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No. No they aren't.

It’s that time of year again, when Forbes gives us its estimates of baseball team finances and baseball teams dispute the estimates. This year’s reporting comes with an especially sensational headline:

2013 Houston Astros: Baseball's Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History

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August 30, 2010 8:00 am

On the Beat: No Problem with the Pirates

7

John Perrotto

Bud Selig says the profitable Pirates are spending their revenue-sharing money within the rules, along with other news and notes from around the majors.

The Pirates lose a lot of games yet make a lot of money. If that sounds a big incongruous on the surface, imagine how Pirates fans feel. They have suffered through 18 straight losing seasons, a record for major North American professional sports, yet find out their team is turning a big profit.

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Maury talks about a revered colleague and friend on the anniversary of a tragic loss.

There are days in all of our lives that we'd like to forget, days we wished had not happened. Days that place matters in perspective. Today is the anniversary of one of those days. And while we might have been talking the sale of the Braves, or owners approving the deal for MLB Extra Innings and the MLB Network, today is reserved for something more important.

Three years ago today, the baseball research community was hit by shocking news: Doug Pappas, the founder of SABR's Business of Baseball committee and an author for Baseball Prospectus, had died. The circumstances of his death seemed unbelievable-he died of heat prostration while vacationing at Big Bend National Park in Texas. It didn't sound right. "What? Doug is dead? He died how?!?" Emails, phone calls, message boards, and blogs spread the news. Doug's own blog became a point where many met to leave final words of thanks and well-wishes. At 41, one of the most respected and prodigious baseball researchers was gone.

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I found out about Doug Pappas' tragic passing on Friday. There were phone messages on both my cell phone and home phone from a number of people, all with a more serious tone to their voices than you'd really like to hear. None of the people actually left the momentous news, but rather some version of "Give me a call the second you get this message." Moments later, I checked my e-mail, and a barrage of messages with the header "Sad News" scrolled up my screen. Doug Pappas had passed away. My friend, a colleague for whom I have immense respect, and all-around good guy, had departed from us too soon. My initial response was the same during those horrid times when another friend had died; it sounds strange, but my first impulse is to give him a call and find out what was really going on. It can't be right, you know? This has got to be some sort of misunderstanding, right? Doug's only 43, in good health, and a standup guy. Must be someone else. There's definitely a big ball of confusion out there, and this is completely out of left field. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and stolen the air from the room, but I knew it was a mistake. Had to be. It wasn't. And we are all diminished because of it. Doug's particular chosen role was a particularly difficult one--to call the powerful on the inaccuracy or dishonesty of their public statements. That's not easy. Over the years, Doug came out and publicly pointed out the inaccuracies, contradictions, and misleading nature of Major League Baseball's financial disclosures. He did his homework, explained his position, made sure that the MLB functionary's agenda was understood by the public, and stood by his work. It was an often thankless and misunderstood role, but the public interest was well served because Doug was willing to vigorously undertake it.

Doug Pappas had passed away. My friend, a colleague for whom I have immense respect, and all-around good guy, had departed from us too soon. My initial response was the same during those horrid times when another friend had died; it sounds strange, but my first impulse is to give him a call and find out what was really going on. It can't be right, you know? This has got to be some sort of misunderstanding, right? Doug's only 43, in good health, and a standup guy. Must be someone else. There's definitely a big ball of confusion out there, and this is completely out of left field. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and stolen the air from the room, but I knew it was a mistake. Had to be.

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Add Forbes to the ever-growing list of those who don't believe MLB's cries of poverty.

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Add Forbes to the ever-growing list of those who don't believe MLB's cries of poverty.

The April 15 issue of Forbes contains the magazine's annual survey of MLB's finances. Michael Ozanian has been compiling these surveys since 1991, first for the now-defunct Financial World and since 1998 for Forbes.

Forbes, based on 2001 performance the average Major League Baseball franchise is now worth $286 million, an increase of 10% since 2000. Moreover, the present owners of MLB clubs have seen the value of their investments appreciate an average of 12% a year. These are hardly the hallmarks of an industry in dire financial straits.

While MLB claims operating losses of $232 million in 2001, Forbes estimates that the 30 teams turned a collective profit of $76.7 million. That's a difference of more than $10 million per team.

Here's how the Forbes numbers compare to MLB's (all figures net of revenue sharing payments):







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