Winners! Losers! Awards! Your 2010 predictions, guaranteed correct or your money back

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Opening Day.jpg

Never make predictions, especially about the future.

— Casey Stengel

That’s some great advice, Casey, but it’s Opening Day, we’re all happy and giddy and optimistic and everything, so let’s moot the entire season right now by telling you everything that’s going to happen.  As the headline says, 100% correct or your money back.

THE DIVISION RACES

If you’ve been following the Springtime Storylines you already know what I think is going to happen in all the races this year, but let’s put them all down in one place so that they’ll be easier to find this October when you’re all ready to congratulate me for my shocking prescience. Links go to the full-blown team preview.

AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays
AL Central: Twins, Tigers, White Sox, Royals, Indians
AL West: Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Athletics

NL East: Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Mets, Nationals
NL Central: Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Cubs, Astros, Pirates
NL West: Rockies, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres

Predicting the playoffs is a fool’s errand because approximately 3,252 things are going to happen between now and October that will impact all that, but why not?

  • Yankees beat the Twins and the Rays beat the Angels in the ALDS
  • Yankees beat the Rays in the ALCS
  • Braves beat the Cardinals and the Rockies beat the Phillies in the NLDS
  • Rockies beat the Braves in the NLCS
  • Yankees beat the Rockies in the World Series

Oh, stop your complaining. It’s not like you know any better.

AWARDS

AL MVP: Kendry Morales. I can’t say why other than to say that no one on the Yankees or Rays will get credit for a great year because it’ll be viewed as a total team effort and because writers will only vote for Mauer and Morneau so many times.

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, partially because he’s awesome, partially because Pujols fatigue will cause voters to search for other candidates despite the fact he’s still the best player in baseball.

AL Cy Young:  CC Sabathia because, despite the fact that Greinke will pitch better than him, the writers won’t want to give another 16 game winner the Cy Young. And no, last night’s game won’t matter in all of this, so just cut it out.

NL Cy Young:  Roy Halladay, who will simply abuse the NL this year.

AL Rookie of the Year:  Austin Jackson, not because he’s better than all the other rookies, but because he’ll have a lot more plate appearances and will compile some respectable numbers.

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward. We are all witnesses.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, for managing an insanely talented team whose talent people won’t fully acknowledge past a flawed Red Sox team that no one will admit is flawed.

NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox. Part retirement gift, part legitimate for passing the Phillies, who everyone on the planet except me is picking to win the East.

So that’s that. As Johnny liked to say in the World Series threads last fall: MARK IT DOWN!!

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts continues to cry poor

Tom Ricketts
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
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MLB owners and the MLB Players Association continue to hash out details, some in public, about a 2020 baseball season. The owners have been suggesting a shorter season, claiming that they lose money on every game played without fans in attendance. The union wants a longer season, since players are — as per the March agreement — being paid a prorated salary. Players thus make more money over the 114 games the MLBPA suggested than the 50 or so the owners want.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has been among the more vocal owners in recent weeks, claiming that the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing shutdown of MLB has greatly hurt MLB owners’ business. Speaking to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Ricketts claimed, “The scale of losses across the league is biblical.”

Ricketts said, “Here’s something I hope baseball fans understand. Most baseball owners don’t take money out of their team. They raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend.” Ricketts continued, “The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it’s all sitting in a pile we’ve collected over the years. Well, it isn’t. Because no one anticipated a pandemic. No one expects to have to draw down on the reserves from the past. Every team has to figure out a way to plug the hole.”

Pertaining to Ricketts’ claim that “the league itself does not make a lot of cash,” Forbes reported in December that, for the 17th consecutive season, MLB set a new revenue record, this time at $10.7 billion. In accounting, revenues are calculated before factoring in expenses, but unless the league has $10 billion in expenses, I cannot think of a way in which Ricketts’ statement can be true.

MLB owners notably don’t open their accounting books to the public. Because the owners were crying poor during negotiations, the MLBPA asked them to provide proof of financial distress. The owners haven’t provided those documents. Thus, unless Ricketts opens his books, his claim can be proven neither true nor false, and should be taken with the largest of salt grains. If owners really are hurting as badly as they say they are, they should be more than willing to prove it. That they don’t readily provide that proof suggests they are being misleading.

It’s worth noting that the Ricketts family has a history of not being forthcoming about their money. Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts got into hot water last year after it was found he had used inaccurate information when paying property taxes. In 2007, he bought two properties and demolished both, building a new, state-of-the-art house. For years, Ricketts used information pertaining to the older, demolished property rather than the current property, which drastically lowered his property taxes. Based on the adjustment, Ricketts’ property taxes increased from $828,000 to $1.96 million for 2019, according to The Chicago Tribune. Ricketts also had to pay back taxes for the previous three years.

At any rate, the owners want to pass off the financial risk of doing business onto their labor force. As we have noted here countless times, there is inherent risk in doing business. Owning a Major League Baseball team has, for decades, been nearly risk-free, which has benefited both the owners and, to a lesser extent, its workforce. The pandemic has thrown a wrench into everybody’s plans, but the financial losses these last three months are part of the risk. Furthermore, when teams have done much better business than expected, the owners haven’t benevolently spread that wealth out to their players, so why should the players forfeit even more of their pay than they already are when times are tough?