Cubs on verge of split from WGN TV

David Brown
Big League Stew

Most of us assumed the world would be a better place once the breakup of the Soviet Union occurred. The repudiation of communism and all that. Confirmation that "our way" of life is best. Well, as we've found out, the Earth is not safer than ever just because we're down a superpower. It's just different, with an unexpected set of annoying consequences with which we struggle. And this truism is not only relatable to geopolitics.

For example, the breakup of the Chicago Tribune empire. They used to own countless newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, along with Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. We've all grown up with the Cubs being broadcast on WGN TV — Harry Caray, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, et al, like in the video — but those familiar times appear to be nearing an end, as the Chicago Tribune reports:

On Tuesday, the team notified the Tribune Co.-owned station it had 30 days to meet a higher assessed fair market value for the broadcast rights, or they would be opened up for negotiation with other media. A third-party consultant hired by the Cubs and WGN-TV determined the increased valuation, according to sources.

After 30 days, the team would be free to explore other broadcast options for about 70 games televised each season by WGN, opening the door to a potentially more lucrative contract or perhaps its own cable sports network.

Thanks a lot, Ricketts family. Dasvidaniya, childhood!

It doesn't really matter to those fans who really want to see the Cubs on TV (Lord help you), because those people will pay the required cable TV/internet fees to do so. So our kids are going to have Len Kasper calling Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and future generations on some kind of broadcast. It matters much more that the Cubs, or any MLB team, is maximizing its TV revenue by getting the best deal possible. If that means starting their own Cubs TV network, or squeezing into a new partnership with the White Sox or whomever, so be it. It's all paperwork to us, as long as we're willing to buy it.

It will be irritating, though, to turn to Channel 9, or Channel 307, or whatever you got, and no longer see the Cubs in a familiar place. But in the end, it's just a channel. It's just a number. It doesn't really matter. Hey, you can't see "Bozo's Circus" anywhere, anymore, like WGN used to show. It could be worse.

Now, not being able to drink Old Style beer at Wrigley Field (Lord help you) — there's a tangible loss.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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