Let me start this out by saying that I am a businessman.
In all aspects of business, there are bosses and employees.
Nobody can ever force a person to accept a job. That means when you accept a job, you know what your payment is going to be. With that info in hand, you don’t get sympathy from a guy like me when you complain about your salary.
When your salary isn’t to your liking, you are allowed to seek employment elsewhere or ask for more money. If your boss refuses to give you more money, then they do not believe you are worth it. That is where a person has a choice to make.
You can accept what you are receiving or leave for another job with more pay. That’s business.
The business of baseball is a bit different. Salaries are negotiated and you sign a contract. A contract can be for one year or multiple years. In either case, just like most businesses, you know what salary you are receiving when you sign it. So in most cases, you will never hear someone like me defend any player who wants a do-over. Holding out or refusing to show up for team practices, etc…. get no sympathy from me. You have a deal in place so honor it.
Owners can always renegotiate with you if they want to avoid you seeking higher pay. But they are not obligated to give you a raise when you already have a contract in place.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a wrench thrown into the entire situation. It is obviously not the owners or players fault that baseball was shut down
Things are starting to open back up however and the delay to baseball is the fault of one of them.
When things first started opening back up, the owners asked the players to accept pro-rated pay for the number of games played. The players agreed to this.
The business side of me says this is fair. Any player who wants more than a pro-rated amount is being greedy in my opinion. The problem is that MLB owners then came back with a revenue-sharing idea. Seeing that fans may not be a part of the game, they were going to be losing a significant revenue stream. They asked the players to share in the loss of money for the good of the sport. After all, once fans were allowed again there was potential for more money than they usually would make on a pro-rated salary.
At first glance, this didn’t seem like such a horrible counter. The initial reaction from most is that sharing the hit between employees and bosses is what is happening all over America. So why not ask players to take a little less, if a significant amount of money is being lost because of the Coronavirus. The burden, however, is to prove how much money you are losing. Open the books.
Owners have long been reluctant to open their books. That is within their right to keep their finances private. But you cannot cry poor with no proof. Either you prove how much of your revenue is generated through fans, or you honor your initial deal to pay pro-rated amounts for the games played. You cannot have it both ways.
The problem is that owners are starting to realize that the players will not accept anything less without proof. Whispers around baseball are that there are about 6 to 8 owners who want to scrap the whole season. The thing the players losing an entire season of payment will result in them being more willing to negotiate for the new CBA after the 2021 season.
Being a nerd, I decided to look at the list of current owners. I wanted to know how many owners from the last shutdown in 1994, were still around. It stands to reason that someone who was willing to cancel a World Series was probably on board with flipping off its fans for money. There are 9 ownership groups or families who were around during the 1994 season. My gut says that 6 to 8 come from this group. (Although Oaklands owner was the one who decided to cut off minor league players’ salaries. He is not on this list because he didn’t own the team in 1994.)
Here is the list from 1994 with how much they would make if they would do EVERYONE a favor, and just sell their teams.
Owned by Charlie Monfort who paid $95 million for the team in 1992.
The Rockies are estimated to be worth $1.275 billion today. Meaning he would make $1.18 billion dollars if he was to sell.
Christopher Ilitch’s family has owned the Tigers since 1992 when his dad purchased them for $82 million.
They are estimated to be worth $1.25 billion today. That’s a measly $1.168 billion profit should Chris sell today.
The Twins are owned by Jim Pohlad who spent $44 million in 1984.
Minnesota is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion today. What does Jim net? $1.256 billion.
New York Yankees
George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973 for $8.7 million.
His son Hal now owns the team that is worth $5 billion. He could pocket $4.9913 billion.
John S. Middleton bought the Phillies for $30 million in 1981. The Phillies are estimated to be worth $2 billion today.
What’s wrong John? Can’t use $1.97 billion in profit?
John W Stanton paid $106 million for the Mariners in 1992.
They are said to be worth $1.6 today. That’s $1.494 billion in profit if he dumped the team.
San Francisco Giants
Charlie Johnson bought the team in 1992 for $100 million.
Now they are worth $3.1 billion. That’s easy math. That’s a $3 billion profit.
Peter Angelos bought the Orioles in 1993 for $173 million.
Now they are worth roughly $1.4 billion. Peter is out of the day to day operations at 90 years old. His sons could sell and make $1.227 billion.
Chicago White Sox
Jerry Reinsdorf bought the Sox in 1981 for a cool $20 million.
Now they are worth $1.65 billion. He could sell and make $1.63 billion to keep the Bulls together.
Owners need to open their books or pay what they said they would. If you are going broke right now, then sell your F***ING teams!
Coronavirus hasn’t hurt the value of your team. But if you continue on this path, you will for sure.
Featured Image: Rick Scuteri/AP