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October 30, 2001

The Daily Prospectus

Off-Day Musings

by Joe Sheehan

Stuff bouncing around my brain as I wonder how we might contract by 30 owners, not two:

  • I've been reading about how the Diamondbacks are going to lose $50 million this year, and how they're going to suffer in the future because of all the deferred money they have to pay, stretching into 2008.

    This is another example of the creative accounting so popular in baseball. The D'backs' actual payroll outlay this year is around $50 million because of the deferrals. That makes it hard to lose $50 million, especially with at least seven postseason home games. Yes, they will have to pay some of their players long after their playing days are through, but that just means that in 2001, they're going to turn a tidy profit.

    Using the contract-value payroll figure for 2001, then also counting much of that money in the future, is dishonest. Not that we should expect differently from MLB, its owners, or its media mouthpieces.

  • This kind of lying occurs against the backdrop of contraction, which is a bad idea on its face, but even worse when you consider the timing of the story. Does baseball even have anyone with a marketing background smart enough to say, "Hey, shut the hell up about this and let the World Series be the story!"

    Once again, MLB and the owners are so concerned about where their next dollar is coming from, and establishing position in negotiations with the players, that they'd rather continue their anti-marketing campaign against the game. Hey guys, stop planting stories and let the spotlight shine on RJ and Schill and Jeet and Yankee Stadium and all the greatness of October baseball.

  • I was up late last night, and came across the move "Major League" on television. You remember that one, right? It was about a baseball team so bad that its owner wanted it to lose so no one would attend and she could move it to a city in a warmer climate. To heighten the absurdity, the screenwriters picked the most hapless, downtrodden, joke of a team they could find in the early 1990s.

    The Cleveland Indians.

  • I could go on, but people smarter than me are saying it better than I can. Gary Huckabay has a column here on contraction, while Keith Law takes it on at ESPN.com. I encourage you to read both piece and to think about them every time Bud Selig speaks.

  • I know you were all waiting, so here's the scoop: yes, she's kind of a real teacher, and yes, he's a real student.

  • Here's a prediction: if the Yankees win tonight, Curt Schilling will pitch Game Four for the D'backs. Otherwise, Miguel Batista will get the start. If Schilling starts and wins, Batista will pitch Game Five, with Randy Johnson held back for Game Six. If Schilling starts and loses, Johnson will pitch Game Five. Now that he's up 2-0 I don't think Brenly will allow the Yankees to tie or take the lead in the series without going through one or both of his aces.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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