It's a shame that news of the sale of the Cubs to Tom Ricketts didn't become public on Saturday. More than two years after the team initially went up for sale, and six months after Ricketts emerged as the choice bidder of Major League Baseball, Independence Day has finally arrived.
Finally, the Cubs and their fans are free to live without the shackles imposed by being on the block. Free to live without watching serious bids cast aside because Bud Selig didn't want to work with Mark Cuban, free to live without other serious bidders standing and watching as Sam Zell haggled for an extra $100 million despite a weaker economic environment and free again to dream of ways to end a century-long championship drought.
Of course, all those good feelings could go flatter than a bottle of champagne left out too long if nothing changes around Wrigley Field. Among those changes will have to be improvements to the structure itself, but that's not something that will happen until the season comes to a close. The more pressing needs are with a roster that hasn't improved because the team hasn't been willing to take on any salary.
The two needs aren't unrelated. If run by smart baseball men, the Cubs should be able to mimic the annual contender status of the Red Sox by maximizing the revenue from their aging landmark and large fan base. Ricketts hasn't given any indication about who would be in charge of baseball matters, but he could send an early message about his intentions by making a deal to help the team this summer.
It will still take some time for Ricketts to get approved by Major League Baseball and, because of Tribune's bankruptcy status, the courts, and that may mean the team isn't able to make any deals to help them build on their recent run of good play. If Ricketts is able to get a wink and a nod from the league, though, maybe he okays some extra payroll as a way to take down the Brewers and Cardinals while getting a long-term plan in place.
That would take the edge off of the frustration of waiting for a new owner and new direction, and, if things go well, make Ricketts a very popular man in the Windy City.