MLB owners act like losing money for one year is somehow unique in the world of business. It might even be just desserts after decades of money rolling in.
MLB owners are indeed a unique breed in at least one sense. They are all multi-millionaires who buy a team yesterday, watch its value increase, and finally (if they choose), sell the team for a substantial profit. No one has ever bought a major league team and lost money on their investment.
Those are facts. And it’s also a fact that whenever a team is put up for sale, buyers line up to drive their stake in the MLB money-making print store.
A recent example illustrates. In August 2019, Kansas City Royals owner David Glass agreed to sell the team to Kansas City businessman John Sherman for one-billion dollars.
These are the same Royals that Glass bought back in 2000 for the tidy sum of $96 million – which now represents nearly a 1000 percent profit!
These are also the same Royals who were permitted to break their 2015 World Championship team into little pieces while proceeding to “tank it” at the direction of Glass and well known to MLB owners and MLB itself.
“That Ain’t Workin’, That’s The Way You Do It”
That’s right; it’s money for nothing. In the music industry, it comes with your chicks for free, but in baseball, MLB owners have something even better – virtual anonymity for the sins they commit.
Accounting for inflation, Jeffrey Loria will make $984,332,513 off the sale of the Marlins to a group led by Derek Jeter, after purchasing for $158.5 million in 2002.
But not before MLB owners stood by as Loria signed Giancarlo Stanton to a ridiculous 13-year $325 million deal.
And to boot had the gall to tell the county and the city he owes nothing from a 2009 profit-sharing deal requiring him to turn over 5 percent of any sale proceeds to the public.
MLB Owners Dosey Doe Around The Dollars In 2020
So, when Commissioner Rob Manfred portends to earn his $11 million salaries on behalf of MLB owners, proclaiming a potential loss of $4 billion in revenue, we might wonder – what isn’t he telling us?
Did he forget to mention that MLB has enjoyed record-breaking revenue seasons two years in a row, jumping from $10.3 billion in 2018 to $10.7 billion last season?
So that even if he’s correct, from last year to this year, MLB revenue will still stand at a net gain of $6.7 billion.
MLB Owners Exposed For Cooking The Books
MLB owners may also have forgotten the media and their ever-exhaustive search to find the truth amidst the swamp of lies and deception.
MLB owners’ claims are swiftly put aside in two well-documented pieces found in my research for this article. Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich break it all down for us in an essay written for The Athletic.
Craig Edwards also takes MLB owners to task in another piece, this one for FanGraphs that leaves you with your mouth agape – like really?
Each article is not written as prose, so be prepared to read as though each is a forensic audit of MLB.
MLB: The Only Business In America That Can’t Lose Money This Year?
Businesses are collapsing across America in record numbers every day, collapsing, as in kaput. Yet, here we have MLB, a thriving business entity, much like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, that can’t withstand a singular one-year loss in revenue?
How many of us would feel sorry for Google if they announced a $4 billion loss this quarter? Would their stockholders be carrying placards of resistance in the streets?
Heck no, because they know tomorrow there’s only the cha-ching of the cash register coming.
The current play by MLB owners should not work. Regretfully, that’s not to say it will not play.
Instead, it should be viewed as a moment of shame for the number of “good” owners who are in the game for all the right reasons to be seen in the same foxhole as Manfred and the shabby argument he is preaching.
Time Is Running Out, And Maybe That’s The Best Thing To Happen
MLB owners and players are going to need to jump through hoops to solve all the differences that exist between them. For many, the financial issues discussed today fall silent in the face of the myriad of safety protocols currently before the player’s union to act on.
With all that’s at stake, would it be better if both sides, the MLB owners and the players, just stood down, letting the forces of nature and the pandemic take its course?
With or without games on the field, no one wins this battle. And what’s more, the war itself is at stake against the real enemy – COVID-19.
Declare “Peace With Honor” as Nixon did with Vietnam – and move on (hopefully) to the 2021 season.