The Cubbies are up for sale and some interesting potential buyers are coming out of the woodwork.

Tribune Co., the current owners of the Cubs, (which also owns Wrigley Field, The Chicago Tribune, and the LA Times) is in some serious debt – owing billions after becoming a private company under investor Sam Zell’s regime. The company decided the only option would be to sell off all its Chicago Cubs related holdings in a massive auction.

The sale, which would potentially be worth over $1 billion, will include the baseball team, the home ballpark, and a stake in the sports TV network.

After the state of Illinois couldn’t agree on a deal to purchase the historic team, 20 potential suitors were given until later this evening to submit a proposal bid. And according to a Reuters report today, one of the big names comes from Inland Real Estate Group, which operates a slew of Midwestern shopping centers.

So could your perennial ‘loved-while-losing team’ start setting up strip malls in the outfield? Will this improve the quality of the concession stands or lower the price of beer? Probably not. But it could potentially mean some big changes for the stadium. Maybe some expansion, a little extra renovation money perhaps? A Walmart to browse through during the 7th inning stretch?

The Reuters report also announces we may be seeing some familiar faces with these bids:

Andrew Murstein, a New York City taxi tycoon, said in a telephone interview that his group, which includes former baseball home run king Henry Aaron and former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, will submit a bid for all three assets, as well as one for just the team and TV network stake.

Also expected to submit bids … Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association Dallas Mavericks; and the family of Joe Ricketts, the founder of Omaha, Nebraska-based TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

Other expected bidders include … Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves minor league hockey team; Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns several Broadway theaters.

Although TD Ameritrade, Mark Cuban and some minor league hockey owner sound real exciting, how about that New York City taxi tycoon and the Broadway theater company? Sounds a lot like a NY Yankees takeover to me. I wonder how all those Chicago boys would feel about that?

So yeah, those are your options – become New York’s Midwest baseball headquarters or set up some strip malls in the outfield.

Feel free to make it rain in the comments section if you are so inclined.

Reuters: Bids for Cubs Baseball Team Due by end of the day, July 18, 2008