It’s Their Time To Shine ………….. Who’s In It To Win It ?

It’s Their Time To Shine ………….. Who’s In It To Win It ?

So the MLB season has kicked off to inauspicious start and already there seems to be some clamor for some teams to have remained at home . Forbes columnist and contributor Mike Ozanian states that the Tampa Bay Rays should they not be able to lure more fans to Tropicana Field over the next two years then quite possibly league’s hierarchy should look to contracting the team along with several other leading candidates . Having not read Ozanian’s article I’m not exactly surprised by the columnist’s findings but then again this has been something that MLB has failed to address when broached on the subject. I certainly think that the owners aren’t entirely happy with the present scenario in particular where teams such as the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have paid out in excess of $ 250 million over the past five years as part of Bud Selig’s rather idiotic tax sharing revenue scheme that is supposed to assist the small market teams around the league in order that they become more competitive . Given the fact that in large part there doesn’t really seem to be any real parity within the league but merely lulls in the competitiveness of the so called big market teams , as and when they show the presence of mind to be legitimate contenders with any real consistency.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Courtesy of Forbes.com

Contraction Looming For The Tampa Bay Rays

By Mike Ozanian , Sports Money

Groundswell building in Major League Baseball to dump the Tampa Bay Rays. From what I am hearing, I doubt there will be any baseball at Tropicana Field after 2014 even though the team’s lease runs to 2027.

The harsh reality is the Rays still have no fan support despite winning the AL East two out of the past three seasons and making it to the 2008 World Series. Stuart Sternberg’s group has done a good job of turning the team around on the diamond and developing and trading for young players since taking control in 2004. But the Rays have averaged only 23,000 at the gate the past three seasons even though prices have been slashed and in 2010 the team had the second-lowest ticket prices in the AL ($19.75).

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety.

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When the owners themselves such Frank McCourt , Fred Wilpon , John Henry , David Montgomery and others can’t even agree upon whether or not it’s in their best interests to have a hard salary cap within the game , I found it really naive of them to even think that a tax sharing revenue scheme actually makes things better for the game as a whole ! In large part when you have owners such as Jeffrey Loria and Bob Nutting pleading poverty while pocketing countless millions that were meant to benefit their respective rosters , it becomes all the more asinine that either team (Florida Marlins Pittsburgh Pirates) can even be viewed as being competitive. The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been competitive within MLB in almost two decades and it becomes all the more laughable to consider that there remains a place much less a purpose for this team to even exist within the game . The day the Pirates once again becomes competitive within the league it could well be the day that hell actually freezes over !

The Rise Of The Rays: All-Stars And Arbitrage

By Steve Schaefer , Forbes Magzine

Arbitrage, synergy and “buy low, sell high” are all terms that at one time made about as much sense on the diamond as a pair of spikes on a trading floor. That has changed drastically though, and nowhere more so than in Tampa Bay where a trio of Wall Street veterans have been trying to redefine how to build a winning baseball team.

To understand the rebirth of the Rays you need to go back to their first incarnation as the Devil Rays, says Jonah Keri, author of ‘The Extra 2%’, an account of how the club went from from league laughingstock to pennant contender.

Original owner Vince Naimoli came from the world of finance too, but his fortune was built as a turnaround specialist, taking over struggling companies, streamlining operations, stripping out costs and then cashing out at a tidy profit.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety .

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Three games into the season and there really isn’t much to be really all that hyped up about given the fact that it may well be at two months before we really the teams start to gain some traction and play with a great deal of consistency . The Baltimore Orioles seems to have gotten off to a good start and it bodes well for Buck Showalter , his coaching staff and the team should they actually make their presence felt within the AL East . It’d be great to see a truly competitive race within the division but it appears as if it’ll about whether or not the Yankees can have a resurgent season while competing with the Red Sox . I’d preface this by saying as good as the Tampa Bay Rays have been over the last two seasons this year I don’t believe will be their year to compete.

Offensively the Rays have been struggling and now the team’s best player Evan Longoria will be sidelined for up to three weeks with an oblique injury to his right side. And this scenario couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the team as it seeks to be a contender for the World Series . A playoff berth for the Tampa Bay Rays would have to come from the team playing not only competitively but also looking to win a minimum of 85 games merely to be sure of gaining the wildcard berth within the AL . And that’s not something I’m sure that this team in its present guise is even capable of doing in spite of the optimism that’s being shown by their most erstwhile fans !

Contraction is somewhat a dirty word to be using within the game but in essence it’s something that MLB may well have to address if they can’t get their financial house in order . Here again though it’s all going to become subjective rather than objective because in reality can the league hierarchy be trusted to make the right decision much less the owners ? It’s bad that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century merely to adopt some form of a drug testing policy . And it certainly didn’t help that the MLBPA under their then Executive Director Donald Fehr hiding behind invasion of privacy, as to a reason why the union and didn’t want a comprehensive drug testing policy in place . Since when did a union’s wishes trump what happens to be the laws of the land ?

I don’t believe that in light of Mike Ozanian’s piece that the league or owners will actually contemplate contracting one or more teams unless they’re pressed into such a situation or it’s because of a team’s dire financial straits ! . That certainly had to have been the case surrounding Drayton McLane’s sale of the Houston Astros to Houston businessman Jim Crane . Apart from that the very fact that the Astros haven’t a competitive force within the NL Central for a number of years .

Over the ensuing months we’ll learn a great deal more about the teams and that of their competitiveness as the season unfolds . And it could well be that we’ll no doubt be surprised by some teams whereas with others we will not ! We can all subscribe as to the teams we feel will make a genuine run of least trying to make it to the Fall Classic and if anything those are the ones that’ll be worth watching . Others will most definitely fall by the wayside and that if anything is what makes the long and arduous baseball season of 162 games such an intriguing and suspenseful one. As to the players who’ll make the season itself all the more enjoyable to watch you can make case that players such as Albert Pujols , Alex Rodriguez , Josh Hamilton , Joey Votto , Dustin Pedroia , Miguel Cabrera , Roy Halladay , Joe Mauer , Tim Lincecum and Robinson Cano will all make a case as to why they’re worth watching and paying the price of admission merely to see them play. As to what the fans may well think of it all remains to be seen but one can be sure that the most ardent fans among us will be watching closely while cheering on our teams.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you feel about the possibility that the hierarchy of MLB could very well down the road consider contracting a number of teams, in order not only to curb costs but merely get rid off teams that as such aren’t viewed as being competitive or drag on the finances of the large market teams that seemingly come to the aid of the small market teams ? Do you feel that in the long run such a maneuver would be of benefit to the game or to its very detriment ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece as well as any other topic you might feel pertinent to the game of baseball and the prospects for the season. .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Infielder Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays is late with the tag on Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(2) Infielder Elliot Johnson(9) of the Tampa Bay Rays bunts against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(3) Infielder Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles is congratulated after scoring a run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Orioles would go on to defeat the Rays 5-1 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

(4) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………

(5) Infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays was placed on the 15 day disabled list just prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(6) Billionaire entrepreneur Drayton McLane the former owner of the Houston Astros having agreed to sell the team to native Houston businessman Jim Crane for an undisclosed sum . All that now awaits is a formal vote approving the sale by the game’s hierarchy and board of governors made up of owners and executives of the league’s hierarchy . AP Photo / Michael Parsons …………….

(7) From left to right socialites Kase & Eileen Lawal , Houston businessman Jim Crane and his wife Franci seen here at a charity gala event in Palm Beach , Palm Beach County , Florida . courtesy of the The Palm Beach Post …….. copyrighted material …. @ all rights reserved .

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21 thoughts on “It’s Their Time To Shine ………….. Who’s In It To Win It ?

  1. The Rays are indeed in dire straights. Starting out 0-4 does not bode well for a team that can’t draw fans to the Trop when they’re playing well. Say good night St.Pete, there’s nothing left to do but turn out the lights. Sad but true.

    1. aero

      I’m not surprised to see the Rays start off 0-4 ! It’s not as if the team was going to set the league alight to begin with as it was sheer optimism on the part of the fans merely because they signed Damon and Manny .

      The Pinellas County government as well as the city of St Petersburg and its Mayor Bill Foster are forcing the issue with the Rays’ front office knowing full well that if anything the matter lies in the hands of the state legislature and in particular that asshole Rick Scott !

      Scott is now setting course to wreak as much havoc on this state as he did in essentially did in defrauding the government and US taxpayer when he was in charge of his hospital chain HCA ! And as we know the Justice Dept ended up fining the company over $1.5 billion ( $1,500,000,000 ) because of the fraud the company perpetrated on the taxpayers .

      Vote or Die . Bitch I’d rather you die !

      As for Duemig as I stated to Chris the moment that asshole ( Duemig ) has something pertinent to say then I may well listen because of now he’s simply annoying and has about as much idea as to how to run a company as Paris Hilton would know what is the capital of the Ivory Coast !

      All Ozanian is simply saying that having had brief conversations with a number of owners that is how they feel . Nothing at all wrong in that ! Less we forget Selig himself hasn’t been enamored with the Rays , having suggested that unless they get a new stadium then there’d be no way in hell they’d ever stage an All Star Game . Perhaps Duemig and the fans seem to have forgotten that ?

      tophatal …………..

  2. I heard Duemig on the radio yesterday afternoon blasting the guy that wrote that Forbes article and I’m inclined to agree with him.

    I haven’t heard anything about contraction. Duemig was calling for Selig to speak out on the matter as well.

    I don’t think the Rays are leaving the area even though I know you’re inclined to disagree.

    We have new politicians in power here in the area and I still think that moving the team closer to Tampa is the likeliest of options.

    1. Chris Humpherys

      The Rays if anything won’t be the only team on the chopping block should contraction come about . I think that might be the sole reason you might feel aggrieved by this all as it gives the impression that Ozanian is making the Rays the prime example of the whole scenario . But if you look at their legacy beyond the recent years you could make the case that such a suggestion would actually be justified .

      Also a case in point how long have the Rays been the beneficiaries of the tax sharing revenue scheme instigated by Selig and the league hierarchy ? If anything that’s the league’s own form of socialism don’t you think ?

      That’s something that Duemig has never taken into account but yet he opens his fu_king mouth as if he’s some kind of authority on the Rays and what goes on with them financially !

      tophatal …………..

  3. Chris Humpherys

    It’s that sort of naivete that shows that why nothing of any use happens within Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa ! The county , city and state all have a massive budget deficit and at no time has Sternberg offered to put up a smidgeon of his money as a good faith gesture in order to assist in a proposal to build a new venue not even to say about $5 million in an escrow account . And you think that Rick Scott will sign into law the fact a new venue will be built merely for the team to remain here ?

    As for Duemig when his ass actually understands the rudimentaries of what makes a business work then I’ll have time to listen to fat ass ! Most of the time he’d simply kisses ass rather than looking at a matter with a degree of being subjective and showing impartiality . He and Sileo are the region’s sports talk answer to Beck and Limbaugh all rolled into one ! What the two know about sports economics much less how to run a business could be written on the back of a first class stamp ………which in essence is absolutely fu_k all !

    Duemig who’s gone on the air drunk , suspended by the station and even ran afoul of local law enforcement . What’s left to be said at this juncture ? Seeking insight from this guy would be akin to taking lessons from Bin Laden on what it takes to love Jews and people of the Western hemisphere !

    I’ve repeatedly said to you that one of two things ought to happen concerning the Tampa Bay Rays , the front office seeks an outside investor or they move the team to Vegas because there has been an offer from Oscar Goodman the mayor that has been on the table for years. Because in the long run should contraction become inevitable within the league , then the Rays will definitely be one of the teams considered ! Make no bones about it at all ! It’s not meant to be a damning indictment of the Rays but a simple fact that’s all !

    Duemig expecting Selig to say anything pertinent on the game of baseball is like asking a member of Congress how best to solve the problems of the economy and other domestic issues. Not one of those assholes simply has a clue , neither does Duemig or Selig for that matter ! So what the hell he’s asking that question for shows his own damn stupidity and naivete’ to begin with ! Like I said sports talk radio hosts within this community aren’t all that bright to begin with ! If sh_t were brains then this area would indeed come up trumps with regard to that particular scenario concerning the local hosts !

    tophatal ……………..

  4. In most season, the team that finished last in one division ends up finishing first the next. Baltimore’s time?

    1. jgome

      From your lips to God’s ears but I can’t see it happening with the Orioles ! As good a manager as Showalter is I can’t see this team being in it for the long haul unless the likes of the Red Sox or Yankees implode over the course of the season !

      The AL East is by far the most competitive division in all of baseball and even with the Rays getting rid of certain players I expect that they’ll contend but I think that the challenge to the supremacy of the Red Sox and Yankees could well come from the Blue Jays as they seem to quite well balanced , perhaps even more so than the O’s and Rays .

      As for this article by Ozanian of Forbes it’s no different than what a number of executives actually feel at present . Less we forget the Rays as well as several other teams have been beneficiaries of countless millions courtesy of the tax sharing revenue scheme . And who allegedly benefited from the scheme ? In large part it has been the owners of the small market teams who rather than bolstering their rosters have in many cases simply pocketed the money as has been the case with Nutting of the Pirates and Loria with the Marlins .

      tophatal ………………..

  5. I wish contraction wasn’t an option. Maybe with the NFL and NBA locked out they will sell some more tickets late in the season than they normally would! I’m scared for the A’s…

    1. chappy 81

      MLB hierarchy can’t continually go on with this idiotic tax sharing revenue scheme not given the fact that the broadcast networks such as Fox , WGN and ESPN are being asked to pony up more each time the tv contracts come up for renewal . In this economic climate it’s becoming disastrous and baseball could learn a thing or two from the NBA and NFL when it comes to operating profitably with regard to some of their franchises . How can roughly 20% of the teams continue to assist the likes of the small market teams in the way that they do with it being viewed as fair ?

      At the same time the owners , GM’s and Selig aren’t doing a damn thing at all to rein their costs . Salaries are still extremely high at this juncture .

      Teams such as the A’s , Rays , Pirates , Marlins and others have profited greatly from the scheme . But in reality what percentage of them have actually gone out and disbursed of the money as they were meant to ? I’d dare say less than 50 % of them have actually done that and they’re not even held accountable with regard to using that money to bolster their rosters ! This is baseball’s own form of socialism and that’s something that the likes of Chris don’t seem to comprehend instead they feel aggrieve by something that this columnist has clearly had a response with having spoken to some execs around the league.

      As for the local sports’ talks radio hosts within this area what they know about the sports economics much less the operating of a business could be written on the back of a first class stamp ! They’re all a bunch of friggin’ morons to begin with !

      Sooner or later this issue will have to be addressed but the fact of the matter is an asshole like Selig will continue to be evasive about it all ! He shows about insight and leadership as a blind man in the middle of a mine-field playing hopscotch !

      tophatal …………………

    2. chappy

      Another thing what portion of the teams now actually eke out an operating profit without using that additional money supplied to them by the MLB hierarchy ? All this bitching and idiotic whining by the likes of this local talk show host Steve Duemig shows the inane mentality that the game now faces . These idiots simply spout bullshit across the airwaves without knowing what the f_ck they’re actually talking about !

      tophatal …………………

  6. chappy

    It’s true that the game could see an uptick in ticket sales but by how much ? In reality there cities around the country that’ve been blighted by the economy to an extent where fans are now actually choosing how they wish to spend their hard earned cash even more discriminately than ever before !

    With there being now in excess of 16 % unemployment in Detroit do you honestly believe that Comerica Park will be packed out by fans wanting to see the Tigers play over the course of their season ?

    It’s going to be same thing for a number of teams across the country and that includes the likes of the Yankees and Mets ……. at their respective venues . And that’s even with the advent of some teams lowering their general admission prices .

    Now I know why these ads for the state of California has been simply bullsh_t ! Kim Kardashian reading a book about Quantum Physics ? Who the f_ck are they kidding ? Her IQ can’t be quantified at all because it’s simply way too low to give an accurate reading !

    I’d dare say it’s the same thing for the teams in California with the Angels , A’s , Dodgers and Padres ? Probably sold out for their respective opening day games but since then attendance may well have tailed off somewhat .

    tophatal ……………………..

  7. Contraction is a pipe dream – the chance to do it passed in 2002. The model is already established with the Expos/Nationals as to what to do with a dying franchise; The league will either broker a sale, or assume ownership outright in order foster a sale to another owner who will relocate the team. Ozanian may be right that baseball will be leaving Tampa (after all, the whole reason that team is in Tampa was George Steinbrenner, and now that he’s gone…let’s just say this discussion likely isn’t a coincidence), but there are too many reasons why contraction just is not an option.

    1. JW

      It’s not the pipe dream some might think it to be because when the tv outlets covering the game …. are now being pressed to pay out even more when tv audiences are on the decline something has to give.

      And look at the behind the door dealings that took place concerning the sale of the old Expos ? Jeffrey Loria as the then owner sold the team at an exorbitant price and then got a loan at a preferential rate from the game’s hierarchy headed then and to this day by that oaf Bud Selig so that he could then go out and purchase the Marlins . All this from a guy whose estimated worth is in excess of $2.5 billion ? So don’t tell me that it’s a pipe dream what we’re seeing in the game is the very fact that the operations of the game’s hierarchy and owners would put both the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels to shame !

      tophatal …………..

    2. JW

      You say that contraction isn’t an option but is it fair that the five highest salaried teams should also have to carry the burden of making sure that at least between 1/5 to 1/3 of the teams can survive and eke out a profit by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme ? Because that’s in essence is now what’s happening or hadn’t you noticed it for yourself ?

      tophatal ……………………

      1. There’s two obstacles to contraction you are not accounting for:

        1)The Player’s Union. If you recall, contraction was a big issue in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement. The union sees contraction as a loss of dues-paying members, and they aren’t going to go along with that unless they get something in return.

        2)Scheduling. You can’t just contract one team; an odd number of teams will create a scheduling nightmare. So now, you have to whack two teams, which is going to double the headaches from the Player’s Union.

        In short, it costs short-term money to contract, where it can easily be a short-term profit selling to a new owner.

        If you read my post on this, I’m all in favor of letting the bad owners die on the vine, so that the ownership toilet can finally be flushed, then the infusion of non-idiot ownership can begin.

  8. Bud Selig and his idiots have ruined the game. Baseball’s prime is past. Sure most of the ballparks are pretty full but baseball’s time is past. This is why it is called Amercia’s past time. It’s past time.

    1. Bobby Gee

      Baseball 94-95 season and the lockout that took place essentially went downhill in the wake of the idiocy that took place as the MLBPA under Fehr had no other option after the league mandated lockout .

      In the aftermath of that the fix was in with the McGwire , Sosa season of fraud and the Bonds’ tainted records that subsequently followed . And those under the impression that there’s not a chance of contraction because of monetary costs are gravely mistaken . How much money has been spent with the idiotic notion of teams being given a fair chance with the tax sharing revenue scheme instigated by the game’s hierarchy and Selig ?

      Attendance may well have increased but so too now have ticket prices but the tv audiences have now fallen . Now in the midst of this economic downturn things are now beginning to hit teams and the game even harder .

      tophatal ………………………

  9. JW

    I completely understand the power of the MLBPA but even they now have become even weaker . And that’s in light of the league mandated drug policy . But answer me this how has the tax sharing scheme in anyway improved the situation for the teams other than those executives who’ve personally benefited from it rather than their respective teams ? If the likes of such teams as the Yankees , Phillies , Mets , Dodgers and Angels are keeping the small market teams in tact then you tell me how that’s meant to be beneficial for the game ?

    Contraction will most certainly come to the fore as a legitimate argument to be taken seriously . The game can’t exist with its present business template at all . Not when the large majority of those teams are suffering financially and especially in light of the fact that the tax sharing revenue scheme now has become such a joke . Teams with payrolls in excess of $140 million are taxed at a prorated rate on a percentage of that base figure annually . How the hell can an organization like the Yankees pay out $53 million last year alone to the league in order to facilitate those small market teams continually when many of those teams’ owners and front office executives aren’t doing what they’re meant to do with that money and that’s to bolster their respective team rosters .

    I don’t believe that you took that into account ?

    It’s not simply the owners but it has become a collective mess that has been created and then a massive fraud has been perpetrated on the fans .

    Ozanian I believe has hit a raw nerve that in essence fans and the league simply don’t want to address it or truly want to hear . It’s because in their eyes they think that the game is pure in its essence when clearly it’s not !

    tophatal ……………..

  10. You need to go attend some Rays’ games to help out the attendance Tophatal!!!

    They should move the Rays to San Antonio! We have over a million people so why not. Mexicans love baseball!

    1. jgome

      Before I moved up to C Florida I lived in the southern part of the state in Ft Lauderdale N Miami Beach area . I was an avid and vociferous fan of the Marlins . Supported them through the highs and lows of seeing a revolving door of ownership from H D Wayne Huizenga to John Henry ( present owner of the Red Sox ) to the cheating lying bastard they’ve now got in Jeffrey Loria the ex owner of the Expos .

      Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria

      Now as recently as 2009 he was pleading poverty albeit that Miami Dade County the city of Miami had agreed to finance the building of a new venue for the team in conjunction with the state . That being said not one iota of Loria’s money will be put up in the financing or building of the new stadium . However since Selig’s idiotic tax sharing scheme has been in place that benefits the small market teams the Marlins have been in receipt of countless millions which in large part has gone into the pockets of the executives of the team rather than bolstering the team’s squad .

      Since that revelation I’ve completely abandoned the team in terms of supporting them and that’s having witnessed them having won two World Series over the course of their inception to now .

      Left to right , Longoria , Friedman , Silverman and Sternberg .

      In terms of the Rays they’ve been up and down but it hasn’t helped that Sternberg (owner) and GM Andrew Friedman are so damn naive and have about as much business sense as a box of rocks on crack cocaine . What the organization (front office) needs are outside investors rather than them now doing things on the cheap . Longoria will never ever win a WS with this team or organization as they’re simply not good enough !

      I can’t support an organization who in reality has about as much ambition to win as a crack addict who doesn’t want to give up the use cocaine .

      Baseball is in a mess financially because the owners and Selig are a bunch of friggin’ oafs !

      There you have it ! How can a fan genuinely support a sport’s franchise that is completely clueless and unambitious ?

      tophatal ……………

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