August 24, 2006
And if you believe that, I have a bridge to Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. As Andrew Zimbalist, Neil deMause, and others have amply documented, accounting tricks (such as depreciating players' payroll as though it were an asset) enable baseball franchises to make it look like they are losing money. So why were so many investors willing to pay up to a half billion dollars for the Washington Nationals in an allegedly [limited-size] market? Not because they were being charitable, I guarantee you. Leave it to George Steinbrenner to lament his financial condition after outbidding the rest of the major league teams in putting together the Best Team Money Could Buy. According to ESPN.com (hat tip to Brian Hughes),
[The Yankees' general manager Brian] Cashman told Bloomberg radio that the new stadium is 'vital' to helping the Yankees return to profitability.
Forbes Magazine reported that ... the Yankees lost $50 million last season because the team paid $77 million in revenue sharing.
I suppose I shouldn't criticize Mr. Steinbrenner too harshly, after all, because he is going to pay most of the cost of building the new Yankee Stadium. The city will pay for new parking facilities, a revamped subway station, and assorted infrastructure improvements.
Rob Visconti relishes one of the side-effects of the Detroit Tigers' spectacular improvement this year: Attendance at Comerica Park has risen dramatically. "As a veteran of more games in which I had damn-near an entire section of the Comerica Park stands to myself than I care to remember, it's nice to have a little company."
Relief pitcher Joey Eischen, one of the dwindling cadre of former Montreal Expos on the Washington Nationals, says he is recovering from surgery faster than expected, but he still won't be able to play this season. See MLB.com. His fierce competitive spirit is a resource that must be conserved. As one of the reliable workhorse relief pitchers during the Nationals' amazing ascent to first place in the NL East during June 2005, he has earned the right to be given a chance to pitch for the team next year. Are you listening, Jim Bowden?
By amazing coincidence, only one day after I updated the Mile High Stadium page, there was a story at MLB.com about plans in Denver to place a memorial plaque at the site of the old "Bears Stadium," as it was known until December 1968. A memorial home plate will also be installed in the parking lot pavement as close to the original location of home plate as can be determined. The ceremony will be held on August 29, with Colorado Rockies players in attendance. Now that spot is in the middle of a parking lot for "Invesco Field at Mile High." (Hat tip to Rod Nelson of SABR.)