Fresh from his beatdown from Cubs fans on Hardball, Paul Sullivan returns to address recent developments in Cubs history
What do you think of a package of Rich Hill and Angel Guzman for Dontrelle Willis? Or is Willis hurt? --Kenton Wolfe, Geneseo, Ill.
Kenton, I'd love to answer your question, but you are one week early. Next week is the return of the annual 'Send us your Wacky Cubs Trade Proposals' edition of Ask Paul. We'll print the best and wackiest proposals next Thursday, and, once again, please be brief so we can get in as many as possible. Also, Cubs fan and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Jeff Garlin has once again agreed to pinch-hit for me, and 'Ask Jeff Garlin' will make its annual appearance two weeks from now.
How can Major League Baseball and Bud Selig prevent Sam Zell from selling to the highest bidder? If Mark Cuban makes the highest bid and gets shut out by the "Budster" do you see an impending legal battle? --Steven B., Milwaukee
Actually Tribune Co. is selling the team, not Sam Zell, who does not own the company yet. Even if Mark Cuban makes the highest bid and Tribune Co. decides he's the guy, Cuban still has to get three-quarters of the owners to approve the sale, an unlikely occurrence given his renegade reputation and baseball's general stuffiness. I can't imagine an ensuing legal battle since Major League Baseball still has the anti-trust exemption, but who knows what Cuban would do?
Hey, Paul, what's the process for deciding the next owner of the Cubs and do you have a favorite? --Jody Lehr, Evansville, Ind.
The Tribune Co. probably will narrow down the serious contenders by the end of the season and then begin the bidding process. They hope to complete the sale sometime between the end of the season and the end of the year. I don't have a favorite, though it would be interesting to see what Zell could do if he kept it. Whatever happens, I do hope whoever buys it will fix the playing field this off-season and not wait until after the '08 season.
Is Felix Pie's personality such that he can handle bouncing back and forth from here to Iowa? --Bill Figel, Chicago
I think Felix will be fine. He's confident in his ability and he knows that sooner or later it will all click for him with the Cubs. He's already the best defensive outfielder they've had in several years.
Paul, you haven't answered ask the writer. Did Big Z lock you inside a locker? --Scott Gurke, Schaumburg, Ill.
I took the All-Star week off and did not look in my e-mail box for two weeks so I could get my mind right for the second half. For the record, Carlos Zambrano has never locked me inside his locker, though I'm pretty sure I would fit.
Why does Larry Rothschild seem to never wear the full team uniform? I don't like the blue pullover. You look like a team, you will play like a time. He makes it look like "Let's get it over with and I can go home." --Roger, Westchester, Ill.
Who cares what Larry Rothschild is wearing? The staff has improved greatly this season, so give him some credit.
Paul, I've seen what Don Levin has done with the Wolves -- bringing a class act organization to Chicago and in the minor leagues, no less. What are his chances of winning over Bud Lite and his cronies to buy the Cubs? I've already given up on Cuban after hearing all those stories about him not being local, the Reinsdorf problem and his 'enthusiasm' at Maverick's games. --Bob Richter, Lake in the Hills, Ill.
I would think Levin has a decent chance, and he's done a great job with the Wolves, especially hiring Pat Foley. It seems like most fans want Cuban, no matter if he has a realistic chance or not.
Yes, Cubbies is detrimental to the players' psyches. So is that dorky C on their hats. --George Sullivan, Tucson, Ariz.
You can't be serious. The Cubs cap is a classic with its old-school simplicity. I agree that the word 'Cubbies' can cause severe psychological damage to a players' psyche, as Dr. I.M. Kookie discussed in an earlier Ask Paul, but the caps are not dorky. Please know this man is no relation to me.
Paul, I was just reading about Mark Cuban as a potential buyer for the Cubs. It seems to me about 6 or 7 years ago, Steve Stone and a group of investors were trying to buy a franchise. I think Stoney would be fantastic owner. (Never mind a Cubs Coach or GM). Is there any remote chance he might throw his hat into the ring for the Cubs? --Tim Kopp, Austin, Texas
Stone has a good relationship with at least two of the groups bidding for the Cubs, so it's not out of the question he could make his comeback in the organization in some capacity. I don't know about being an owner, but as president of the Cubs his first move would probably be to re-hire John McDonough in some capacity.
No questions Paul, just thanks for a very good interview with Lou Pinella. It helps us longtime Cubs fans (60 years in my case) understand why in the world Piniella would take on the Cubs and all their baggage. --Chris Cameron, Windsor, Canada
Lou has certainly very candid about his managerial philosophies, and you have to applaud a manager who has enough confidence in himself that he'd ask the leader of the team (Derrek Lee) to call a players-only meeting to hash things out, knowing he'd probably be the focus of much of the hashing. Incidentally, Lou was sitting behind his desk with his shirt off when I interviewed him in the manager's office at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I asked him if he was naked when I walked in. He told me no, which was a relief since I'd never interviewed a naked manager before.
Paul, what's your read on Jerry Blevin, whom the Cubs traded for Jason Kendall. Is he the next Dontrelle Willis or Andy Pratt? --Phil "The Thrill" Golding
I hear he's closer to being a Dontrelle Willis than an Andy Pratt, though it's too soon to tell. For those Cubs fans who are too young to know, or who just have short attention spans, Willis was a great Cubs prospect who became a star after being traded to Florida, and Pratt was touted as a top prospect when the Cubs acquired him, only to watch him implode immediately.
Hi, Mr. Sullivan, why can't the fans take the Cubs public? I shouldn't say this but similar to the Packers and couldn't a corporation be formed with the shares sold in limited blocks to the public? Let the fans own the Cubs! With the number of Cub fans in the U.S., I expect all shares would be sold in short order. --Greg Sensmeier, Orland Park, Ill.
I like your idea and will forward it to Tribune Co. execs through my company e-mail.
Hey, Paul, my buddies and I just got done watching the Cubs game today and we saw one of the Cubs players carrying a pink bookbag when they game out on the field after the game. We are just curious who has to wear that pink bookbag and why? We're thinking he's probably a rookie, but wanted to confirm it. --Jason Corcoran, South Bend, Ind.
It's the rookie with the least amount of major league service, so Sean Gallagher and Billy Petrick have been carrying it lately. It's supposed to have gum and stuff in it for the relievers, and it's supposed to be embarrassing for the players to carry it. But ex-Cub Todd Wellemeyer changed all that when he proudly carried a similar bag in 2003. It was a defining moment in Cubs history, and no rookie has had to suffer any humiliation since.
Well, does a loyal Cubs fan throw back a Bonds HR ball, or throw back substitute ball? --Jim Boyles, Indianapolis
The veteran ballhawk who caught No. 752 and the 13-year-old kid who caught No. 753 . Of course not. No one could possibly be that insane in the membrane, knowing the potential value of a Bonds home run ball as he nears the record. Thanks for all the relevant questions, and get to work on those wacky trade proposals.