Shades of Hairspray!...“It was a time of tradition, a time of values, and a time…to shake things up.”
For a journalist, chance encounters at a restaurant or a hair salon can become a major opportunity for advancing a story and in some instances the journalist is in the right place at the right time because he was with his wife. I had a very chance encounter with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Saturday afternoon in lower Manhattan because my wife happened to have an appointment at a hair salon and the Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor needed a trim. That lead to a nice chat as I said to the Justice Sotomayor, the last time we were together in this neighborhood was in the early spring 1995 not far from the hair salon when she “saved” baseball. And I never did get a chance to talk to you afterwards about your decision.
There was a break the ice laugh and then she said she was going to be part of a reenactment of the Curt Flood Supreme Court case in Washington on Thursday (May 23) and I should go.
...On Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor will play a role in the Curt Flood trial reenactment. She isn’t saying who she is playing. The result will not change. Curt Flood will lose, Arthur Goldberg will still present a bad oral argument and that is forever frozen in history. But Judge Sotomayor does plan to remind the participants she is a Yankees fan. She roots for the uniform not necessary the players.
She has a central part in baseball labor history. But she cannot change the Flood decision of 1972. It doesn’t matter much now to today’s players. The game that the 1922 Supreme Court described, which never was as baseball was an interstate business in 1922 despite what the Court ruled, is long gone. But on Thursday, at least for a select number of people, the Flood case will come alive for a brief few moments.
Hal Steinbrenner spoke at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. He disagreed with the assessment that tickets are overpriced in the Bronx. This is different point of view than what I generally hear from fans. This is what Hal had to say about ticket prices being too high:
“You hear about that in the media,” Steinbrenner said. “You don’t hear that there are thousands and thousands of affordable seats in the $25 range for every game, not to mention the specials that we do, that we used to do at the old stadium. We have done every year. It is nothing new. We want to make sure that everyone that comes out here to see a Yankee game can get here and see one. There are plenty opportunities.”
Fans are going to ballpark less this year. Prior to Saturday, through the first 23 home dates, the attendance was down nearly four grand a game on average—from 41,115 in 2012 compared to 37,461 thus far in ‘13.
The Cubs, from the moment they acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo 16 months ago, viewed him as a significant part of their future.
Now, they can guarantee it long-term.
The Cubs have reached agreement with Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million contract through 2019, according to major-league sources. The deal also includes two $14.5 million club options, sources said.
Thus, the total value over nine years could be $68 million; Rizzo would not receive a $2 million buyout if both options are exercised. Escalators could further increase the size of the package to $73 million, sources said.
Rizzo, who has just over a year of major-league service, is earning $498,000 this season. His new deal will include an immediate increase for 2013 while covering all four of his arbitration years — Rizzo was on track for Super Two status — and his first free-agent year.
Maury adds…“And when I’m talking “plunge” I’m not talking Loria’s neckline.”
As of today, the decline would be 31 percent below what the club ended with last season. But, they are currently averaging 18,864. As of May 5 of last season, they were averaging 30,681, down 11,817 from the previous year, or a decline of 39 percent.
So, it’s very possible the Marlins could end worse than the Rays. It’s early, and anything could happen, but odds are good the Marlins aren’t going to get any better in the standings and Loria certainly didn’t make any extra friends in the offseason.
Below shows every new ballpark built under the Selig tenure. It shows the average attendance prior to the new ballpark opening in the old ballpark; average attendance in the first year of the new ballpark; the winning percentage in the first year of the ballpark; average attendance in the second year of the new ballpark, and finally; the percentage of increase or decrease from the opening year in the new ballpark. As of now, the Marlins are averaging just 92 more per game than their last year in Sun Life Stadium that they shared with the Miami Dolphins, was never designed for baseball, and had no roof.
The thought goes like this: When a network pays huge money for a sports team’s TV rights, it hikes its carriage fee for cable providers. The best regional sports networks (RSNs) cost upward of $3 a month for cable and satellite providers to provide to each household. With monthly TV bills already exorbitant and more options to provide entertainment, from Netflix to Hulu and beyond, consumers could rebel against the single-payment system and choose what they view a la carte. One executive who has negotiated TV deals worries that the sport will find itself embroiled in litigation and needing an entirely new method of distribution to cater to the on-demand generation.
“It’s not just local. It’s national,” the executive said. “The amount of rights being paid are getting passed to consumers. I’m worried there is going to be a bubble. It seems like there’s a lot of money going out. We don’t want to be dependent on the bulk of our revenue coming through local rights-fee deals.”
...Because as long as the current model works – and we’re too early into the post-rights-fee explosion to judge whether it can succeed across smaller platforms as it has for the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox – it will be copied, plagiarized and Ctrl-C’d across the landscape. Already the …
1. Philadelphia Phillies are whetting their appetite over what could be when their deal with Comcast expires at the end of 2015. It’s easy to see why.
Comcast is a Philadelphia-based company. It does not want to lose the rights of the team that from 2009-11 ranked among the three highest local baseball broadcasts. Problem is, Fox Sports, which has scooped up local rights to about half of baseball, wants to further its grip on the sport in anticipation of Fox Sports 1, the all-day sports channel expected to launch in August.
“And they want Philadelphia,” one source with knowledge of Fox’s plans said. “They got the Yankees [by buying a share of the YES Network], which helps. They’re not going to have the Red Sox. They’re not going to have the Mets. They want another East Coast team.”
The main problem is not the rooftop owners, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s great to have fans watching games from the rooftops across the street—a historic practice to which the Cubs have never objected—but outrageous that rooftop owners veto improvements to Wrigley on the basis of projected “lost revenues.” These “revenues” must be understood for what they are: a theft of the Cubs’ product, to not one dime of which are the rooftop owners entitled.
Nevertheless, it will be a blunder for the Cubs to block the views of the ballpark to or from the rooftops. Annex buildings and game-day street fairs may prove legitimate improvements to both Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, but an outfield Jumbotron video board will not. Virtually every other MLB stadium has one, but Wrigley is unique in how the immediate cityscape is part of the ballpark experience. The Cubs will be making a mistake if, from their desire for increased revenues, and their squabbles with the fans outside Wrigley Field looking in, they sacrifice the pleasures of fans on the inside looking out.
When a stadium has a Jumbotron, the game becomes secondary and fans in the park start watching the screen rather than the game—which is why large video boards are a dependable source of advertising revenue. If the Cubs want to preserve Wrigley’s historic character in tandem with their construction efforts on Clark Street and their desire to extend their game-day domain to Waveland and Sheffield avenues, they might discreetly place multiple video boards outside Wrigley so fans in adjacent streets can watch the game. This could be a ballpark and neighborhood addition worthy of the baseball, entrepreneurial and larger ballpark culture–preserving ambitions of the Ricketts family and the Epstein regime, and would demonstrate that they understand the value of their assets.
The ability to pay to get out of some sort of drudgery of everyday life or, alternatively, to get a taste of the good life. Front-of-the-line-passes. Elite status everything. It’s, in most respects, a logical extension of a capitalist system — if people want something, someone will provide it at some cost — but it also comes at another cost, and that of a shared civic experience.
Maury adds…“As poet laureate Steve Perry said, “The party is over. I have gone away.”
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes to have their predictions come true. That’s certainly the case here. While each year writers look to predict the final outcome of MLB’s regular season, I’ve tried to look at attendance trends to see what may occur during the season.
The Red Sox were one of those cases. After missing the playoffs in the last day of the 2011 season, the whole “chicken and beer” fiasco, the firing of Terry Francona, the gaffe and ensuing train wreck of hiring Bobby Valentine as Francona’s replacement, the sheen of the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins for Boston have worn off. Throw in a rebuilding phase, and it was time for the Fenway Park sellout streak to come to an end.
The question, really, was when? It seemed certain to be this season, but when in the season was what we all wondered.
I guess I’ll go I’ll take a bath
there’s nothing else to do.”
The ranks of Major League Baseball owners include some of the richest men—and they are almost exclusively white males—in the country, as likely to open their wallets for a super-PAC as they are a top-shelf free agent. Viewed in the context of the competition, with its anti-discrimination settlements and SEC investigations, the Yankees are, like their Opening Day roster, fairly pedestrian.
So where does your team’s ownership rank? We took a stab at it, analyzing each franchise by its level of political activity (based on campaign donations and office-seeking) and relative degree of evil—copyrighted or not. Read below the matrix for the full breakdown.
Kansas City Royals: In 1992, when he was still president and CEO of Walmart, David Glass was confronted by NBC’s Dateline with evidence of child labor at a T-shirt factory in Bangladesh. His response: “You and I might, perhaps, define children differently.” As Glass explained, looks can be deceiving—Asians are short. Then he ended the interview. Meanwhile, as the Royals’ owner he’s pocketed profits without making any discernible investment in the on-field product. He also once revoked press credentials of reporters who asked critical questions.
Colorado Rockies: From the family that brought you factory farms and coked-up cattle! Charlie and Dick Monfort helped run the eponymous Big Ag empire until 1987. That’s when family patriarch Kenneth Monfort sold out to ConAgra, and the Monfort boys became ConAgra execs. Kenneth made his fortune by busting the union that served his workforce and replacing union workers with immigrant laborers—many of them undocumented. (At one point, the company’s annual employee turnover rate hit 400 percent.) Also represented in the Rockies’ ownership group is former GOP senate candidate Pete Coors, purveyor of super cold beer and brother to Joe Coors Jr., who once predicted that Armageddon would arrive in 2000.
San Francisco Giants: Charles B. Johnson, a mutual-funds baron and the 211th-richest person in the world according to Forbes, spent some $200,000 to try to defeat California’s Proposition 30, the sales and income tax increase that included elements of the state’s millionaire’s tax initiative. (Prop. 30 passed in November.) Other political expenditures: $50,000 for Prop. 32, which would have kept unions and corporations from using automatic payroll deductions to bankroll political activity, and $200,000 for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.
In baseball, there is always one other long-term prediction, namely that baseball is dying. The non-baseball experts have been bleating this for years, because, they say, baseball is too slow and doesn’t appeal to young people. Of course, the young people it wasn’t supposed to appeal to when baseball first allegedly started dying are now old people buying tickets and taking young people to games, but so it goes.
In fact, yes, baseball is too slow for its own good — please, make the pitcher pitch! — and yes, baseball lacks the appealing lyric brutality of football, but its very deliberate, cerebral nature quite fascinates a significant enough population. All the back-and-forth games — football, soccer, basketball, hockey and so forth — are quick studies. Baseball takes more work to appreciate. And all right, yes, the sappy father-and-son baseball poetry has been beaten to death. Still, baseball is more family-style. Hey, it’s the good old summertime. It’s every day, not life-and-death. Baseball’s simply more comfortable than other sports, and for a lot of people, that ain’t so bad.
The larger point, I believe, is that by now all our popular team games are so deeply ingrained in our culture that they’re here to stay for as far as the eye can see. Look at hockey. No matter how many times the owners call off the season, hockey fans come crawling back on their knees, smiles on their faces, more loyal than ever.
No, of course baseball isn’t the national pastime anymore. King football is supersize national. It gets the gaudy weekly network television ratings, while baseball only gets the daily drippings of the various home-team channels, spread all around. Thus, while certainly nobody would ever call football any kind of a pastime, baseball is still the local pastime. So? Forbes magazine calculates that the average value of a major league team has increased substantially, to three-quarters of a billion dollars. That’s not dead money.
.... but were too poor to ask. (Hint: try to be a Rockies fan who loves going to midweek games against the Mariners in May or September.)
The first pitches have been thrown, and Rick Ankiel is on pace to hit 162 home runs this season. Time to buy some baseball tickets. To help you out, we’ve analyzed ticket prices for every regular season Major League Baseball game in 2012, using data from SeatGeek, which tracks prices on secondary markets like StubHub. The SeatGeek data provides a more realistic view of what tickets are really worth, not just what teams originally sell them for.
Average ticket prices last season ranged from $8.55 (for an early season game between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians) to $222.58 (a New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game commemorating Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary). The median price for all games was $39.96. Ticket prices are highest for the first games of the season, but they peaked again around June 11.
Using guidelines set by nonprofit watchdogs Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Outside the Lines” found that 74 percent of the nonprofits fell short of one or more acceptable nonprofit operating standards. The standards cover all sorts of aspects, such as how much money a nonprofit actually spends on charitable work as opposed to administrative expenses and whether there are enough board members overseeing the organization.
Among the “Outside the Lines” findings:
• Many athlete charities fail the effectiveness test for a variety of reasons, ranging from the deceptive and unethical—if not illegal—to the simply neglectful and ignorant. Some athletes set up foundations as tax-planning vehicles. Others dispute the nonprofit standards overall, saying as long as they spend at least some money on actual charity they should not be criticized.
• In many cases, OTL had a hard time measuring a charity’s actual effectiveness because it was behind on filing its IRS tax returns or the returns were filled with errors and omissions. Problems can go unnoticed for years as the main agencies that oversee charities—the Internal Revenue Service and states’ attorney general offices—don’t audit every return.
• Even though the athlete charities often are named in honor of wealthy sports icons, only about a third of them had total assets of $500,000 or more. Multimillion-dollar charities that actually run programs, such as those founded by Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Andre Agassi and Richard and Kyle Petty, are rare. ...
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez—who signed a record-breaking $275 million contract in 2007—also had two foundations. Much like [Randy] Moss’ charities, both seem to have fizzled. It’s hard to tell exactly what happened because neither foundation has filed a tax return since 2006, prompting the IRS in 2011 to revoke their tax-exempt statuses.
One of the foundations reported earning $368,000 from a fundraiser in 2006. It gave $5,000 to a scholarship fund and $90 to a Miami-area Little League. That year, it had about $300,000 left after myriad expenses, and it’s unclear where that money went, even though the IRS has specific rules about what is supposed to happen to funds leftover in a foundation that decides to shut down.
The ballplayer’s website lists a number of donations, totaling in the millions, that Rodriguez has made directly to other nonprofits, including the University of Miami, and a partnership he has with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade County. But it doesn’t say what happened to either of the foundations started in his name. Multiple calls to Rodriguez’s business manager and agent were not returned.
Meanwhile, baseball’s ratings continue to plummet, irrespective of month or matchup. Those record-low Series of the last seven years featured the game’s biggest attractions, from the moneyed villains of Boston and New York to storied franchises like St. Louis and San Francisco. None stanched the bleeding.
Regular-season games have declined equally. FOX’s Saturday audience has gone down an average of 800,000 since 2001. Sunday-night ESPN telecasts have shriveled by a million viewers in just the past six years.
In any other industry, such staggering drops would raise alarms of a rotting ship. One might presume that TV execs are screening Selig’s calls. But the exact opposite is happening.
ESPN, FOX and Turner recently struck deals that double their annual payments to MLB. The Los Angeles Dodgers will soon ink a 25-year pact for local rights that’s worth an estimated $7 or $8 billion.
If it all seems incongruent, born of the same economics that brought you bank bailouts and the housing crisis, that’s because it is. Baseball, you see, is expecting you to pick up the tab.
In its report, Forbes, which has been tracking the league’s finances since 1998, revealed that the money that all teams made from the $450 million sale of the Montreal Expos in 2006 was invested in hedge funds are now worth more than $1 billion.
“The value of a team used to be about a team itself,” Forbes executive editor Michael Ozanian said in a phone interview with ESPN.com. “Then it shifted to the stadium value and then to the television deals and now it’s more about what’s not on the field at all.”
Each team also owns an equal share in MLB Advanced Media, which among other things, has generated massive revenue from its gameday video and audio app MLB At Bat, which has been the highest grossing sports app in the Apple store on the iPhone and iPad for four consecutive years. MLB Advanced Media generates more than $600 million in revenue and Forbes conservatively values the subsidiary at $6 billion.
Combine those investments with the $12.4 billion in national television revenue the clubs will receive thanks to new deals with Fox, Turner and ESPN, that run through the 2021 season, and it’s easy to see why it’s a great time to be a Major League Baseball owner.
The New York Yankees are the most valuable team for the 16th straight year. Forbes tabs the team’s value at $2.3 billion, surpassing the Dallas Cowboys($2.1 billion) for the title of the most valuable franchise in North America. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the No. 2 spot at $1.5 billion.
Ozanian said that the $2.1 billion price that Guggenheim Partners paid for the team looks to be too steep since he believes at least $1 billion of the team’s new television deal, which has been announced by not yet submitted to Major League Baseball, will go towards revenue sharing.
Don’t have time to wade through…rather check Cheap Miami’s latest Whorish Boorish.
With no one saying no, the networks see sports as a no-lose racket, with ESPN as its piper. The sports channel charges cable companies $5 a month per customer, by far the highest monthly fee in national television. While that may seem a pittance, it’s big money when spread over the 100 million U.S. households with pay TV. And it’s made the other big boys envious.
NBC and CBS have launched their own sports channels. Another from Fox is on the way. Even regional sports channels are starting to broach that $5 mark. Their bet is that viewers will always be willing to pay more. And more. And more.
Economics on the ground say otherwise. Today, the average TV bill rests at $86 per month, about half of which pays for sports programming. That’s more than double a decade ago. So it’s no coincidence that the cable and satellite industries have been jettisoning customers for nine years straight.
The new round of deals promises to hasten these unpleasant trends. “I can’t tell you what will be the trigger,” says Matthew Polka, president of the American Cable Association. “But I am certain that at some point in the very near future, that balloon will burst.”
And when it does, baseball will take the brunt of the explosion.
The Yankees won a court order Tuesday temporarily preventing StubHub from opening a store near Yankee Stadium that is designed to allow customers to pick up their tickets before games.
The decision came days before StubHub was set to open the store on East 161st Street on Friday. The Yankees argued that the store was within 1,500 feet of the stadium, violating a New York State law that bans tickets from being resold that close to a venue.
Lizbeth Gonzalez, a judge in the State Supreme Court in the Bronx who issued the temporary restraining order, disagreed with StubHub’s claim that because they are a Web site, their storefront near the stadium was exempt from the law.
“They are setting up their own resale business and that would affect our direct sales,” said Jonathan Schiller, a lawyer representing the Yankees. “We’re not talking about Brooklyn or Broadway, we’re talking about across the street from Yankee Stadium.”
The two sides will meet in court Monday to argue the Yankees request for an injunction preventing StubHub from having a store that close to the stadium.
“Pooped on Fans’ Feelings” grab it fast or I’m naming my next spychedelic band!
First, the Marlins alienated every taxpayer in Miami with their stadium deal. Then they pissed off every casual fan with a mass offseason firesale. Now, the team is burning bridges with the only true-blue Fish fanatics left—their longtime seasons-ticket holders.
That’s how Jan and Bill Leon are feeling, at least. The couple has paid tens of thousands for front-row season tickets since 1998. But last year, after the team installed an obtrusive billboard that blocks their view and dangerously obscures ground balls, the Leons asked to move into a different section. Their reward? A lawsuit threat.
“They’ve pooped on fans’ feelings for years,” Jan Leon says. “These seats are not what we paid for.”
Jan and Bill Leon may well have seen more Miami baseball in person than Billy the Marlin. The couple are baseball fanatics—Bill used to coach elite teenage club teams—passionate enough about the game to sit through dozens of rain delays a summer at Sun Life Stadium. They attended every World Series game during the good years and plenty of sweaty 95-degree blowouts in the bad years.
“I’d go to 81 games a year if I could,” says Jan Leon, who estimates she actually makes at least 40.
So when the Marlins moved to their new home in Little Havana last year, the Leons—who own a real estate company—made what they thought was a verbal agreement with a sale rep: They’d buy a two-season package (for $25,000 a year) with the option of changing seats after the first year if they didn’t like them.
Buster Olney adds some info to the news we heard yesterday about the league and the union’s negotiations to institute and international draft:
Buster Olney ✔ @Buster_ESPN
Major League Baseball said by sources to be willing to give up significant concessions to union to make international draft happen.
Buster Olney ✔ @Buster_ESPN
In return for that international draft, union could get increased minimum salary, less service time required for arbitration, and more.
I still don’t get this. Teams simply don’t spend that much on international free agent signings. They do spend a lot in arbitration and all teams have lots of players making the minimum or thereabouts. It doesn’t seem like giving away things like that make financial sense when compared to the relative small dollars given to guys on the international market.
Meanwhile, the players have, historically, liked to see more guys subject to the draft and have always been willing to negotiate away the rights of others like this. So why do they need big giveaways like this? I know why they’d want them, but MLB can’t think they have to give away that much, can it?
As the Chicago Cubs’ quest for a fair stadium refinancing deal continues to drag on with the Wrigleyville community throwing up roadblocks to slow down the settlement process, a new and potentially viable option to Wrigley Field has emerged.
Rosemont mayor Brad Stephens told me this morning in a CSNChicago exclusive that he is willing to give the Cubs and the Ricketts family a 25-acre parcel of land in the village that is a prime piece of real estate large enough to accommodate a new ballpark as well as parking and anything else the Ricketts family would desire to have as a part of the new complex.
“The Chicago Cubs are being held hostage by the neighborhood as they look to run their business. We are willing to offer them a tremendous opportunity if they are interested. Bring the bricks and the ivy and we can get a deal done, ” Stephens told me this morning.
While this is highly unlikely, I for one encourage this type of press for the Cubs in their fight with the roof top owners. It’s a shame that there actually is a professional team that is trying to pay for their own stadium and is stuck fighting the city over it.
“Bet A Million” Wilpon: No comment until the time limit is up!
The 2013 season is Sandy Alderson’s final Mulligan.
This is the last year the Mets general manager gets to explain away a worsening major league product in the name of cleansing the old, building the new and waiting for money to drop from heaven — or at least from a Wilpon.
...Indeed, Alderson has followed the right course in trying to find cornerstones while shunning the patchwork route that undermined Minaya: Attempting to plug one roster flaw while holes arose everywhere.
It is possible an ownership fearful of further disenchanting the fans prevented Alderson from trading Jose Reyes and David Wright, too, to deepen the pool of young, high-end, inexpensive options. But when Alderson was hired he was viewed as having the tools — gravitas, maturity, fortitude — to successfully navigate ownership issues.
The other element expected with Alderson was ingenuity — that he was one of the smart guys in the room. He was a pioneer in bringing Moneyball philosophies to the majors while with the A’s. Thus, the belief was that while restocking the system, Alderson’s creativity would find pieces at the margins to a) help short-term competitiveness, and b) be part of a brighter future.
...Yet, though not responsible for all the heartache, Alderson cannot expect unlimited
tether to get this right. This feels like the last year his administration will be given a major league pass to expunge the bad, continue to sow the good.
Major League Baseball 2K13 is an offensively recycled product and an embarrassment to sports video games. In my five years as Kotaku’s sports writer, I’ve spent a good deal of time in comments defending the genre, and those who make its games, from the worn-out slur that annual sports titles are nothing but reskinned roster updates. Yet that is exactly what MLB 2K13 is, and its existence is forever an argumentative trump card to any advocacy I can make for sports…
Major League Baseball itself also deserves blame for MLB 2K13, and not just for buck-stops-here reasons because its name is on the box. Take-Two Interactive may have signed an outrageously priced contract back in 2005, but baseball had absolutely no long-term vision for the license either, despite clear signals sent years ago that it would have no dancing partner on the Xbox 360 under any normal deal in 2013. This game was announced, by surprise, in January, and is plainly the product of Major League Baseball reckoning with the embarrassment of missing a year on the Xbox 360 and the fact it had zero leverage in avoiding it.
Boodle, Boodle, Boodle…Megdal checks out the Legacy of Clean and other areas.
After all, the Mets’ rallying cry isn’t “Perhaps you should consider believing.” It’s “Ya gotta believe!” It’s mandatory. Reason doesn’t enter into it. Math has no meaning to those who still remain. A Mets fan doesn’t root for the Mets because it makes sense. A Mets fan roots for the Mets because of an otherworldly ability to dream that things will be better than they seem, regardless of realities financial or outfield.
And an I.B.O. joins Amway hoping to make money, despite critics who charge that nearly everyone who joins Amway loses money. Amway doesn’t present an alternative fact, but open the binder every new I.B.O. receives, one that was given to me, and written in five languages is a quote from co-founder Jay Van Andel: “You can’t predict the future, but you can follow your dreams.”
I exited the Amway storefront at Citi Field, an Amway business kit balanced between my arms in front of me, and began a walk up a largely deserted 126th Street toward my car. It felt strange to be at Citi Field on a blustery, windswept March day that owed more to February than April. As I neared the parking lot, a cheerful man in a tailored gray suit (but no coat, oddly) turned the corner, spotted my Amway material, and said cheerfully, “Congratulations!” emphasizing his smile with a thumbs-up while never breaking stride.
TAMPA, Fla.—The Yankees have made a “significant offer” to Robinson Cano, according to general manager Brian Cashman, who is hoping to lock the All-Star second baseman into a contract extension before he reaches free agency.
Cashman confirmed on Thursday that an offer has been presented to Cano and agent Scott Boras. There have been negotiations between the two sides in recent weeks, but Cashman declined to comment further on the state of the talks.
Count Michael Weiner among those skeptical of the New York Yankees’ stated plan to reduce payroll next year.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says the team wants to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. That means the player payroll would have to be about $178 million at most, using average annual values of contracts, since the total for the tax will include at least $11 million in benefits such as the pension plan.
“I can’t say it concerns me,” the players’ association head said Wednesday after meeting with Yankees players during his tour of the 30 spring training camps. “I imagine that Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
...“We knew when we negotiated the last Basic Agreement that there were certain incentives build in for the Yankees to drop their payroll,” Weiner said. “If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to do that, I’m not concerned because they’re dropping their payroll to put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year, and that incentive was understood.”