Here we go again, financial flexibility in available payroll space fans…oh, sorry – I mean “baseball” fans…
I’ve long ago accepted that owners of MLB teams are by and large, disingenuous creeps. Creeps who rely on fans who don’t know better, believing owners’ drivel in order for owners to keep their money. What I refuse to accept, is the folks we’re going to be reading, watching, and listening to over the coming weeks – who get paid to know better – do not. And to take that lack of acceptance one step further, I won’t accept the fans who believe the baloney the talking head sycophants are going to be disseminating.
So let’s review. This’ll be easy, because it’s the same talking points over and over and over again so I know where the conversation is headed.
First, players’ contracts are not “debt”. The Cubs did not trade Yu Darvish because they wanted to “clear debt”. The traded him because the Ricketts family wants to keep their money and they don’t want Yu Darvish to have it. As has been proven over and over, players are investments that are exponentially more likely to produce a positive return than not.
Speaking of debt, this nonsense that teams have debt on properties and land surrounding their parks is gibberish. I touch on this in my book and Neil deMause goes into it extensively in his book (links to both on the right), but these are again, investments. When the Orioles borrowed money to build around the stadium in Camden Yards to put businesses on their building footprint, or when the Yankees borrowed to put businesses like the Hard Rock Café on Yankee Stadium’s building footprint, or when the Mets borrowed to put a Shake Shack on Citi Field’s blueprint do you think they were good investments? Of course they were… which is why every team is doing it now. As Rob Mains pointed out in Baseball Prospectus, it’s like if Apple borrowed money to open a new store in an affluent suburb, nobody would listen to Apple cry about having to pay off the money they borrowed to do it because we all know they’re getting a massive return. Oh, and by the way, their interest rates aren’t what you and I have on our credit cards.
As far as the owners (and their sycophants) claims of losing money…
Owners like the Wilpons, the McCourts, and the Lorias (among many others) did everything in their power to run their teams into the ground, and each still sold their businesses at a massive profit. Team values have been rising on a straight line since free agency began 45 years ago (an irony not lost on some of us) and haven’t stopped. Team owners sound like stock traders who made $500 million over the past ten years then cry about losing $15K last week. Oh, boo-flipping-hoo.
By the power of Ken Kendrick’s baseball card collection, I command you dear reader, stop believing this drivel.
“Oh, but the poor ‘small market’ teams can’t pay their star players – we need a salary cap”. The Cubs, 4th in MLB in team value playing in the 3rd largest market just salary dumped a player on the team that plays in the 29th largest market. Last season the Boston Red Sox (9th largest market, 3rd most valuable team) traded Mookie Betts because they didn’t want to pay him.
Reminder, Yankee fans: Aaron Judge is a free agent in two years.
I didn’t have massive aspirations when I started this blog a few years back, but one of my goals was to make baseball discourse less dumb. I ask that you join me in this quest, and start by ignoring your favorite sports radio hosts, and mass media writers by laughing when they perform gymnastics in order to defend the bottom line of billionaires instead of yours.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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