This is a basketball item in its genesis, dealing with the New Jersey Nets’ financial documents and inspired by the NBA lockout, but it is relevant for baseball and all other sports as well.
Over at Deadspin, Tommy Craggs, using some older Nets docs, explains how team owners are allowed to list player salaries on their balance sheets twice, thereby dramatically inflating their on-paper financial losses. The little trick — thanks to a specious tax loophole argued for and obtained by Bill Veeck back in the day — allows them to cry poor when it’s time to do battle with the players’ unions at collective bargaining agreement time.
Well, the players unions know about this little tax loophole too, so it’s more about crying poor to the gullible media and gullible fans, but you get the idea.
The specifics here are quite instructive, but even if you don’t care about Craggs’ use of the specifics Nets’ documents, you should at least read the piece to understand that this sort of manipulation of the facts on the ground is a trick that sports owners have been using for years, be it in labor talks, threats to move or contract teams or in their efforts to obtain new stadiums and/or other incentives from local governments and tax payers.
You shouldn’t take anyone’s word about anything when money is involved, but boy howdy, be extra, extra dubious of anything the owner of a sports team tells you when he has his hand out.
The Oakland Athletics have activated DH Billy Butler from the 7-day concussion disabled list.
Butler, you’ll recall, suffered a concussion last weekend in a clubhouse fight with teammate Danny Valencia. The two have since apologized to each other and to the A’s organization for creating what would, if everyone’s being honest, serve as the dramatic peak of the A’s disappointing year.
Speaking of disappointing, Butler is hitting.286/.338/.419 with four homers and 30 RBI in 228 plate appearances this season.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that Tim Tebow’s baseball workout, which will take place tomorrow in Los Angeles, will be attended by scouts from “roughly half” of the 30 major league teams. Morosi noted in a later tweet that a lot of the people going to see the workout are people “with influence.” That could mean that people are taking him seriously. It could mean that people want to gawk. The proof will ultimately be in the pudding.
As we’ve noted, Tebow is 29 and he asn’t played competitive baseball since high school. While some people who have watched him work out have said complimentary things about his preparation and approach, an anonymous scout told ESPN.com last week that Tebow’s swing is so long it might “take out the front row.”
Color us skeptical until someone who works for a club, as opposed to people who have been invited to coach him, pitch to him or work out with him, says that Tebow has a chance.