#Hot Corner

Bud Selig, Miracle Worker

Jim McIsaac

You probably saw the story in Bloomberg yesterday -- along with the brilliant interactive infographic -- with updated values for all 30 Major League Baseball franchises. I'm sure the teams would quibble some, at least around the edges. But the people at Bloomberg aren't idiots, and they've got 10 franchises worth at least one billion dollars, and the 30 clubs altogether valued at more than $30 billion.

Thirty billion.

And where teams have often claimed that Bloomberg was exaggerating their worth, this time a few have argued they're worth more than Bloomberg says ... which is probably true, since buyers are often happy to pay a premium for the opportunity to join such an exclusive club.

Anyway, I bring this up only because, completely coincidentally, Wednesday night I happened across an article in USA Today that I stashed away a dozen years ago. And I would like to share the first two paragraphs with you:

Commissioner Bud Selig will tell the House Judiciary Committee today that Major League Baseball is in dire financial straits, its teams having lost a combined $1.38 billion value from 1995 through 2001.

To support his claim, Selig will reveal financial data never before made public, including the local television and radio income for each team in 2001. Selig also will present data showing that from 1995 to 2001, only two of 30 teams had a cumulative operating profit. He will use the red ink to partially justify his controversial plan to eliminate two teams, most likely the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins, before next season.

... and that's why I'll never be completely aboard the Bud-Selig-was-a-great-man happy train. According to the figures that Selig released -- and which USA Today published as if they were gospel, by the way -- almost every team lost millions and millions of dollars in 2001. With, apparently, no end to the red ink in sight.

I thought it was bullshit, and I wrote that it was bullshit -- except I didn't use that word, because I was working for the Big Mouse -- and Selig called my house to bitch me out for an hour.

Well, I still think it was bullshit. And I don't like being bullshitted. I don't like my Congress being bullshitted.

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