With the World Series victories of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox earlier this decade, the Chicago Cubs now stand alone as baseball’s historic example of poor management, baseball ineptitude, and postseason futility. Sure, teams like the Pirates and Royals are more laughably inept now, but only the Cubs prove that such awfulness can last for centuries.
Cubs fans had hoped this was changing recently with the 2007 sale of the Tribune Company to angry munchkin Sam Zell. Unfortunately, anyone who has actually worked for Sam Zell could have told them not to get their hopes too high; predictably, the Cubs have underachieved under Zell’s brief ownership (of course, he’s been trying to sell them the entire time). And now, the sad-sack story of the Cubs has reached new heights/depths with the news that the team - one of the most valuable properties in all of sports - may be filing for bankruptcy.
It’s not that the team is broke, far from it. In fact, this seems like one of the shadier financial plans that’s come around in a while, which is saying something in this economy. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE writes:
The prepackaged bankruptcy under discussions by Cubs officials would be designed to clear the team of liabilities and make its sale easier, sources close to the team said. Any prepackaged filing by the Cubs could allow the team to re-emerge from bankruptcy in a very short time from weeks to a day or so, these sources said.
A daylong bankruptcy of a profitable sports team designed solely to make the team easier to sell by shedding liabilities sounds more like some sort of fraud than reorganization to our layman’s ears, but what do we know? It’s a plan also reminiscent of General Motors, who shed a good many toxic assets and liabilities in their recent 40-day(ish) bankruptcy, and emerged smelling like
government cheese a 1982 Chevy Citation roses.
If the Cubs are taking business cues from General Motors, it’s fair to say that their historic championship drought won’t be ending anytime soon. And, like GM, if the government somehow ends up owning the team, Cubs fans will go berserk. Not out of some sort of anti-government, anti-socialism backlash, mind you, but the thought of the team being run by a White Sox fan is more than Cubs fans could take.