Renovate Wrigley? Dodgers owner Guber provides insight on CTL

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Renovate Wrigley? Dodgers owner Guber provides insight on CTL

Peter Guber joined Chicago Tribune Live Friday afternoon and chatted with David Kaplan about several things. Guber is the owner of the Golden State Warriors and is now part of the ownership group -- along with Magic Johnson -- that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Guber discussed his leadership style as a businessman and his new book, "Tell to Win." He also sounded off on a myriad of different topics on the business end of sports, including the Marlins' recent salary shedding trades.

"They've won and lost with all the different strategies," Guber said. "There's no one clear path to success certainly in sports or in life, but one thing that's for certain is, you better be acutely sensitive to the fact that if you're failing, you have to make a change. And the question is if it's really a failure or just a speed bump.

"And for them, they decided they weren't going to get there, so they cut their losses. One of the things you learn in business is when you have a failed proposition, you want to move off it as quickly as possible...It's a business, after all."

The Ricketts wowed the sports world when they purchased the Cubs for 845 million, but Guber was part of a group that bought the Dodgers for more than 2 billion.

While Ricketts and the Cubs are dealing with potential renovations to Wrigley Field, Guber is facing similar issues with Dodger Stadium -- what do you do with a historical, popular stadium that needs to be updated and modernized? Can you continue to win with a stadium like Wrigley?

"You can continue to win on the field, but everything is a part of the process now," Guber said. "The venue is an important factor. Clubs that don't have good training facilities, good medical facilities, good clubhouses, as well as good bathrooms for women -- a very important issue -- different kinds of food, they compete less favorably...There's different models that have worked different ways. You have to look at your marketplace and decide what you can do."

"The Cubs are a tradition. Going to that park has become part of the culture, it's been venerated. And that's what the Red Sox also did. Is Dodger Stadium that way? Maybe. Maybe not. It's a different kind of fanbase. I think the truth is, at the end of the day, we compete against home entertainment. And as a location-based entertainment venue, you better be up to snuff, cause over time, it'll eat your lunch if you're not."

Preview: Cubs-Marlins Sunday on CSN

Preview: Cubs-Marlins Sunday on CSN

The Cubs take on the Miami Marlins on Sunday, and you can catch all the action on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m., followed by first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies on the call. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Mike Montgomery (1-3, 2.26 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (3-8, 4.19 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

Jon Lester: It’s go time for Cubs

Jon Lester: It’s go time for Cubs

MIAMI – Jon Lester dropped his head and wiped the sweat from his face. The Cubs ace didn’t jerk his neck and twist his body, hoping the swing and the sound somehow fooled him. The slow turnaround revealed the obvious – the 75-mph curveball out of his left hand flew over the left-field wall and nearly into the Clevelander bar billed as an adult playground. 

Lester gripped the next ball, stared out into the visual noise at Marlins Park and went to work late Saturday afternoon after J.T. Realmuto’s two-out, three-run homer in the first inning. This is the bulldog determination and tunnel vision that’s been the antidote to the big-market pressures at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field and made Lester such a big-game pitcher.

“You really just have to lock it down,” Lester said after doing just that in a 5-3 win. “You have to try to figure out a way to pitch innings. That was one thing I learned at an early age in Boston with ‘Schill’ (Curt Schilling) and Josh (Beckett). It doesn’t matter. Now we start over. You have to take that mindset of ‘It’s back to zero’ and not keep looking at the scoreboard.”

From that Realmuto moment, Lester retired the next 13 hitters he faced, 15 of the next 16 and 18 of his last 20 at a time when the Cubs needed that performance to buy time for their young hitters, weather a series of injuries and survive a brutal schedule.

Lester believed enough in the coming waves of talent to sign with a last-place team after the 2014 season, and got rewarded with his third World Series ring, continually impressed with this group’s poise and maturity.

The day after getting shut out for the sixth time this season, Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. – four 24-and-under players – combined to go 7-for-15 with five RBI and four runs scored.

“It’s a test for everybody,” Lester said. “These guys are kind of getting broken in early. They’re going to figure it out and we’re going to go. Now it seems like our guys are really feeling comfortable at the plate. We’re having good at-bats, normal at-bats.

“The results will come. This is, obviously, a results-driven industry. But the plans – as far as on the mound and in the batter’s box – just look a lot smoother right now, a lot cleaner and hopefully we can just keep playing good baseball.”

[VIVID SEATS: Buy your Cubs tickets right here]

The Cubs are 38-36, a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers and in position to win three consecutive series for the first time since April. Whether or not Lester (5-4, 3.83 ERA) returns to Little Havana for the All-Star Game, he is the bellwether for this rotation.  

“Jonny’s just got this thing going on right now,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He knows where the ball is going and he gets the high-number velocity when he wants to. He’s not just pitching at 92, 93, 94 (mph). It’s in his back pocket when he needs it. And he gets it with command when he wants it.

“As well as I’ve seen him pitch – I know he had a great run last year also – from a stuff perspective, command perspective, it’s as good as he can pitch.”

This $155 million investment will at some point become a sunk cost. The Cubs understand the history of nine-figure contracts for pitchers and how desperately they need reinforcements. But almost 100 innings into this title defense, Lester feels like he’s just getting started. 

“I feel better now than I did in April and May, for sure,” Lester said. “I think bigger bodies just take a while sometimes. Some years are different than others. Some years you come out like gangbusters and you’re ready to go and the body feels fine. And other years it takes a while to get into that rhythm of pitching every five days again. This was one of those years.”