And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

43 Comments

Orioles 12, Blue Jays 2: Bombs away. Chris Davis and Manny Machado each had two homers and the O’s hit seven in all, keeping pace with the Yankees, who maintain their one and a half game lead.

Yankees 8, Twins 2: CC Sabathia looks to be back on his game, and that will be huge for the Yankees in the playoffs. The big guy struck out ten over eight innings.

Tigers 5, Royals 4: Andy Dirks broke up what would have been an inning-ending double play in the eighth inning which allowed Don Kelly to score. Little things can make all the difference between winning the division and sitting at home in October.

Nationals 8, Phillies 4: Bryce Harper became only the second teenager to hit 20 homers in a season. Tony Conigliaro was the other. Ryan Howard got booed. Jayson Werth got booed. Lotta booing in Philly last night.

Astros 2, Cardinals 0: Norris. Bud Norris. He gave up two hits over seven and a third.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: Matt Kemp was 4 for 5 with four driven in. Too little too late, of course.

Mets 6, Pirates 0: Jeremy Hefner shuts out the Pirates for seven innings and Ruben Tejada has four hits, eliminating Pittsburgh from playoff contention. Nice run for a while Buccos. But:

Brewers 8, Reds 1: Ryan Braun hot a homer — he leads the National League — keeping the Brewers on life support for another day. Cincinnati falls a game back of Washington for the best record in the NL and home field advantage in the NLCS, should they make it there.

Braves 3, Marlins 0: Martin Prado homered and drove in another run with a single. Dan Uggla stole home (what?) and Paul Maholm was sharp. The Marlins, of course, have given up, so whatever.

Rays 4, Reds Sox 2: Know what? The White Sox have to play four games against the hot-and-spoiling-to-spoil Rays this weekend. That seems like it bodes poorly.

Athletics 9, Rangers 3: Oakland jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Rangers even got to bat and Martin Perez couldn’t even make it out of the inning.

Indians 6, White Sox 4: And the Sox fall out of first place for the first time since July 23. They had a 3-1 lead after the first, but Hector Santiago couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 0: Matt Cain shut ’em out for seven innings and worked out of a couple of jams. He hasn’t lost in nine starts.

Rockies 6, Cubs 0: Drew Pomeranz shut looked sharp and the Rockies won their third in a row.

Angels 4, Mariners 3: L.A. just has to keep winning and hope that the Rangers take care of the A’s over the next week.  The Angels did their part at least, and remain two back in the wild card. Torii Hunter tied it with an RBI single in the seventh and won it with a walkoff RBI single in the ninth.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts continues to cry poor

Tom Ricketts
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
10 Comments

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?