The Dodgers expect you to pay twice the price for half the product

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The L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin reports that a document setting forth the Dodgers’ financial plans was leaked in connection with the McCourt divorce. The document, which was created by the Dodgers in order to solicit Chinese investors in the team and/or a soccer club Frank McCourt wants to buy, sets out the following:

  • The Dodgers anticipate their revenue to rise from from $295 million in 2008 to $529 million in 2018;
  • Anticipate their average ticket price to rise from $29.40 in 2007 to $53.50 in 2018; and
  • Anticipate their payroll to rise from $123 million in 2008 to . . . $125 million in 2018.

Projecting anything out 8-10 years is something of a fool’s game, but even if those exact numbers don’t come to pass, a Frank McCourt-owned Dodgers team at least intends to nearly double ticket prices, nearly double revenue and keep payroll flat as a pancake over the next decade. For comparison, the Dodgers’ 1998 payroll was a shade over $61 million. If they had stuck to a similar plan starting then, today the Dodgers would have roughly the same payroll as the Oakland Athletics.

With the exception of some amount of deferred money, Manny Ramirez falls off after this season, so there is some room to grow to get “back” to the $125 million range. But you have to replace his production at some price. And, at the very least, plan for massive raises to Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw going forward. How that gets done — while addressing other needs and accounting for the inevitable inflation in player salaries — is unclear to say the least. 

Unless of course the Dodgers’ plan is to charge twice the price for half the product and still expect people to keep showing up at the ballpark.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.