Perhaps this is ruining next week’s update, but news is news…
Yesterday, Baseball America reported on some of the proposed stadium upgrades and as you might have already guessed, they’re like a toddler at a Toys “R” Us:
- Locker rooms of 1,000 sq. ft. or more
- Separate food preparation and eating areas for both teams
- Year-round, lockable storage
- Two all-weather hitting and pitching tunnels with power outlets and Wi-Fi
- Expansion of AA/AAA lighting standards to all levels
Obviously, some of these standards are a good thing for the players, but the unspoken insistence that minor-league owners (read: counties and municipalities) pay for these upgrades is galling when, as BA notes, most of the stadiums built in the 1990s are “far below the standards” and even facilities built in the 2010s would still need upgrades.
The irony? It would appear that the older the stadium, the more likely it would be to get the funding. At least in theory, which is that a paid-off facility is an easier “ask” than to add on to a facility that’s still being financed.
But in reality, the difference appears to be between nil and none, given the current/coming fiscal crisis that will come regardless of next week’s elections.
Yesterday, both the Washington Post and The Athletic reported on further cuts to the front office. This includes Patrick Anderson and Billy Gardner, former managers at multiple levels, as well as scouting-related employees Jim Cuthbert, Colin Sabean, and Terry Wetzel. An unnamed person in the R&D/analytics dept. was also let go, which seems even more foolish if the canard is that scouts are no longer as necessary as they were once perceived to be.
[Insert lazy narrative about GM Mike Rizzo being an old-school GM here]
Both outlets cite the league-wide trend of layoffs and payroll slashing, which includes part-timers and five-figure salaries, in the wake of alleged losses of $3.1B and debt reaching $8.3B. Of course, there were no details as to when and how that debt was incurred or its interest rate or terms, though even Stevie Wonder can see that the intent was for the average person to infer that it’s all this year and it’s all bad.
Folks far smarter than me about the maths can weigh in, but I was paying attention to what we were emailing at The Motley Fool, enough to know that there are times when it’s advantageous to hold debt. Apple, for example, reportedly holds $90B in debt and has cash reserves of $200B. We know this because Apple is publicly traded, whereas 29 of the 30 MLB clubs are not.
Given MLB’s long track record of lying about its profits and losses while refusing to open up its books, it would be idiotic to presume either figure – $8.3B or $3.1B – is accurate. This is simply overkill to cover what is, in the big picture, merely a bad year after a dozen insanely good years.