Looking back at previous league takeovers

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This business with the Dodgers isn’t the first time Major League Baseball as taken over a team.  You all remember the Rangers’ thing last year. That wasn’t total control, of course, but it was something. More significant, however, were when the Expos in 2002 and the 1936 Boston Bees.

The Boston Bees? Yep. Or as they were known before and after that, the Braves.  Today The Common Man details that sordid little bit of baseball history over at The Platoon Advantage.  Go learn something, whydontcha?

And if you are too painfully young to remember 2002, go over to FanGraphs to read Jonah Keri’s take on the damn nigh tragic takeover of the Montreal Expos.

I have this feeling the Dodgers thing won’t be as painful as all of that. They’re worth a lot of money, have a great ballpark and there are no doubt lots of people who would love to step in and take over once the instant messiness with Frank McCourt is straightened out.

But until that happens, let us learn from history a bit.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?