Monday, April 24, 2006

Stick pins in them

On this apparently bleak day for Braves fans, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to delve deeper into the darkness that is MLB ownership. This kind of stuff makes me want to learn voodoo. Writes mlb.com reporter Robert Falkoff:

The patience of Royals owner David Glass has been severely tested during Kansas City's early-season slide. But Glass made it clear Saturday that he's still willing to stay the course at this juncture and not have a knee-jerk reaction to three weeks of poor baseball.

Amid speculation that general manager Allard Baird's job security may be in jeopardy, Glass said his immediate focus is on helping his baseball operations team led by Baird do whatever it takes to turn things around.




Maybe spending a little more than $53 million on payroll would help. Maybe signing a free agent besides Reggie Sanders would help Allard. Glass used to be the CEO of Wal Mart. He still owns more than $100 million worth of the company’s stock. As he blabs about doing whatever it takes to help his GM, here’s what Forbes recently wrote about the Royals:

In April 2006, Jackson County voters barely approved a three-eights cent sales tax increase for the next 25 years to modernize Kauffman Stadium. The Royals will kick in another $25 million and pay for any cost overruns. The team plans on using the renovation to widen the concourses, add concession stands and luxury suites, which could add over $10 million a year to revenue. Fans can only hope that the team, one of the most subsidized in baseball, will use the proceeds to improve its dreadful roster rather than line the pockets of its owner, David Glass.

Meanwhile, the Royals in the past year also turned an operating profit of $20.8 million while the value of the team increased 28 percent, according to Forbes. Did you get a 28 percent raise this year? Glass bought the club in 2000 for $96 million, and it’s now worth $239 million, Forbes says.

Glass is hardly alone in pocketing the revenue sharing money he’s supposed to use to improve his team. Here’s Forbes’ take on the Pirates:

The team has cut player costs by $10 million over the past four years. Meanwhile, the team's take from the revenue sharing pool has increased by $20 million during the same time period. This business "strategy" has helped the Pirates turn a total profit of $34 million during the past two years.

Of course MLB and the owners hem and haw and crap all over the Forbes report every year. After all, you know, the Forbes family is famous for class warfare. The guy who started the magazine referred to it and himself as a “capitalist tool.”

I’m certainly no socialist, not even a knee-jerk liberal. Yet things like this and the Liberty deal make me, in the dark places in my mind, conclude that rich people and giant corporations rule the world and there’s nothing we can do about it. Except keep buying tickets and watching games to help them get even richer. They control the game we love. It ain’t fair!!!

AAARRRRRGGGGGG!!!!!!

People should at least think about this the next time they bitch about player salaries. Yeah, based on contributions to society, they are insanely overpaid. So are actors and rock stars and corporate chieftains. Based on what owners get for their financial engineering and milking the public, the players deserve anything they can get out of these plutocrats.

-- CD

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