And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 6, Cardinals 5:  Pedro Ciriaco — not Pedro Ceranno — hit an RBI double as part of a late rally to lift Pittsburgh over St. Louis. The late-inning losses for the Cardinals this year have been legion. This one coming on a night when the Braves lost was particularly ill-timed.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: Atlanta continues to sputter, but I suppose if the Cards keep pace with them it’s no harm, no foul. Mike Stanton came in as a pinch hitter in the 12th to drive in the winning run. Atlanta has lost 9 of 12.

Rays 5, Orioles 2: The Rays keep the heat on, winning on a night when Boston was idle to pull within three games in the wild card race. B.J. Upton doubled twice and walked twice and has now reached base nine straight times.

Tigers 14, White Sox 4: Juggernaut. Ten straight wins for Detroit. Their nine game winning streak as of Sunday was the longest they had had since 1984. Now that it’s ten, it’s the longest since 1968. And you know what happened in those years, don’t you Tigers fans?

Cubs 12, Reds 8: Starlin Castro scored four times and drove in three. He has a 13-game hitting streak now.

Athletics 6, Angels 3: The Rangers have owned Oakland. Against the Angels, however, the Athletics are playing spoiler. Josh Willingham drove in four.

Yankees 9, Mariners 3: What happened to Felix Hernandez last night? That’s the wrong question to ask, at least if you’re Nick Swisher: “I think we’ve got a great team. The credit goes to us, man.”  I guess so. But King Felix had owned the Yankees prior to last night when the knocked him around somethin’ fierce.

Giants 8, Padres 3: Eleven runs scored in a Giants-Padres game? It’s like they, I dunno, switched to the metric system or something.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2: The Dbacks don’t let up, winning their 17th of 20.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: Stephen Lombardozzi was 0 for his first 15 since his callup, but he drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single in the seventh.  Jayson Werth had three hits.

Astros 5, Phillies 1: Roy Oswalt doesn’t fare well against his old mates. Well, his old jerseys. Most of his old mates are gone I would imagine. Houston beats Oswalt up for five runs on 11 hits in seven innings. Brett Myers — against his old mates — scattered six hits over eight innings, allowing a lone run.

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?