People who know a bit about EPL soccer sometimes make comparisons between the big English soccer teams and the big major league baseball teams in order to explain the dynamic of that league to we soccer ignoramuses.
Like, I once heard someone say Man U. was like the Yankees. Or maybe Arsenal. And Chelsea was the Red Sox. Or maybe Liverpool was. I can’t remember and I kinda don’t care, actually. Like every other time I’ve sat and watched more than five minutes of an EPL game I was in a pub and the guy explaining this all to me was over-emphasizing the words “football,” “kit,” “pitch,” and “match” to make it abundantly clear he wasn’t saying “soccer,” “jersey,” “field,” an “game.” I’ve sorta liked EPL when I’ve watched it, but man, those guys who make it a point to have you know how into it they are drive me nuts.
Anyway, this is some meat for those conversations:
The New York Yankees are going into the soccer business.
The Yankees are partnering with Manchester City to own Major League Soccer’s 20th team, which will be called New York City Football Club and plans to start play in the 2015 season.
Manchester City, owned by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, will be the majority owner of the team.
During that conversation, held at the faux Irish pub in a suburban Ohio mall, the guy to my right will loudly and conspicuously order “a pint of bitter,” and then frown a bit when the suburban Ohio bartender rolls his eyes and gives him whatever they have.
Oh, here he is now.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.