Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Colangelo interested in buying Cubs

Last week the names started coming out about who would be interested in buying the Cubs. You can add a Chicago native to the list and this one has a World Series ring. Jerry Colangelo put his hat in the ring today, confirming that he has interest in Cubs. Colangelo grew up following the Cubs.

Here is most of the Dave Carpenter's AP article in the San Jose Mercury News:

CHICAGO - Former Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo would be interested in buying the Chicago Cubs if Tribune Co. puts his hometown franchise up for sale.

Colangelo, chairman of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and former controlling owner of both the Suns and Diamondbacks, said Wednesday he has held "preliminary discussion" with unspecified other people who share his interest in buying the Cubs.

He declined to say whether he had spoken to Tribune Co. or the Cubs about his interest, but said: "You can speculate that."

"If in fact the Cubs become available, and that's a big if, I've stated that I would have great interest," he told The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to keep my options open at this point, that's all."

Colangelo said he had spoken with two different groups of prospective bidders. However, he added, "I have my own interest, not necessarily tied to any particular group."

The 67-year-old Colangelo grew up a Cubs fan in suburban Chicago Heights. A four-time NBA executive of the year and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he brought major league baseball to Arizona in 1998 as managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, who won the World Series in 2001.

He told WSCR-AM on Tuesday that owning his hometown team would be "quite an exciting possibility" and would represent "coming full circle."

Tribune, under pressure from large shareholders disappointed with its sagging stock price, has said it hopes to decide by year's end on a strategic overhaul that could include selling the entire company or certain assets. Those assets also include 11 newspapers, led by the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, and 25 television stations.

The media conglomerate reportedly has told buyers it would focus first on a possible sale of the entire company before the sale of pieces.

"I think everyone is awaiting what they decide to do," Colangelo said. "What I've been advised is that may come down early in December."

One of the things that I find real interesting is we are finally seeing a timeline. It's Thanksgiving and we will know something in early December. Wow. Things are moving quick in this process. The fact that Colangelo was part of the ownership group in Arizona might help his group in the approval process.

In an article from the East Valley Tribune, Colangelo gave a little more insight on his interest in the Cubs:

“I’ve had calls from people in Chicago encouraging me to step forward. I’ve been told by others, ‘Jerry, if you step in, it’s a natural.’ I’ve always had a great relationship with the city, the people and the Cubs. I’d like to be part of it.”

Colangelo says the Cubs are one of the few ventures in sport that still interests him:

“There are very few things in sports that would entice me in recent months,” Colangelo said. “This just happens to be one.”

Stay tuned...

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