Brewers owner, Yankees president having a delicious little spat

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In that USA Today salary piece I linked yesterday, Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio complained thusly:

“We’re struggling to sign (first baseman Prince Fielder) and the Yankees infield is making
more than our team.”

Yankees’ President Randy Levine fired back today:

“I’m sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running
the Brewers. We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any
complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions
of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years.
Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your
players. The question that should be asked is: Where has
the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”

Seems like a rather prickly and, well, downright mean comment from Levine, doesn’t it? I mean, Attansio may have been a bit whiney, sure, but he was merely describing a reality in payroll disparity, not indicting the Yankees. At least from what I can tell.

And to be fair: the Brewers do take revenue sharing money — reportedly about $30 million this past year — but they also have an $85 million payroll, so it’s not like they’re pocketing the money, which is the implication of Levine’s comment. The Brewers also play in a market with a population less than one-tenth the size the Yankees do, and a decent chunk of that is lousy with Cubs fans.  I think the Brewers do a pretty good job all things considered. Seems like it would call for a more politic response from Levine than the rebop he gave.

In other news, what happened to the idea of Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman doing all the talking for the Yankees and the rest of the royal court keeping the heck out of things? That has seemed to work pretty well these past couple of years.

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.