News Briefs: Winter 2001

Revenue sharing winners and losers. In December, the New York Daily News printed the list:

Givers: Yankees ($22 million), Mets ($18 million), Indians ($13 million), Braves and Red Sox ($12 million), Dodgers ($11 million), Rangers and Orioles ($9 million), Mariners ($8 million), Rockies, Cardinals and Giants ($7 million), Astros, Tigers and Cubs ($6 million), White Sox ($5 million), Diamondbacks ($1 million).

Receivers: Expos ($24 million), Twins ($21 million), Marlins ($16 million), Brewers ($15 million), Athletics ($13 million), Pirates ($12 million), Phillies ($11 million), Angels, Reds and Padres ($8 million), Devil Rays and Blue Jays ($7 million).

Commissioner Selig proposes “competitive balance” draft. This draft, recommended by the owners’ Blue Ribbon Economic Panel, would allow the eight clubs with the worst records over the past three years to draft one player each from the eight with the best records. Each club subject to the draft could protect only 25 players in its entire organization – a real threat to clubs with deep farm systems. (This was the same format which allowed the White Sox to draft Tom Seaver from the Mets in 1984: the Mets protected 12 players who had never played in the majors, including Dwight Gooden, Kevin Mitchell, Len Dykstra and Sid Fernandez.) If implemented after the 2001 season, the draft would likely have the perverse result of allowing the Orioles to draft from the Athletics.

Selig threatens $1 million fine for owners discussing labor issues. Commissioner Selig has informed owners that he will be the only management spokesman on labor issues, and that any owner talking to the press will be fined up to $1 million. He then fined Boston’s John Harrington a reported $500,000 for telling the Boston Globe that “you’re not going to see a lockout happen again.”

More minorities in MLB. MLB’s Equal Opportunity Committee reported that as of June 30, 2000, 22% of MLB employees were minorities, up from 20% in 1997. 10% of employees were black (down 1%), 9% Hispanic (up 2%) and 3% Asian (up 1%). The percentage of minorities in executive positions rose 1%, to 15%; the percentage of minority coaches, instructors and scouts rose 4%, to 30%. There are six minority managers (Felipe Alou, Dusty Baker, Don Baylor, Davey Lopes, Jerry Manuel and Lloyd McClendon), and one minority GM (Ken Williams of the White Sox).

MLB hires Rob Bowman as Internet czar. Bowman left to become CEO and president of MLB Advanced Media. He’s supervising a total overhaul of, which will coordinate the Internet activities of all 30 teams as well as provide a central source for stats and features.

Richie Phillips just won’t go away. The umpires’ former representative has sued Bud Selig, Sandy Alderson and others in the Commissioner’s Office, as well as umps Joe Brinkman, John Hirschbeck and Tim Welke, for defaming him with “various false, misleading and malicious statements disparaging the ability, professionalism, and integrity of Phillips.” I’d add a comment, but since I’m also SABR’s Legal Advisor, I deem it best to say absolutely nothing here about the litigious Mr. Phillips’ ability, professionalism and integrity. I will, however, quote defendant Ron Manfred’s response to the suit: “I think this is the latest in Mr. Phillips' long line in unsuccessful attempts to litigate his way out of his own blunders.”

Around the Majors

10 Diamondbacks defer salary to ease cash-flow crunch. The gesture – by five starting position players and the entire starting rotation – is expected to save the club $16 million this year, though at a very substantial cost down the road. Owner Jerry Colangelo insists he’s “as sure as I am that the sun will come up tomorrow” that the club will be able to afford the deferred payments.

Orioles seek concessions from Baltimore stadium authority. Envious of additional perks allegedly granted to Art Modell for moving the Browns to Baltimore, the Orioles seek to obtain the same benefits through arbitration. Among the Orioles’ demands: the right to sell naming rights to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a $26 million rent credit and an interest-free loan to build more skyboxes.

Chicago Tribune inadvertently exposes subsidiaries’ fiscal chicanery. On February 4, the Tribune, whose parent company owns both the Chicago Cubs and WGN, reported that last year the Cubs received $7.6 million for airing 72 games on WGN TV, a national cable superstation – $5.4 million less than Fox Sports Net paid to air the same number of games only in Chicago. The Cubs also ranked 17th in radio revenues, receiving only $4 million from – you guessed it – WGN Radio, the clear-channel flagship of a 38-station regional network.

Coors Field already paid for. Thanks to a strong economy and lower interest rates, the six-county Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District paid off Coors Field’s $215 million bond issue in ten years rather than the expected 20.

Marlins reach tentative agreement for new park. Owner John Henry will build the new facility in Miami’s Bicentennial Park. Plans for the $385 million. 40,000-seat stadium include 60 luxury boxes, 3,000 club seats and 15,000 parking spaces. The Marlins would pay $240 million over the course of a 40-year lease, while Dade County would contribute the land and $118 million from tourist taxes, the state would earmark $122 million from sales taxes. A 4% ticket surcharge and parking surcharge would raise another $76 million, As part of the deal, the club would also change its name to the Miami Marlins.

New Twins stadium proposals. “Minnesotans for Major League Baseball” proposed a $300 million park to be financed half by Twins’ owner Carl Pohlad, half by taxes on stadium-related economic activity (everything from construction materials to player salaries to concessions and parking). Another group, “New Ballpark Inc.,” hopes to raise $100 million towards a new park through a stock offering. The Twins may need to make a deal soon: another proposal calls for converting the Metrodome into a football-only stadium to keep the Vikings from leaving town.

Yankees develop yet another revenue stream. Parent company YankeeNets has announced a marketing alliance with Manchester United, the world’s most valuable soccer team. The organizations will share marketing information, sell one another’s licensed goods and develop joint sponsorship and promotional programs.

Cardinals looking for new park – on either side of the Mississippi. The Cardinals’ first choice is a $370 million stadium in downtown St. Louis, for which they’ve offered to contribute $100 million – but they’ve warned that unless a deal is struck this year, they will pursue “parallel backup planning” with Illinois interests for a park in or near East St. Louis.

Giants’ new park proving a sound investment. Upon moving to privately-funded Pacific Bell Park, the Giants more than doubled their total revenues, from $75 million in 1999 to $160 million in 2000. Owner Peter Magowan reported that the club exceeded its own revenue forecasts by 7.5%, and turned a profit even after contributing $20 million to pay down the stadium debt.

Copyright © 2001 Doug Pappas. All rights reserved.
Originally published in the Winter 2001 issue of Outside the Lines, the SABR Business of Baseball Committee newsletter.

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