south bend cubs logoWe talked about the rumor yesterday, but now South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin has confirmed it for himself: he’s bought an interest in the parent of his minor league affiliate.

Berlin discussed the purchase with WSBT, saying, “I’m not making decisions about operations or player personnel. But I do enjoy certain perks of ownership – of being a minority owner – and I also get a chance to learn about Major League Baseball and the baseball business.”

Berlin also discussed the relationship between the big league Cubs and the South Bend Cubs, and how it will be positively impacted by this move. Check out the WSBT piece for more on that. I think it’s cool to have this kind of formal integration at the top. Berlin confirmed, by the way, that he was cleared by White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to make the purchase. Berlin is also a minority stakeholder in the White Sox.

As for the broader implications here, this is a fairly significant news, as it is the first publicly-confirmed sale of a stake in the Chicago Cubs, something the Ricketts Family has been reportedly exploring since last year as a way of funding the Wrigley Field renovations (and, let’s be honest, capturing some of the massive appreciation in their Cubs asset).

Clearly, these small sales are ongoing, and this serves as a reminder that what the Ricketts are likely selling is more akin to a non-voting investment in a company (with some fringe perks), rather than any kind of control in the organization. That will stay firmly with the Ricketts Family.

(I’ve reached out for comment from the Cubs/Ricketts’ side, and will update as there is more information available to share.)

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