Will Tribune sale help the Cubs?

Chicago businessman Samuel Zell, who has emerged successful in a $8.2 billion purchase of the Tribune Company (owner of such papers as the Chicago Tribune, The Sun of Baltimore, and the Los Angeles Times, among other properties) plans to sell the Chicago Cubs after the end of the nascent 2007 season. Will this help the Cubbies to overcome the ever-growing distance from their last World Series championship in 1908? Time will tell.

I know nothing about the Tribune Company's stewardship of the Cubs, but suffice it to say that things can get complicated when a media juggernaut has an interest in a sports franchise. This is relevant here in Sox Nation since the New York Times (which bought the Boston Globe in 1993) has a stake in NESN and the Red Sox, a topic covered in the Phoenix in 2005.

Gratuituous Cubs-related digression: the Sox' flat performance yesterday only reinforces our sense of slight kinship, at least for a day, with the lovable losers from Chicago. 

Speaking of the intersection of business and baseball, a few other odds and ends:

-- This book, about the Cubs' 1908 season, and more broadly about the America of that time, sounds like a great read.

-- Kennesaw State University economist J.C. Bradbury makes a strong case that excessive expansion, not steroids, is responsible for declines in the quality of Major League ball.

N4N says Josh Beckett will pick up the Boston nine tomorrow.

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