The Wisdom of Ron Santo
This from Mike Downey's latest column in the Trib.
... [Ron] Santo said. "My feelings on this are very simple. The commissioner, Bud Selig, is the best I've ever seen. He knows how important the Cubbies are. There are going to be quite a few bids on this ballclub, and he'll make the right decision."
Ron Santo, bless his soul, has never been one to play politics well. He understands that the Tribco expects him to be a loyal homer, and as Cubs fans we know that Santo would have trouble doing anything else... but Santo, in his security of knowing that he doesn't have to guard himself to stay 'true blue' sometimes will let too much of the truth escape.
My problem isn't with the first part of the quote. Sure, I think Selig is an awful commissioner in some respects (in others he's been good, but on the whole, I'd say he's bad for the game), but Santo can have his own opinions. No, what's telling about this quote is the part where Santo mentions it as a foregone conclusion that it will be Selig choosing the new ownership group.
To which I quietly laugh. Everyone knows Selig will choose the next Cubs owner, just like he did with the Red Sox. (In Boston, Selig accepted the second highest bid because it let him shuffle ownership groups: John Henry from Florida to Boston, Jeffrey Loria from Montreal to Florida, and MLB stepping in to earn the windfall on moving Montreal from Canada to DC.) Of course, it was only after the sale was all but finalized that the pesky media found out that Selig had accepted the second bid (on behalf of the Yawkey foundation) and had shorted the charitable organization many millions of dollars. (This was later 'fixed' by asking John Henry's group to up their investment to match the winning bid.)
Anyhow, I'm rambling about history, but the whole point is that The Commissioner is not supposed to be the one accepting offers for the team, rather the TribCo should be in charge of selling the club. While this is technically true, Santo's quote puts into print the 'wink wink' reality that Selig is essentially selling this club on behalf of the TribCo.
And we wonder when the Commissioner became the 31st owner, rather than someone who looks out for the best interests of baseball.