The major-league owners will now take their dog-and-pony show into court in Mets co-owners' (Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday) Solomon-esque court battle. According to ESPN:
The 30 major league teams began the year projecting an operating loss of $220 million in 2002, down $12 million from last year, according to minutes of...a Jan. 16 owners meeting [from a projection] by accountant Robert Starkey, a consultant to the commissioner's office..
I'm not sure if this is just the owners trying to counter the bad press from Doubleday yesterday. Or if they are foolish enough to think that a memo from a meeting is sufficient evidence for a court of law.
Bu there's more: According to the minutes, Bud Selig never called for contraction until after the World Series on purpose:
The commissioner began the discussion of contraction by stating that he had decided not to cause widespread discussion of contraction during the postseason, even before the events of Sept. 11
Who gushed like a schollgirl at the prom every time that he got to discuss contraction or the fact that every team is in dire financial straights? Selig. Who announced erronously, and rather embarrassingly, right after the All-Star game that two teams would not make payroll and oh yeah, one of those teams will really surprise you? Selig. But now we're supposed to believe that Selig "decided not to cause widespread discussion of contraction during the postseason"? He spoke about it in the 2001 postseason. He spoke about it in Spring Training. He promised contraction would happen. He speaks about it at the drop of a hat during the season. Who else keeps bringing the topic up? Come on!
At the time of the November 27th owers' meeting, a trial court had issued an injunction enjoining MLB from removing the Twins, but this is what Selig had to say at the meeting:
Selig told owners "he would not have done anything differently, and that every problem that has occurred was anticipated.''
How can this be? If you believe that one, try the statement by Selig that contraction will happen before the 2002 season. There's no way that they had anticipated that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission would have obtained the injunction enjoining them from dissolving the team. If so, why would MLB's attorney Bob Dupuy have instructed the Twins to renew their contract for 2002, a contract that stipulates that they have to field a team? Keep in mind that they had to renew just six weeks before the contraction plans were made public. How then can we rectify the statement that Selig had anticipated contraction but delayed calling for it?
This is a house of cards that cannot possibly support itself. Will some teams lose money this year? Did some lose money last year? I don't know. I am dubious. It seems a little too convenient that this financial situation has arisen right before the labor negotiations.
But the more the owners try to disseminate what amounts to, at worst, boldface lies and, at best, misrepresentations, the more that I will doubt their financial statements. When they blatantly flout the fans' intelligence, they do not deserve the fans' trust. The only way that I can possibly believe them now is if the open their books, but they won't do that. Before you as a fan blindly accept what they say at face value, ask yourself why that is. What are the hiding? If you love the sport, you have to consider it.