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Marcus Lemonis wants to play ball

Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis is part of a group bidding for the Florida Marlins baseball team. | Provided photo

Marcus Lemonis is putting money on the great American pastime.

The CEO of Lincolnshire-based Camping World and star of CNBC’s “The Profit” has joined former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush in bidding for the Florida Marlins baseball team.

“It’s a chance for me to work on a big business from my hometown,” Lemonis told me. “I love Chicago, but Miami made me who I am.”

Also part of that bidding group: Tagg Romney, son of another former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and New York-based investor Wayne Rothbaum.

Lemonis is a natural to invest in the Marlins as he grew up in Florida and sits on University of Miami’s board.

He and Bush face a few competitors in their bid for the Marlins, according to reports that put the team’s asking price at $1.3 billion. Other bidders include Jorge Mas, chairman of construction company MasTec, and retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

If successful, Lemonis would join an elite group of Chicago executives who have stakes in baseball teams outside of Illinois.

Tops on the list is Mark Walter, CEO of financial services company Guggenheim Partners. He’s the major owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

John Canning Jr. of Madison Dearborn Partners (and chairman of Sun-Times parent Wrapports LLC) has an 11 percent stake in the Milwaukee Brewers.

Chicago philanthropist Lester Crown is among the owners of the New York Yankees.

Also Milton Carroll, chairman of Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois (Houston Astros); Gary McCullough, CEO of ARI Packaging in Alsip (Cincinnati Reds); and Bill Bartholomay, a retired insurance tycoon (Atlanta Braves).

Mike Koldyke, a private-equity guy who founded the Golden Apple Foundation, and John Mabie, who founded Mid-Continent Capital, have stakes in minor league teams in New Mexico and Mississippi along with Canning.

Kennedy’s birthday plans: March

Chris Kennedy and nephew Connor Kennedy

Chris Kennedy and nephew Connor Kennedy at the Pride Parade. | Provided photo

Chris Kennedy had to break it to his family that he wouldn’t be joining them for July 4 festivities on Cape Cod.

Instead, he’s marching in parades to promote his bid for governor of Illinois.

“His family was like ‘Wait a minute,’” an aide said.

The Kennedys have for years come together on the Cape to sail and celebrate Kennedy and his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s birthdays. They were both born July 4: he in 1963, she a few years earlier.

Mark Kirk’s 40th reunion

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk | Provided photo

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk recently attended his 40th reunion for the of New Trier East class of 1977.

“He was in great spirits and stayed to the end. People wanted to get pictures with him,” said Erin McCarthy, an associate professor of history at Columbia College. Politics wasn’t part of the mix.

“I’m as liberal as they come,” McCarthy said. “At this stage, there’s a lot of appreciation for where we came from and what we have in common.”

Another politico turning heads at the reunion: National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

They all noshed on Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Portillo’s hot dogs, Pita Inn pitas and Homer’s Ice Cream.

The class donated $750 to the Trotter Project, which gives scholarships to culinary students. It’s named after the late Chef Charlie Trotter, who was a classmate.

Side note: Mayor Rahm Emanuel graduated in 1977 from New Trier West, archrival of New Trier East. The schools merged in the 1980s.

Jackson on the world scene

The Rev. Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson | Getty Images

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has returned from two overseas trips. He was the keynote speaker at the opening of the Museum of Free Derry, which honors Northern Ireland’s civil rights movement.

A day and a half after returning to Chicago, Jackson flew to France for the Cannes Lions Creativity Festival. There, he spoke about diversity in the boardroom.

Now Jackson is gearing up for the Rainbow Push Convention July 12-15 at the Hilton Chicago.

Expect discussions on health care, the environment and voting rights. They’re issues that have taken on greater importance for Rainbow Push since Donald Trump’s election, Jackson told me. “Everything we’ve fought for the last 50 years is on the chopping block.”

Manny’s from here to Sundays

Changing dining habits and a shift in the city’s economic engine have prompted Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli to open on Sundays.

Ken Raskin, from left, Patti Raskin and Dan Raskin

Ken Raskin, from left, Patti Raskin and Dan Raskin | Shia Kapos/For the Sun-Times

“The city is more family friendly so we opened on weekends,” said Dan Raskin, the fourth-generation owner of the Near West Side haven for meat lovers.

This year, Manny’s celebrates 75 years in business and the Raskins are marking the occasion by offering a cookbook featuring much-loved recipes such as stuffed cabbage, matzo balls and chopped liver. They’ve been tested for regular kitchens by Raskin’s mom, Patti Raskin.

Ken Raskin, Dan’s dad, says he had to be nudged to open Sundays.

“It was the one day we had as a family,” he said.

The changing clientele made it necessary. “Traders stopped trading, the produce market moved and the guys who would come in and eat a big breakfast all retired,” Dan Raskin said.

Manny’s has also expanded its salad bar. “It’s what people want,” Dan Raskin said. And the restaurant hosts private parties — even weddings.

Nothing says romance like pastrami.

Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.