An interesting article by Shysterball today about the impending Cubs sale. Here's the key point of what he says:
. . . what would happen if you had the perfect storm in the form of (a) a current owner who doesn't feel loyal enough to Selig and Co. that he feels the need to pre-screen buyers; and (b) a determined enough buyer -- a maverick if you will -- that doesn't mind fighting his way into the club? In light of Piazza -- a non-binding case but one that is oh-so-ripe for citation -- wouldn't that cause major headaches for baseball? Would they dare put the antitrust exemption in peril in order to keep out an undesirable owner?
The Piazza case that he mentions was a case I hadn't heard of - basically some people tried to buy the Giants in 1993 and move them to Florida, and MLB quashed the deal. The buyers sued, and the judge ruled that anti-trust does not apply to the sale of teams. MLB quickly settled out of court.
Basically, if he has the highest bid then MLB has no recourse. He's proven that he's a successful owner of another team. Add to the fact that Zell / The Tribune have an obligation to their shareholders to take the highest bid and it is baseball's nightmare scenario.
Rob Neyer added his two cents in his blog, and feels that what will likely go down is that MLB will name a price, and several people will make offers before MLB picks the one it prefers (since everyone is making the same bid). I'm not really sure how well that will work either though, it really does seem out of their hands to me.
I'm all for Cuban becoming the owner - he can be quite the egotistical sideshow, but there's no doubt that he can wear the owner and fan hat at the same. His time owning the Mavs has been especially encouraging - he's great at marketing the team and the players love playing for him (he really has jazzed up their clubhouse, travel, etc). Put him in a league without a real salary cap, and watch out - I think he could combine Steinbrenner's ability to open the checkbook with the common sense to leave baseball matters to baseball people.