Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2005-01-06 08:35
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yanks, not making money? Say it ain't so. Richard Sandomir takes a look at the financial state of the Bronx Bombers today in the New York Times:

Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College who has written about baseball finances and who consulted for the players' union a decade ago, said the numbers might not add up for the Yankees.

"If you do a profit and loss, I don't think there's a plus at the bottom," he said. "But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense for Steinbrenner."

Zimbalist and other sports business experts said that beyond Steinbrenner's craving for more World Series titles, his goal is to build the value of the team and the YES Network, in which the Yankees and the former owners of the Nets are majority owners. That goal prevails, even if it means operating at a short-term loss. Last May, the Goldman Sachs Group arranged lending worth $225 million to the Yankees to help finance losses, provide working capital and consolidate debt.

The experts saw the acquisitions of Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and other marquee names as a strategy to keep nearly four million fans jamming Yankee Stadium annually, to keep the team winning and to keep YES ratings high.

It may not be a coincidence that the addition of huge stars with enormous salaries has come since YES went on the air in 2002.

Meanwhile, the team is close to agreeing to a contract extension with Randy Johnson. Steven Goldman weighs in on the boffo deal in this week's Pinstriped Bible:

Under most circumstances, it would be fair to say that the Yankees were acting rashly in dealing Javier Vazquez, a 28-year-old of proven quality of whom the worst can be said is that he had a few bad months. At the same time, whatever the cause of his four-month slump, physical, psychological or mechanical, the Yankees proved unequal to correcting it, and they obviously lack confidence in the pitcher's ability to fix it himself. It makes sense, then, to acknowledge that someone else might have better luck diagnosing his problem and move him on.

...But there's one exception to the rule, although trying to characterize it seems silly: you make an exception for gods. The official definition of pitching gods is like the judge's definition of obscenity: you know it when you see it.

And speaking of boffo, the hottest topic in baseball right now is where Carlos Beltran will land. His agent says that five teams are in the hunt. Various reports say that the Cubs and Yanks are invovled--and there is a rumor that the Mets have already agreed to a deal with him. Yentas, start your kvetchin'. I've thought all along that Beltran will return to Houston, but who the hell knows. Think the Yanks will swoop down and nab him at the last moment, or what? And should they? What do you say?

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