Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Theater of the absurd: The insanity with MLB and DC

{body} {extended}
Maury Brown Posted: December 21, 2005 at 06:27 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, nationals

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jefferson Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:05 PM (#1788508)
Fire up the popcorn machine. This will continue to be a fun show until the first game in the National's next ballpark, whenever that is and in whatever city it ends up in.

I disagree slightly with Boswell about the prospects of folding the Nationals. Folding two franchises might cost MLB some money in the short term, but it will create a nice expansion opportunity in a few years. The expansion fees would likely be larger than the $450M sale price of the Nats.

Also, if I were Selig, and I wanted to have more leverage in the future, it might not hurt to make an example of D.C., provided he can do it without incurring the wrath of Congress. That would be difficult, but the D.C. City Council isn't coming off as an innocent party here.
   2. Anonymous Observer Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:16 PM (#1788545)
...provided he can do it without incurring the wrath of Congress.

If the Nationals are contracted or moved, would that get baseball's anti-trust exemption revoked?

AO
   3. Joey B. Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:19 PM (#1788557)
It speaks volumes about the District that a degenerate like Marion Barry still appears to be the most powerful man in the city. His antics are putting DC in a far worse position than it would have been in if the council had just told baseball to piss off in the first place.

I know that he thinks he's smart, but he's dealing with guys that have more brains in their pinky than he has in his crack-addled skull. The city is going to get sued, and it'll take a miracle for them not to lose with the way baseball covered themselves in that agreement, because they knew they were dealing with people that can't be trusted. And the city has already spent a not insignificant amount of money trying to secure all that land. It's laughable just how stupid these people are.
   4. DCA Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1788585)
the D.C. City Council isn't coming off as an innocent party here.

And I don't believe Congress thinks too highly of the City Council.
   5. DCA Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1788606)
It speaks volumes about the District that a degenerate like Marion Barry still appears to be the most powerful man in the city. His antics are putting DC in a far worse position than it would have been in if the council had just told baseball to piss off in the first place.

I don't think so anymore. And furthermore he's not nearly as dumb as the ousted councilmembers who put together the stadium agreement in the first place. Not only was the original get-raped-by-MLB agreement a bad deal they clearly betrayed their constitutents by approving it (as lame ducks) and got voted out of office largely as a result. IMO they are first in line for any blame should things not work out well. Remember, Barry had nothing to do with the stadium deal. Absolutely nothing, unless it was done merely to spite him.
   6. Joey B. Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1788627)
IMO they are first in line for any blame should things not work out well. Remember, Barry had nothing to do with the stadium deal. Absolutely nothing, unless it was done merely to spite him.

True. Really the guy who deserves most of the blame here is Tony Williams, who was desperate to bring baseball back to the District and made promises before making sure he could deliver. And even a year ago, to say that the council was lukewarm about the agreement would be an understatement. Under the circumstances, they never should have agreed to it.

Still, what exactly is Barry planning on telling the judge/arbitrator when the city gets sued: "I run this city, and I wasn't there when the agreement was signed, therefore it's null and void"? I suppose there's a tiny chance that ridiculous argument might work, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to bet my life savings on it. The agreement was duly signed and approved, however reluctantly.
   7. Sam M. Posted: December 21, 2005 at 07:58 PM (#1788670)
Blame Marion Barry all you like. Blame Tony Williams, or the old Council or the new one. IMHO, it all comes down to this, really:

Asked to comment, Ledecky said: "I have not negotiated anything with anybody regarding the stadium lease agreement. That is not the role of a prospective owner."

Having these negotiations handled by MLB -- which (unlike those who will own the team) has no interest in the long-term relationship with the politically powerful in D.C. -- is preposterous. Ledecky may be right that it's not the role of a "prospective owner," but it sure should be the role of the actual owner, and all other problems/causes pale before the core problem, which is that MLB remains the actual owner LONG after the team should have been sold.
   8. Kyle S Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1788682)
Do any of you know what the district would lose in terms of damages should it go back on its word? Sure, it hurts to get stuck with a huge fine, but if they can get out of the current agreement and earn the right to renegotiate by doing so, doesn't it make sense?

The amount of money the district spent on land already is funny, but the land itself isn't completely worthless (unless they idiotically decide to put the stadium next to RFK). I doubt that anyone in DC is smart enough to total up what the worst-case arbitration result is. Say it's $100 million. They'll probably end up paying less in the long run if they can renegotiate the deal and pay a $100 million fine than by continuing as-is and absorbing all cost overruns themselves.

God, the deal DC made was so stupid. I'm happy to pay taxes to Richmond even if it takes me 45 minutes to get to work.

(By the way - how can MLB enforce any arbitration ruling it wins against the DC Government? Can't they refuse to pay because, well, they're the government and who's going to make them?)
   9. Grunthos Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:03 PM (#1788685)
It is, unfortunately, too much to expect that the DC Council will add up the costs to the city of:
1. Going to arbitration and arguing the case.
2. Losing.
3. Footing the bill for all the extra project costs that will be incurred by a six month delay.
4. Losing the (admittedly minor) concessions that MLB has made in the last month.
5. Plus reputational costs.
... and make a rational assessment of those total costs vs. the cost of accepting the deal now vs. the cost to buy MLB out of the deal and walk away tomorrow. I think if they did crunch the numbers, they would find that building the stadium (given the existence of the binding agreement made last year) is now actually their most cost-effective option. Even with the project costs running into the $750MM range.

Instead, as Marion Barry has already demonstrated, there will be bluster, posturing, ham-handed backdoor dealing... and in the end, the city will lose even more money because of it.
   10. Maury Brown Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:04 PM (#1788691)
Williams would have been better served selling this deal and minding the store than flying around the world while the situation languished. Same can be said of Tuohey who has too many irons in the fire. He should have pulled back from the DCSEC or took a hiatus from his firm to focus on the lease agreement.

The fact that we're all sitting here at the 11th hour (again) places the blame on those doing the deal within the District. You can't blame MLB for being MLB.
   11. Grunthos Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:07 PM (#1788696)
They'll probably end up paying less in the long run if they renegotiate

I'm not sure this is true. It puts too much faith in the Council doing an intelligent job the second time around. I don't think they can do an intelligent negotiating job, even if you gave them five practice runs and a mulligan.
   12. Sam M. Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1788745)
The fact that we're all sitting here at the 11th hour (again) places the blame on those doing the deal within the District. You can't blame MLB for being MLB.

Why the heck not, Maury? As one of the articles indicates, MLB knew exactly what they were getting in moving to D.C. Along with the great market and affluent population, they were getting a chaotic and volatile political situation. If we can't blame MLB for being MLB, why should we blame D.C. politicians for being D.C. politicians?
   13. Steve Treder Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1788763)
If we can't blame MLB for being MLB, why should we blame D.C. politicians for being D.C. politicians?

Bingo. Everyone deserves blame, for going into a troubling situation half-cocked, and especially for demonstrating utterly no concern for the general welfare of the braoder population of citizens and taxpayers of Washington DC.

MLB is a slimy operation, and deserves blame for being that way. Washington DC's politicians have long been The Keystone Kops, and they deserve blame for being that way. Both entities deserve blame for being so eager to enter into business with one another.
   14. Maury Brown Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1788770)
Well then Sam, I should say that you can blame MLB for going forward with conditional award. That was decision that created certainly a good dose of the volatility going on now.

That comes part and parcel with DC politics, however.
   15. Anonymous Observer Posted: December 21, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1788810)
...provided he can do it without incurring the wrath of Congress.

If the Nationals are contracted or moved, would that get baseball's anti-trust exemption revoked?


Anybody?

AO
   16. Maury Brown Posted: December 21, 2005 at 09:00 PM (#1788817)
If the Nationals are contracted or moved, would that get baseball's anti-trust exemption revoked?

There is nothing that specified that would remove anti-trust exemption by default. Would it raise the ire of many on the Hill over the state of anti-trust exemption for MLB? I would think so.
   17. Joey B. Posted: December 21, 2005 at 09:19 PM (#1788855)
Oh, I almost forgot that this situation become even MORE absurd when you consider that there's a chance Barry might not even be free to take part in the arbitration!

Those of you living outside the D.C. area who might think that the crackhead's life of crime is now way behind him and that he's a fine, upstanding citizen, you might not be aware that in about four weeks the crackhead faces sentencing for failing to pay his taxes from 1999-2004 (both Federal and District taxes).

That's right folks, the most powerful local official in Washington D.C. is facing the possibility of $30,000 in fines and another 18 month stint in prison. Go ahead, don't be afraid to let out a big, fat belly laugh, because it's fully justified.
   18. Grunthos Posted: December 21, 2005 at 10:19 PM (#1788977)
<u>Marion Barry </u> Posted: December 21, 2005 at 04:20 PM (#1788888)

Bud set me up!
   19. DCA Posted: December 21, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1789025)
That's right folks, the most powerful local official in Washington D.C. is facing the possibility of $30,000 in fines and another 18 month stint in prison.

Barry's not the most powerful local official in DC any longer. I'd put him no higher than 5th, probably in the 10-20 range. And he's not the only one awaiting sentencing for various offenses. Joey, you constantly paint Barry as *the* problem. Whereas in truth he's no worse than a good many other local pols, including quite a few with major clout. And he's far better than most of the congressional leadership of both parties. In other words, if Barry went away, and all of his friends, I doubt the city would be any cleaner, even a little bit, which is what you seem to imply by constantly singling him out.
   20. Chris Needham Posted: December 22, 2005 at 01:52 AM (#1789308)
I read the Barry thing as him taking credit for something that'd happened. I used the analogy of the #### taking credit for calling the sun to rise each day.

Barry HAS to know that MLB isn't going to accept Ledecky under his terms. They haven't named an owner yet because they want to do it on their schedule. Stories like this make it look like he's this influential power broker; he can claim that he had a deal in place that would save baseball in DC, even though he knows damn well that the deal would never be accepted. When negotiations broke down, he can now trumpet his power and influence, as if he had much to do with it.

There were reports earlier this week that two of the council members were waiting for confirmation from the Feds that they'd chip in for the Metro improvements (The Dept of Transportation is moving their HQ to the same station). It's quite possible that they're angling to get this, as well as a few other concessions along these lines. Barry's support isn't essential, because he's always been considered a No vote anyway. But there are a few swing voters who could be courted without resorting to Mayor Barry's bag o' tricks.
   21. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: December 22, 2005 at 01:27 PM (#1789911)
Folding two franchises might cost MLB some money in the short term, but it will create a nice expansion opportunity in a few years. The expansion fees would likely be larger than the $450M sale price of the Nats.

Right. And not only that, but revenue that currently gets cut into 30 pieces would get cut into 28 pieces instead. I have no idea off the top of my head how much revenue that is, but it's got to be be a pretty substantial difference.
   22. greenback calls it soccer Posted: December 22, 2005 at 11:56 PM (#1790937)
And not only that, but revenue that currently gets cut into 30 pieces would get cut into 28 pieces instead.

If you sell the Nats, you sell that revenue. Getting cash is a good thing. If you buy out another owner for contraction, then that buyout is going to cost you his share of that revenue, among other things. Losing cash is a bad thing.

I still don't see why expansion fees would exceed $450 million. Is somebody in Portland going to pay $500 million for a baseball team?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
TedBerg
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogDodgers Acquire Joel Peralta – MLB Trade Rumors
(19 - 1:41pm, Nov 21)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogOTP Politics November 2014: Mets Deny Bias in Ticket Official’s Firing
(3982 - 1:38pm, Nov 21)
Last: The Id of SugarBear Blanks

NewsblogPablo Sandoval’s Brother: Red Sox Showed ‘First Class’ Attentiveness | Boston Red Sox | NESN.com
(2 - 1:34pm, Nov 21)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogSwitch-pitcher Pat Venditte is ready to take a major step. | SportsonEarth.com : Howard Megdal Article
(28 - 1:26pm, Nov 21)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-21-2014
(18 - 1:14pm, Nov 21)
Last: zack

NewsblogFemale Sportswriter Asks: 'Why Are All My Twitter Followers Men?' | ThinkProgress
(59 - 1:12pm, Nov 21)
Last: Ron J2

NewsblogRunning list of 2014 40-man roster additions | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball
(28 - 1:05pm, Nov 21)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - November 2014
(912 - 12:48pm, Nov 21)
Last: andrewberg

NewsblogRanking the top 25 prospects from the Arizona Fall League | MLB.com
(13 - 12:47pm, Nov 21)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogMLB to tweak replay system, but managers’ challenges will stay | New York Post
(6 - 12:41pm, Nov 21)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogMLB Transaction Trees «
(20 - 12:22pm, Nov 21)
Last: boteman

NewsblogReds at least considering trading big names, reducing payroll | FOX Sports
(5 - 12:10pm, Nov 21)
Last: Ziggy

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(1134 - 11:47am, Nov 21)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogOT:  Soccer (the Round, True Football), November 2014
(359 - 11:05am, Nov 21)
Last: frannyzoo

NewsblogThe family legal fight over Ryan Howard's finances
(58 - 10:15am, Nov 21)
Last: Howie Menckel

Page rendered in 0.3534 seconds
53 querie(s) executed