Frank McCourt — who owns a baseball team worth close to a billion dollars, multiple luxury homes and eats out at fancy schmancy restaurants seven nights a week — claims that he’s got a cash flow problem:
Mr. McCourt’s filing paints the picture of a man who, relative to
his lifestyle, is operating without much of a cash cushion. In the
filing, Mr. McCourt said his liquid assets consisted of a bank account
with less than $1.2 million.
His filing said Mr. McCourt wouldn’t see any significant income
until next year — possibly as late as March — when he expected a
quarterly payment of as much as $1.25 million from the partnership that
owns the Dodgers. He said payments from the partnership were “my only
source of personal cash flow” other than checking-account interest. Mr.
McCourt said his liquid assets recently fell as low as $167,000, after
paying about $700,000 in expenses for his wife, who filed for divorce
last month. He said the Dodgers don’t pay any of his personal expenses.
Jamie McCourt’s lawyer says that’s “baloney” and says that Frank should “be ashamed of himself” for pleading poverty like this.
I think the truth is somewhere in between. Even if you believe Jamie McCourt’s previous filings which seek to paint the couple as loaded (and her as entitled to much of that wealth) they also show severe indebtedness. Indeed, the McCourt’s whole empire, the Dodgers included, is based on leverage, much of it tied up in homes that aren’t likely worth what they paid for them, and the bills continue to come due.
It’s exactly this sort of situation — minus the divorce, mind you — that has led to Tom Hicks’ ownership of the Rangers to near damnation. Throw in the divorce and you have Padres’ owner John Moores.
The more I see of this case, the more certain I am that the Dodgers will be sold in the not too distant future, and that until that sale comes, they’ll be cutting expenses wherever they can.
And hey, look! Higher ticket prices!
For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.
In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal. The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.
Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.
Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.
Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing. Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.
Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:
Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.
Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.
Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.
At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.
Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.
But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: