Tonight, the Chicago Tribune announced that the Ricketts family is the winning bidder and will be the new owners of the Chicago Cubs, pending league approval. The Ricketts family fortune came from TD Ameritrade, which is also the leading candidate to purchase the naming rights for the new downtown Omaha stadium.
Now things start looking VERY interesting in Downtown Omaha.
For starters, with this combination, how do you open TD Ameritrade Park in the spring of 2011? Might I suggest the possibility of the Chicago Cubs playing an exhibition game in Omaha to close out spring training? If TD Ameritrade wants to get their money's worth out of the stadium name, why not bring in the team owned by the company's founders (who, by the way, still own a sizable chunk of the company)?
Want to think even bigger? Wouldn't it make sense to have the Cubs AAA minor league affiliate play in the stadium named for the company that the owners built? Outlandish at first, as the Iowa Cubs have done very well in Des Moines. But it's no secret that the Omaha Royals are in the market to leave the city of Omaha. Maybe they go to Sarpy County. (Hahahahaha!) Maybe they go to Texas.
Maybe they swap franchises with Des Moines.
Wacky idea perhaps? Well, it's more sane than the idea of the Chicago Cubs leaving Wrigley Field for Omaha.
It's an outlandish idea, but it certainly throws a new wrinkle into the whole stadium debate.