB source said. "We can't do anything until we have it. We wish we had it already."
"We still think this deal is going to work," the source said. "That's what we keep being told. We just don't know when. We really do not know what the timing is going to be."
The bad news here: Bud Selig is on the same side of an issue as Cubs fans. This never feels comfortable.
The good news: Despite his bumbling style, Selig is still the most powerful person in professional baseball. Though Sam Zell might not care, that status still has to count for something. Perhaps Selig can help the two sides push toward a deal. Perhaps he can exert some pressure. Perhaps he can send whatever diabolical Bond-villian bodyguard he has to threaten Zell's accountants. At this point, being a Bond villian is a solution Cubs fans would probably be willing to live with.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.