Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban could be a more viable suitor than long thought as the sale of the Cubs heads toward a possible year-end resolution.
The outspoken Cuban, considered a long shot to gain approval from baseball's conservative owners, suggested in a recent radio interview that some of those owners who also have NBA teams should help his cause, not hurt it. And he suggested Tribune Co. isn't likely to accept a lesser bid over a popularity contest.
So should Cubs fans believe Cuban is a more viable bidder than early reports suggested?
''They're all viable until the league tells us they're not,'' said Cubs chairman Crane Kenney, who is heading owner Sam Zell's efforts to sell. ''[Cuban] owns a professional basketball team, right? Somebody thought he was a suitable owner of a professional team. But it's not my job to say who's viable and who isn't.''
Kenney said financial books on each of the three assets for sale -- the Cubs, Wrigley Field and Comcast SportsNet -- should be sent to prospective bidders in the ''next few weeks.''
The target of the harshest criticism directed at any Cub this season, Alfonso Soriano found himself in the top spot among National League outfielders in the first release of All-Star balloting.
He's one of three Cubs who would be in the starting lineup if the voting stopped today, joining rookies Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome.
If the fan support was vindication for the boos and criticism, Soriano wasn't feeling it Wednesday.
''I don't pay attention to what people say,'' he said. ''They can say what they want. I can only control playing the game.''
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