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San Jose is no panacea for the Athletics … how about New York?

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The A’s have been waiting about three years for Major League Baseball to clear their way to San Jose. At this point I’m wondering if it will ever happen. But even if it does, Neil deMause explains that San Jose is no pot of gold for the Athletics.

That’s because (a) the A’s would probably have to pay the Giants some $7-15$ million a year in territorial rights payoff money; and (b) because there are limits to how much more revenue a private ballpark in San Jose — on which Lew Wolff would have to pay a mortgage — could bring them:

According to Forbes, the Giants pulled in $230 million in revenue last year compared to the A’s $160 million. Let’s say that the San Jose market is strong enough that the A’s are able to turn themselves into Giants Lite, giving them $210 million a year. That $50 million-a-year bump would be enough to pay off Wolff’s $35 million in annual mortgage payments and checks to the Giants and give him $15 million to spare.

$15 million extra a year ain’t gonna pay for big free agents, which means that the A’s aren’t going to suddenly be a mega-competitive franchise the way some assume the will be simply by virtue of having a new stadium.

So what to do? deMause thinks what I’ve been thinking for some time: New York is the only answer:

New York City is a television market that’s triple the size of the Bay Area, and there are millions more households a short drive away in New Jersey and Connecticut. The New York metro area is the one market where a team owner could build a stadium with all the trimmings and end up with plenty of profit left over, thanks to the inevitable cable riches that would await.

Of course it isn’t happening because of the territorial rights thing. The Yankees and Mets would never allow it.

But the fact is, the territorial rights thing reflects a vastly different baseball economy — and a vastly different United States — than that which currently exist. Unlike in the mid-20th century, there are a not a ton of new cities growing like mad and demanding new teams like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston once did.  The pattern of growth has been existing cities — existing markets — growing ever larger.

The Yankees and Mets play in a city that is way better equipped to handle three teams than some markets are to handle one. Same goes for Chicago and Los Angeles, each of which have huge suburbs sprawling out their sides able to handle more baseball.

Except they’re not allowed to due to anachronistic territorial rights.

Cubs fan gets a tattoo that assumes a World Series win in the next four seasons

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This isn’t quite as risky as that (phony) story about the guy betting his life savings on the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016. But it’s still a gamble, both in objective, statistical terms and in terms of the Cubs and their overall karma and luck and stuff. But you gotta have hope, man. Hope is the best thing. Or at least that’s what an escaped ex-con once said.

This got tweeted out in March, but WGN and other media outlets are just picking it up now. I most appreciate the comma after the indeterminate 201_ year, which assumes they may win more than one.

Tattoo experts: what’s the easiest fix here assuming nothing happens for the Cubbies by 2020?

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
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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.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
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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.