• Hank Stein Better Get His Checkbook Ready

    Posted by on March 1st, 2011 · Comments (16)

    If Bud hit his BFF John Henry for a half-mill, then ol’ Hank is going to have to pay through the nose. Via Alex Speier:

    Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in an interview on The Big Show, said that he was fined $500,000 by Major League Baseball for comments that he made about the sport’s current financial system. In late-2009, Henry told the Boston Globe that “seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits,” had received over $1 billion in revenue sharing money.

    Major League Baseball took objection to the public comments — which, Henry noted, were subsequently validated by leaked documents about team profits — and fined the Sox owner. As such, he was relucant to discuss the state of baseball’s economics.

    “There’s not much I can say, because the last time I made a comment, I was fined $500,000. The large markets aren’t allowed to give their opinions,” said Henry. “Did you know I was fined $500,000? … I made statements which turned out to be true, or at least there were various documents that were leaked after that. But anyway, the large clubs are not allowed to talk about it.”

    Henry said that the Sox received a letter from MLB following recent comments by Hank Steinbrenner that voiced similar criticism of the revenue sharing system. He also noted that small-market teams are allowed to comment on baseball’s economic system.

    Comments on Hank Stein Better Get His Checkbook Ready

    1. K-V-C
      March 1st, 2011 | 5:48 pm

      The large market teams should talk about this every single day. It is outrageous that the small market teams who get all the revenue sharing are also the highest operating profits. (I’d prefer to hear Hal or Cashman and not blowhard Hank, talk about this issue however.)

    2. Corey Italiano
      March 1st, 2011 | 6:41 pm

      I’m sure this will all be somewhat settled with the new cba coming up.

      If it isn’t, then the large market teams are being run by bafoons. I don’t sign a damn thing till I see measures for making sure that money is being use properly.

    3. Raf
      March 1st, 2011 | 11:55 pm

      What a fookin rat that Selig is…

      I hope Hank takes the Derrick Coleman approach to this.

    4. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 8:06 am

      K-V-C wrote:

      The large market teams should talk about this every single day.

      Although I agree in spirit, I actually disagree on practical grounds. The best way for a sports league to survive without labor strife is to have its house in order. Very little would be gained by the owners of large market teams if they talked “about this every single day” and all that would come out of the situation would be internal disharmony among MLB owners, thus giving the players union more reason to become entrenched. Entrenchment then leads to work stoppages and nobody benefits there.

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      If it isn’t, then the large market teams are being run by bafoons.

      I don’t necessarily agree. I think they’re being run by practical people that know the best way to stop from killing the golden goose is to allow smaller-market teams to take advantage of a pseudo MLB welfare state. In return for subsidizing these small-market teams, large-market teams get to showcase the CC Sabathias and the Carl Crawfords of the world.

      As much as I’d like to have my cake and eat it too — the Yankees should have the best players and should also push the Rays and Marlins into oblivion — the reality is that the game doesn’t work best in that way.

      I’m not at all in favor of a salary cap so I’d rather the big market owners keep their mouths shut and let the system continue as is. It’s hard to argue that it’s not working for all parties since the game is thriving economically. If those small-market owners choose not to put a competitive product on the field every so often, that’s their problem and the problem of their fans. Since I don’t live in Miami or Cleveland or Houston, I don’t particularly care if those teams suck every single year.

    5. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 8:06 am

      Raf wrote:

      I hope Hank takes the Derrick Coleman approach to this.

      I’m not sure I get the reference here but I suppose a Derrick Coleman approach is better than a Jayson Williams approach!

    6. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 8:12 am

      @ Raf:
      @ Corey Italiano:
      @ K-V-C:
      As a general point, I do agree that Bud Selig is a shady, scheming rat and that he metes out punishment in a totally inconsistent way. I think Selig is a borderline criminal and I’m all for giving him a public flogging (literally and figuratively).

    7. Raf
      March 2nd, 2011 | 11:26 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      It’s hard to argue that it’s not working for all parties since the game is thriving economically.

      The game was thriving economically before 1994. The problem isn’t small vs large markets, it’s competence vs incompetence.

    8. Raf
      March 2nd, 2011 | 11:31 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I’m not sure I get the reference here

      When Butch Beard coached the Nets, he implemented a dress code. Coleman handed him a blank check to pay for the fines he’d accumulate.

    9. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 12:26 pm

      Raf wrote:

      The problem isn’t small vs large markets, it’s competence vs incompetence.

      I more or less agree. It’s hard to argue that there isn’t something “unfair” about the current system but, as a Yanks fan, I don’t give a crap about any of that fair stuff. Overall, I agree, it is absolutely possible to build a winning team that can compete for a period of time (windows of opportunity, let’s say). That more teams aren’t able to do so definitely speaks to competence and a lack of incentives to do so.

    10. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 12:27 pm

      Raf wrote:

      When Butch Beard coached the Nets, he implemented a dress code. Coleman handed him a blank check to pay for the fines he’d accumulate.

      I totally forgot about that. That was awesome!

    11. #15
      March 2nd, 2011 | 12:56 pm

      Baseball has the chance to right a serious flaw in their operating mode. Namely, if you have a luxury tax, you need a salary floor for the teams that take the dough. The idea that our hard-earned Yankee fan money gets redirected and pocketed by some rich guy who happens to own a baseball team in a small market is just wrong. Second, and I can’t believe baseball can’t see this, they must tie an attendance minimum to qualify for the luxury tax. I call this my Show Up or Shut Up Manifesto. To all those clowns (fans and owners) in, say, Pittsburg who spend their lives whining about how unfair it is that they can’t compete, here’s the deal….. Show up or Shut up. Select the league average attendance from the previous year. Then, make it that they have to exceed that number to qualify for a luxury tax handout in the following year. That will get the small market owners to spend a good chunk of the luxury tax money on better players, and the fans to, well…. Show up or Shut up. They can talk and whine all they want, but if they don’t show up to support their team, they can’t have any of the money we spend supporting our team. If they show up, there will be much less need for the redistribution of wealth in the form of a luxury tax and baseballs overall fortunes go up. The current system is less of a luxury tax and more of a success/population tax. Moreover, there is no incentive for the smaller market teams to put the luxury tax money into players and product. As I’ve said in the context of the Yankees team salary… If 4,000,000 fans show up each year and each drops (on average) $100 for a ticket, beer, a foam finger, etc… (yes, I know that number is low), that’s $400,000,000 before the first TV commercial is sold or the Utz Potato Chip sign lights up. The Yankees put their income into their product. What fan wouldn’t want their team to do that. Would the whiners be happier if the Yankees owners spent the money on Apple stock or T-Bills?

    12. MJ Recanati
      March 2nd, 2011 | 2:03 pm

      #15 wrote:

      Select the league average attendance from the previous year. Then, make it that they have to exceed that number to qualify for a luxury tax handout in the following year. That will get the small market owners to spend a good chunk of the luxury tax money on better players, and the fans to, well…. Show up or Shut up.

      That’ll only lead to more mismanagement and lousier teams and, thus, potentially, just as bad attendance.

      Teams shouldn’t be forced to sign “marquee players” just to get fans into the stadium because in most cases those teams would just be throwing money at players to the detriment of their overall financial and team-building health.

      Attendance and baseball operations should be totally separate and apart from one another because there’s no evidence to suggest that attendance dictating baseball operations is the right way to go. The tail should never wag the dog.

    13. Raf
      March 2nd, 2011 | 2:49 pm

      The problem, AFAICT, is moving goalposts. At any given time the problem was

      The reserve clause
      The lack of a draft
      Free agency
      Free agency compensation
      Arbitration
      Stadium revenues
      Broadcast revenues (tv, radio, print)
      Salaries

      So on and so forth.

      A team’s success and failure lies in the front office. Not because the “Yankees are buying up all the players” They’ve been doing what they’ve always been doing. Babe Ruth? Purchased. Joe DiMaggio? Purchased. Mickey Mantle? Purchased. Shall we keep going?

      If owners would STFU and focus on building up their ballclubs, hiring competent people and whatnot, their organizations would be better off. Not pointing at the Yankees and whining and complaining that they have all the money. That’s the way it is, that’s the way it’s going to be. The Yankees aren’t the reason the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since Bonds left. The Yankees aren’t the reason the Royals stink (though to Moore’s credit, he’s assembling quite the talent in the system). The Yankees weren’t the reason baseball failed in Montreal. The Yankees weren’t the reason for extended playoff droughts in CIN, MIL, TEX, etc, etc, etc.

      Blaming the Yankees, blaming large market teams is a load of hooey, and shows that people in general have little idea about how MLB functions.

    14. Raf
      March 2nd, 2011 | 2:56 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Teams shouldn’t be forced to sign “marquee players” just to get fans into the stadium because in most cases those teams would just be throwing money at players to the detriment of their overall financial and team-building health.

      Yep. Hell, a marquee player probably wouldn’t sign with them, if they’re that bad. If the Nationals lose 100 games and they offer Pujols a $300M contract, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll sign with them (though the MLBPA wouldn’t mind, I’m sure).

      Now, if the Nationals show that they were 20-70 in 1 run games, and the team is on the cusp of breaking out, and they have superstars in the pipeline, as well as solid contributors at the ML level, and Pujols was the one player that would put them over the top, then that’s a different story.

      Teams need a plan, signing FA’s for the sake of signing FA’s never work, and you wind up with dumb contracts.

    15. agsf
      March 4th, 2011 | 7:34 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      it is absolutely possible to build a winning team that can compete for a period of time

      But it’s easier to hide mistakes with a high payroll. It’s like saying “it’s possible to get a good meal from mcdonalds” when it’s much more likely to get a good meal at a nice restaurant.

      Fans that use that ridiculous excuse to somehow reason away payroll differences are either idiots or are in denial. Your choice.

    16. Raf
      March 5th, 2011 | 2:23 am

      agsf wrote:

      It’s like saying “it’s possible to get a good meal from mcdonalds” when it’s much more likely to get a good meal at a nice restaurant.

      No it isn’t.

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