Let's take a peek inside the Rangers finances


Just like the divorce case in Los Angeles, the bankruptcy case in Texas has given us the rare opportunity to take a look inside the usually secretive world of team finances.  A pretty full financial disclosure was released by the Rangers yesterday. Maury has the documents here.

The sad news: no V-energy peddling gurus, diamond cars with platinum wheels, panda steaks or six-week stays in gilded palaces like we saw in the McCourt divorce documents.  Mostly it’s just the pedestrian business of a baseball team that, sale drama notwithstanding, rarely sticks out in the crazy department.

Owner Tom Hicks pays himself $183K a year. He may or may not be worth that, but I’m willing to wager that he’s on the low end of owners who pay themselves. Nolan Ryan makes $1.5 million, and given all of the goodwill and ass-kickings he provides, I think he’s probably worth it. I love that there is a line item for Rusty Greer. I love that the Rangers not only paid an entity called “Team Beans, L.L.C.,” but that something called “Team Beans” feels it needs to limit its liability (what, exactly are they doing?!).  The Rangers have paid out oodles in legal fees as a result of the sale and bankruptcy in recent months, which just goes to show you that buying things “prepackaged” is rarely a bargain. Go organic, dudes.

The most interesting item relates to a blog, actually. Seems that Jamey Newberg of the notable Rangers blog “The Newberg Report” has taken over $27K from the team this year, plus had his and his family’s trip to spring training paid for by the Rangers, according to the Dallas Morning News.

I’m not an expert on the Rangers’ blogosphere — the only thing I really know for sure is that commenters therein like to add obscenities to the end of “Calca-” when talking about my Rangers posts — but my understanding was that Newberg portrayed himself as an independent blog with no official connection to the team. He tells the Morning News that “the payments
likely were for books he sold to the club.”  Seems he’d know that for sure. Also seems like he should at least disclose to his readers that he does business with the Rangers.

In other news, all you team-specific bloggers who aren’t selling tens of thousands of dollars of books and getting free trips from the teams you cover are suckers.

UPDATE: Newberg responds.

Hall of Fame will no longer use Chief Wahoo on Hall of Fame plaques

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Last month, in the wake of his election to the Hall of Fame, Jim Thome made it clear that he wanted to be inducted as a Cleveland Indian but that he did not want to have Chief Wahoo on his plaque.

His reasoning: even though that was the cap he wore for almost all of his time in Cleveland, “because of all the history and everything involved” he did not think it was the right thing to do. The context, of course, was the club’s decision, under pressure from Major League Baseball, to scrap the Wahoo logo due to its racial insensitivity, which it appears Thome agrees with.

Hall plaque decisions are not 100% up to the player, however. Rather, the Hall of Fame, while taking player sentiment into account, makes a judgment about the historical accuracy and representativeness of Hall plaques. This is to prevent a club from entering into a contract with a player to wear its logo on the plaque even if he only played with them for a short time or from a player simply picking his favorite club (or spiting his least-favorite), even if he only spent an inconsequential season or two there. Think Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray or Frank Robinson as, I dunno, a Dodger.

In the case of Chief Wahoo, the Hall has not only granted Thome’s wish, but has decreed that no new plaque will have Wahoo on it going forward:

To be fair, I can’t think of another player who wore Wahoo who would make the Hall of Fame in an Indians cap after Thome. Possibly Manny Ramirez if he ever gets in, though he may have a better claim to a Red Sox cap (debate it in the comments). Albert Belle appears on Veterans Committee ballots, but I’d bet my cats that he’s never getting it in. If younger players like Corey Kluber or Francisco Lindor or someone make it in, they’ll likely have just as much history in a Block-C or whatever the Indians get to replace Wahoo with than anything else, so it’s not really an issue for them.

Still, a nice gesture from the Hall, both to accommodate Thome’s wishes and to acknowledge the inappropriateness of using Chief Wahoo for any purpose going forward.