Interesting information tied into possible relocation of Expos
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I really needed to read something like this today:
Four Major League Baseball franchises are up for sale, including the Montreal Expos, which has been operated by the league since Jeffrey Loria traded the franchise for the Florida Marlins a year ago. Although league officials have said it wants to find the team a new home and owner by the All-Star break, they might not be able to even if there is a willing buyer and eager city.
That's because the federal racketeering and fraud case brought in July by 14 former Montreal Expos owners against former owner and current Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as well as MLB commissioner Bud Selig and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy is still pending. "If they try to move the team, the judge has told us to file a preliminary injunction to stop them from moving and we intend to do that," said Jeffrey Kessler, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges which represents the plaintiffs.
I think I will e-mail this article to Mike Crowley to be forwarded to Steve Schott, just in case he is not aware of this tiny detail. Didn't he say he was hopeful and waiting the Expos would be allowed to move so he can do the same and relocate the A's to the South Bay? Good luck Mr. Schott.
Meanwhile, MLB is looking at how much interest and money the cities want to put into a ballpark in order to host the Expos.
Wow. 50 - 80% on one hand, $300M on the other. I think Stevie's going to bed with a smile on his face. He's got leverage.
BD, if I were Stevie, I would not smile or think they have a cakewalk ahead of them...
The BP Premium today has a very interesting article written by Doug Pappas. It is titled
Cognitive Dissonance -Exposing MLB's Contraction Plan.
Unfortunately I can't link the article since it is now a paid service by BP and protected by their rights.
Among some very interesting issues he discusses how originally MLB identified 18 teams as contraction candidates and by Dec 2000 the list was down to 8 teams after their lawyers and bean counters sent their 12-page memo with summary of team leases, tv and radio contracts and other key issues of each of the targeted teams.
By July 2001 they narrowed it down to the Final 4 which was actually 5 since it was their intention to combine Oakland and the Angels. The other 3 teams considered for contraction the Twins, Expos and TB so the Angels would be the fourth team by becoming the Anaheim A's.
What I really found very interesting was that in evaluating the potential legal and political fallout, the author mentions that MLB actually
had begun to rate baseball writers on a scale of one to 10 for their support of contraction and of the Commissioner.
Unfortunately the actual information and result of the rating has not been made public, leaving us to just guess at the results of this rating.
He does however conclude this:
These documents, and probably many more which have yet to be disclosed, drive the final stake into MLB's claim that contraction was motivated by economic necessity. In fact, it was a calculated, anticompetitive abuse of MLB's monopoly power. MLB intended to restrict output by buying out some owners at a premium (a premium which would have been unnecessary if, as MLB insisted, these clubs were on the verge of bankruptcy), while the rest would enjoy larger shares from the common Central Fund.
Andrew Zimbalist, the economist, makes the same argument. He advocates the elimination of the anti-trust exemption.
BD, Zimbalist has changed his opinion a bit and thinks now that the best would be the formation of a regulatory commission appointed to control ticket prices, relocation and other economical issues of MLB.
It's a bit old, but here's a speech Zimbalist gave which I think gives a very good history of things:
You mean like ...... a commissioner? Actually, I think he's changed his position in the intervening 11 years. He's been quoted as favoring stripping the exemption.
I read his latest book which is very much a study and analysis of baseball labor problems and the effect of ballparks in the communities who host baseball. He co-authored this book with Roger Noll and actually called themselves "editors" of reports and information they compiled from the Brookens Institute. It is called
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums
Both Zimbalist and Noll are very much against public financing of stadiums because they believe the benefits return communities receive does not outweigh what they spend on "corporate welfare" to team owners.
What they propose is really a bit unrealistic according to baseball purists. They advocate expansion rather than contraction. They feel that if a city wants a team, rather than outbid and overpay team owners in order to host a team, with expansion and more teams, the shoe would be on the other foot if team owners would have to beg a city to host their team. Of course they aren't baseball oriented and don't look at the effect of dilution of talent as a quality problem.
However, they continue to favor the formation of a commission such as a national sports agency that would oversee all issues of the game, including expansion, regulate and control the millions of subsidies cities give to baseball, the free concessions and free access to tv etc...
they also propose this federal sports agency would control ticket pricing... and the exploitation of minor leaguers which they believe tilts the scale in the other direction when they are then explored by the major leaguers as a result of a erroneous equation.
SJ&T was published in 1997. His new book hits the shelves on opening day.
But Andrew Zimbalist, ace sports economist from Smith College, says it is so in “May the Best Team Win,” his new book about the sordid economics and dumb public policy that has made Major League Baseball the basket case it is today.
"Zimbalist’s book, which comes out opening day (March 31), is serious, scholarly stuff. It explains how the baseball industry’s financial ills, its failure to maintain competitive balance, its vast disparities in team wealth and its ability to extort new $250 million ballyards from America’s gutless mayors, all stem from one thing — the game’s long-time monopoly status. Since 1922, baseball — alone among pro sports — has enjoyed a presumed antitrust exemption from Congress and the federal courts."