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Will Mark Cuban’s day ever come?

Jun 24, 2011, 1:50 PM EDT

Mark Cuban horizontal

Mark Cuban is always a popular topic of conversation around here. To feed that jones, go read Jayson Stark’s column today assessing Cuban, baseball’s opinion of him and his chances of one day becoming a baseball owner.  Here’s the highlight of the column, though. It’s a baseball insider quoted by Stark, summing up Bud Selig’s impression of Cuban:

“Bud does not have any interest in an owner who wants to be The Story. … Also, Bud’s not interested in owners who are going to overtly challenge him publicly.”

Process that a bit while you think about Frank McCourt, who has been both The Story and a gigantic pain in Bud’s kiester for the past year or two.  The point: you never know what you’re gonna get, so you may as well make sure that whoever you let in the club is well-funded.

My thing on Cuban:  I know he was in the bidding for the Cubs for a bit, and I know he was outbid for the Rangers as a minority partner with Jim Crane last year.  But do we know how hard he pressed for the Cubs?  After he was left out of subsequent rounds of bidding, he had a lot to say about the deal not making perfect sense for him.  Same story about upping his bid in the Rangers’ thing.

While we like to think that Cuban has been blackballed, is that really the case?  Has he truly gone after a team full-bore, only to be rejected because of who he is?  Or is it, as is almost always the case, a bit more complicated than all of that?

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    If he doesn’t get a chance, he’s welcome to strangle MLB execs with that armhair of his.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    I could maybe see why Bud is against him owning a team, but why is there a popular sentiment against it? Lots of writers and blogs (zing!) seem to come out against the idea of him owning a baseball team. I don’t get it…

  3. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    …”Bud does not have any interest in owners who want to be The Story….”

    So bud has no interest in Peter Angelos, Arte Moreno, the Steinbrenners, Lerner, Loria, etc…. ? Sounds like he doesnt have an interest in any owners at all.

    • natstowngreg - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      Please don’t lump the Lerners in that group. They’ve stayed pretty much in the background.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 24, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        Youre right. The name just popped in my head. I change Lerner to McCourt.

  4. Richard In Big D - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    I wonder what kind of advice David Stern would give Bud on this subject? Bud SHOULD seek it, given the success of the NBA…

    • jimbo1949 - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      given the success of the NBA…
      In being one of the two major leagues in lockout mode?

    • simon94022 - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      The “success of the NBA”?

      Selig is a public relations disaster, but there’s no arguing with baseball’s business success under his leadership. MLB had around $7 billion gross revenue last year, approaching NFL levels. It’s online presence and advanced media operations are envied by every other sports league, football included. Attendance has reached levels that nobody could have imagined 15 years ago. Selig learned from the 1994 strike disaster and has steadily built the most amicable and productive labor relationship of any major sport. And by almost any measure, baseball far outstrips the NBA in popularity and financial success.

      At the height of the Bulls popularity in the 90s, many people believed the NBA was on the verge of overtaking baseball as America’s second most popular sport. Nobody believes that now, as MLB has opened up a huge lead over the NBA this past decade.

      I’m sure there are lessons that baseball could learn from the NBA, but there is a lot more that David Stern could learn from Bud Selig.

  5. PastyRasta - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Go visit the Dodger blogs or or even the web site called there is plenty of sentiment from Dodger fans for Cuban, but the questions is would Bud let him in the club?

    One thing is I fell Cuban has mellowed the last couple of years, he didn’t say squat prior to the NBA finals when usually he’d be all over the place. The problem is and will be, in the Dodgers case, is McCourt has entrenched himself, his claim to charge the new owner rent, raise parking etc…is atrocious. Craig summed it up best in a post earlier in the week about McCourt’s character, or I should say lack of.

  6. PastyRasta - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Damn I got so worked up on McCourt I forgot to post my point. Cuban could revitalize the 2nd biggest media market in LA and that would be nothing but a win for MLB, and it’s not like he’d call out umps for balls and strikes, because NBA officiating really is atrocious.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 24, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      I gotta agree with both comments and also would like to note that the name PastyRasta might be the best on HBT.

  7. pbannard - Jun 24, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Along the lines of what PastyRasta said, I think a Cuban ownership is reasonably likely to be approved for the following reasons:
    1) He was a model owner during the last NBA playoffs – stayed in the background despite the media salivating for commentary. When the trophy was presented, he made a classy move to have the original Mavs owner accept it. That begins to blunt the concern about wanting to be The Story.
    2) He is an ownership candidate with cash, at a time when baseball desperately needs to avoid any hint of someone buying the team on credit.
    3) He has proven himself willing to spend to improve – again, critical given that the Dodgers have seen their payroll decrease significantly under the McCourts, with alleged plans to cut it still more drastically.
    4) He would immediately reenergize a fan base that traditionally has been one of baseball’s strongest, but which has accounted for much of baseball’s drop in attendance this year, based on numbers Craig noted a couple of weeks ago.
    5) From what I can tell, he has always run the Mavericks from the point of view of a businessman – i.e., for profit. Obviously, he cares deeply about the success and emotionally invests in the team, but at the same time this is not the Russian billionaire who will come in and overpay wildly. He is not going to mess with the financial structure of free agency – if he thinks someone is overpriced, he’ll pass (I seem to recall him writing a blog post about just this when the Suns signed Steve Nash away).
    6) This is complete supposition, but doesn’t he seem more likely to want to set up his own network rather than sign a TV deal? I have to think this is the direction that baseball wants the next owner of the Dodgers to go, given the size of the market and the success of YES and NESN.

    Is it a slam dunk? Certainly not, but given that Selig is currently far more worried about owners with cash flow problems than owners with big mouths, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as a major player in negotiations. In fact, my guess is the bigger obstacle is Cuban himself – he’s not going to get himself involved if it’s a bad deal for him, and it definitely looks murky at the moment.

  8. ta192 - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    The only thing that Cuban has going for him is that he’s quite likely to outlive Selig…

  9. danberman4 - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Fans should love the idea of Mark Cuban owning a team (especially if it’s their team). And baseball should stop being such an arrogant old boys club.

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