TAMPA, Fla. -- So Tribune Company CEO Sam Zell lets drop that he'll sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field in a heartbeat if that can make him some extra money, and all you ivy-covered Chicago Cubs fans hit the roof.
Hey, I feel your pain.
And the best thing that can happen is this: Somebody gets the Cubs out of Mr. Zell's evil clutches as soon as humanly possible.
Now I realize all baseball fans probably aren't schooled in the world of journalism, and there's no reason you need to be. But in case you hadn't heard of a couple of recent highlights on the Sam Zell 2008 Offend the World Tour, allow me to fill you in.
He visited one of the Tribune Company's papers, the Orlando Sentinal, earlier this month to speak to the staff and address questions about his philosophies -- which can be summed up in one sentence: Find ways to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible.
So during a staff question and answer session, a woman photographer asks him how the paper will balance his need to make money with the paper's need for resources to cover the news. He essentially said, making money comes first, even if that means squeezing resources to hurt the product.
OK, whatever, he's the boss. But he finished an answer to one of the woman's follow-up questions by saying, and I quote: "F--- you."
It's right there on YouTube if you think I'm exaggerating.
And that's not even the worst of it. A few days later, his Tribune Co. tour took him to the Los Angeles Times, where he met with that paper's newsroom staff. And where he explained that his main mission is to make money, and the Times must look at new ways to make money, including accepting ads from strip joints.
Now you can have a reasonable debate regarding the merits of that.
But when the troops expressed disdain for the idea, Zell, in defending himself, told them that, "everybody likes ----. It's un-American not to like ----."
I left the blanks so as not to repeat Zell's inexcusable use of a crass word for a female body part in front of a full -- and highly offended -- newsroom of profesional men and women. Here's a hint, though: Think "cat."
How quickly do you think you'd be in the Human Resources office explaining yourself if you talked like that at your place of employment?
This guy is a piece of work.
Meanwhile, Billy Goat Tavern at Wrigley Field, anyone? I can think of worse corporate sponsors.
And I'm sure we'll get one.
Likes: The Phillies' training complex in Clearwater. It's five springs old, but doesn't look a day over one. ... Charlie Manuel. If baseball could walk and talk, it would look exactly like the Phillies manager. ... Grapefruit League games again. ... John Mellencamp into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month. ... Springsteen back on the road this week.
Dislikes: Thunderstorms in the Tampa area were so severe Tuesday night that it knocked out satellite television transmission ... which left me, working in my room, with about a 15-minute gap in the Democratic debate. Maybe rabbit-ears television antennas weren't so bad afterall. ... Scott Kazmir's arm trouble in Tampa Bay. ...
Sunblock day? No. Jacket day. That thunderstorm kicked temps down into the 50s Wednesday, and the wind was howling. Brrrr.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the price
For having learned how not to cry
-- Jackson Browne, Doctor My Eyes