A Strange Wind in Chicago: Blago Arrested, Tribune Going Bankrupt, Cubs Still Spending Like Crazy

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You know, as a Cardinal fan, I'm always happy when bad things happen to the Cubs. I know, I know, I shouldn't feel that way, but I just can't help it. When black cats charge the field, I find myself laughing and cheering for the cat. When a Cubbie fan reaches out and plucks victory away from an outfielder's mitt, I can't help but laugh at the sheer misfortune the Chicago baseballers seem to invite.

And when their pitchers fail, year after year, to stay on the field for any appreciable amount of time, I feel bad for the pitchers themselves, but not nearly as bad as I probably should. Hey, whatever it takes to ensure another century of futility. 

But even as a fan who routinely sticks pins in his Aramis Ramirez voodoo doll, I have to sit back and just wonder at what in the world is going on with the Cubs these days.

The Tribune Company is facing bankruptcy. See, to me, that seems like the Cubs would find themselves in financial difficulty, seeing as how Tribune is the owner of both the Cubbies and Wrigley Field. However, according to an article in the Sporting News, the baseball team and stadium are not included in the bankruptcy filing. 

Okay, first off, I'm more than a little confused by this. If the company that owns the Cubs is out of money, doesn't that mean the Cubs are out of money too? Don't get me wrong; I'm sure that various parts of a given corporation have their own budgets and so forth, but Pepsi were to go belly up, I would have to think that would affect Taco Bell. Maybe someone out there with more financial understanding than me can offer some assistance, because I just don't get it. 

So, the Tribune is insolvent, but the Cubs are somehow fine. Okay. I'll play along. Even so, we're facing one of the worst economic crises in our country's history. Pretty much everyone is being forced to tighten their belts; not even professional sports seem to be completely immune. In addition, Sam Zell, the owner of the Tribune Company, has been trying to unload the Cubs for quite a while now. Mark "I'm Out Of My Mind" Cuban looked like he was going to be the guy for a while, but his name seems to have dropped off the radar. 

Okay. Giant economic recession. Parent company bankrupt. Owner of said parent company trying to sell team. You would think, with all of that, that the Cubs would be hunkering down for rough seas ahead. 

Well, you would be wrong. 
See, apparently the Cubs are determined to get Jake Peavey come hell, high water, or newspaper collapse. They're currently working on negotiations with both the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies to create some sort of bastard three-team deal that would send Mark DeRosa to the Phillies, prospects to the Cubs, and then those prospects, plus some of the Cubs' own prospects, to the Padres for Peavey. Got all that? 

What I don't get is just where the Cubs are getting the money for all of this from. I understand that they have a big television revenue stream, and that cures a whole lot of ills. But still, how is it that while everyone else is looking to cut down, cut back, and just generally cut, the Cubs are still just adding payroll like crazy? 

Now, to add the final, lunatic touch to life in the Windy City these days, the governor has been arrested on federal charges, racketeering and the like. Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody at his office this morning in Chicago. Blags, as I like to call him, has apparently been a very bad boy, promising to fill the newly vacant Senate seat left by the Obama ascension with whoever offers him the best deal. You may recall, of course, that Blagojevich was elected following the arrest and conviction of Illinois' last governor, George Ryan. Ryan is now serving time in the 'pen; it looks like Blags may very well be joining him soon. 

So honestly, what exactly is going on in Chicago these days? We've got the governor headed for the big house to join his predecessor, one of the biggest newspaper conglomerates in the country going bankrupt, but the team that just happens to be part of the bankrupt company seemingly spending as if their money is going to expire tomorrow, and trying to broker a three or even four team deal to get yet another big name player in Cubbie blue. 

I'll admit it. I'm really, really puzzled by all of this. It does, however, make me glad to be a citizen of good old St. Louis, where our biggest problem is fear of the encroaching Dutch. 

Fear of the encroaching Dutch. There's a phrase you don't hear every day, huh? 

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