Friday, November 23, 2007

Baseball’s fiscal succubi …

Guess what?

Marlins may play in Puerto Rico in '08

Where have I seen this before? Yup, MLB’s Ren and Stimpy are at it again--brand new crap, same old sphincter(s). Jeffrey Loria and David “can’t see the lawn for the blades of grass” Samson are taking their second club to Puerto Rico (what is it about Loria and RICO anyway?) as a ploy to get into the pants of the politicos in South Florida. Get those naughty (and frankly disturbing) thoughts out of your head--I was talking about reaching for the wallet and not the change purse.

At any rate, here is the Coles Notes version of recent events. In 2004, there was a $30 million funding gap between the team and the region’s combined funding and the proposed cost of a new stadium for the Marlins. By 2006, the difference had risen to $60 million or as I had written last August the cost of signing Kevin Millwood or Paul Konerko for five years service.

Come earlier this month after it was known college football was leaving the historic Orange Bowl, the $50 million tabbed to renovate the stadium was no longer needed. $50 million worth of free money is available to close the gap. It is sooooooo close--can’t you just taste it?

As usual, the only thing tasted was the back of MLB’s hand. Bob Dupuy was so full of beans over the revelation he allowed them to digest somewhat so he could release a cheek-vibrating bit of synaptic flatulence to South Florida:

"The last thing you want to do is build a brand-new ballpark down there and have the team fail. Everybody recognizes that. The level of contribution the team makes has to be commensurate with what they believe they're going to be able to generate from a new ballpark and be viable."

A few of weeks after allowing the stench of this proclamation to dissipate it was announced that the Marlins were taking their bats and balls to Puerto Rico.

If a team can’t survive in the Miami market, it is not because its size (around top 12-15 of MLB marketplaces), it’s not because of the stadium, or the product (two World Series champions), or the weather. It is because it has dealt with some of the most inept, corrupt, purulent, incompetent obnoxious management this side of Enron.

They are so far into overdraft in their goodwill account in South Florida it will take years to get it into the black. Back around the 2005 All Star break, Bud Selig was in rare form about the Marlins (a riff from a THT notes column):

Bud on the Marlins: “They keep saying they still think they're going to get something done, they need to get something done…If they're optimistic and hopeful, I am, too…I'm always concerned about teams that need new stadiums, and it's obvious they do. That's not a secret somehow there has to be the political will and the private-sector will to get a stadium built. I mean, they are struggling mightily.''

Well, the Marlins are five games out of the wild card. Guess what? Is it possible that maybe the fire sales (real and threatened), the threat of moving the team to Las Vegas, the bad mouthing of the team and stadium, the broken promises (“We‘ll build our own stadium!”), the lies (“We’re losing our shirts! Our accountants say so!”), the sleaze (taking away the All-Star Game), and the insulting of the fan base (“Miami will never be major league until they cough up several hundred million in corporate welfare”) might have something to do with those struggles? Do you think that trying to rip-off the taxpayers with yet another boondoggle will build up any goodwill?

Bud on a Marlins’ move: “There isn't anybody at the front of the line for moving. There isn't anybody moving anywhere right now.

Translation: Wanted—city willing to pork over a half-billion dollars in corporate welfare. Must be willing be bend over a table and like it. Must not be overly concerned with pennant races, playoff baseball, and championships, while giving priority to luxury suites, club seating and high ticket prices. Must be willing to provide references from the citizenry in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. Intelligent people and discerning consumers need not apply.

If MLB hadn’t been so obsessed with squeezing every last dollar out of South Florida, the Marlins would be in a new ballpark right now. However Selig and Co. are still threatening that if the Liaria and Sam(son of a)… have to put too much of their own money into the pork, er park, they wouldn’t have enough left over to field a competitive club. Yup, on one hand, baseball’s revenues are over $6 billion, the Marlins receive revenue sharing that outstrips their payroll expenses, plus the exploding revenues from MLBAM and they’re still demanding to be allowed to grab South Florida by their ankles and shake them until every last penny comes tumbling out. Therefore, it’s off to Puerto Rico in search of money that would be devoted to schools and public services but Selig thinks should be earmarked for the wealthy.

Rotting Fish…

Other than a rousing game of limbo…
The Bible, David, Samson vs. natural selection
Is Larry Beinfest History’s Greatest Monster?
Please Stop Hitting The Hot Button
Battered Fish
Dumb And Dumber
Blackmail Black Knights and Black Humor

R.I.P. Joe Kennedy and condolences to his family and his year old son. Your daddy was a big leaguer. You'll be proud of him. Become a man your father could be as equally proud. That's the finest way to honour his memory.

Best Regards


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