Well, an old-new group, as Houston businessman Jim Crane had previously been mulling an offer before dropping out a month ago. Now he’s back, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. That makes three in the bidding: Crane, Pittsburgh sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Beverly Hills insurance man, former agent, and alleged inventor of free agency, Dennis Gilbert.
It’s been reported that Nolan Ryan will bail as team President if Gilbert buys, and that he’ll stay if Greenberg buys, because Ryan is attached to Greenberg’s bid. No word on what happens with Crane.
Ultimately, however, that won’t be a factor in the bidding, of course. As Sullivan reports “economics will drive this deal.” More specifically, cash, as the seller — Hicks Sports Group — is in desperate need of it, and will likely accept the bid from whoever is able to get it done as quickly as possible.
A decision on which group gets an exclusive negotiating window with Hicks is supposed to come on Tuesday. Of course, the Cubs were supposed to be sold in a fairly quick time frame too and that took three years.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.