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Could the NY Yankee be sold?
Would not surprise me if franchise is put on the block..
Good morning all. I trust you made it through Tuesday!
There is a trend at play for major league baseball franchises. Have you noticed? It used to me that millionaires owned MLB teams; now more billionaires are entering the fold. The World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers are owned by billionaires. The New York Mets have been sold to Steve Cohen, reportedly worth $14 billion. He will become the richest owner in baseball once the sale is finalized over the next week.
Which franchise is next? There is speculation the Baltimore Orioles could be on the block because of aging older Peter Angelos. At 91 and in poor health, Angelos could decide to unload the ballclub for among other reasons, gaining a favorable tax status if the sale occurred soon. And guess who might be interested in getting in on the action? Former Orioles president and CEO Larry Lucchino. Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. has also expressed interest, according to the report.
What about the New York Yankees? Might they be up for sale? There are no indications the iconic franchise is on the block, but that doesn’t mean it is not. In 1964, the baseball world was shocked when 80% of the franchise was sold to CBS. The sports world was caught off guard, when the announcement came in Jan. 1973 that CBS had sold the club to George Steinbrenner. In other words, nothing would surprise me.
I do not know how much the Steinbrenner family is worth or if it enjoys the prestige of owning the world’s most famous sports franchise. The franchise is valued at $5 billion. But the Yankees now have a crosstown rival owned by someone with deep, deep pockets. Throwing money at problems is not the solution to building a stable major league baseball club but it does not hurt and current Yankees ownership - which voted in favor of the Mets’ sale to Cohen - might not want to engage in a money war with their rivals.
Meanwhile, there is doubt about MLB returning to a normal season in 2021, as COVID-19 persists. Suppose a mega-billionaire comes along and makes an offer to Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees point man? Or a consortium is formed approaching Steinbrenner to buy the franchise or gain a major stake in ownership. Remember, MLB is no longer a millionaire owner’s game. The baton is being passed to the billionares.
I have no inside information that the Yankees are up for sale or might be sold. But looking at the 2020 landscape, it would not surprise me if they were.
ESPN pushes for Sunday Night Football
We have reported on this in the newsletter, before, but more stories are emerging that ESPN owner Disney is ready to pony up big bucks for the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Night Football package. ESPN already carries Monday Night Football. The plan is Disney would put the Sunday games on ABC, while keeping MNF for ESPN.
It may not be a coincidence that the same company (Disney) ready to pay big for SNF is also letting it be known it wants to scale back on its major league baseball coverage. Word is ESPN no longer wants to carry MLB games on Monday and Wednesday nights, preferring to televise just the Sunday night games. It could be ESPN wants to redirect those rights fees dollars from MLB to the NFL with this strategy.
Lester: Beer on me
Did you see what former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester did over the weekend? When the Cubs announced they would not pick up Lester’s contract for another season, Lester, now a free agent, thanked Cubs fans by offering them a beer. Several Chicago-area bars were informed by Lester, if a patron dropped his name, he would pick up the tab for their first beer. It cost Lester about $50,000.
It is a far cry from when I saw Lester pitch for the Red Sox AA affiliate against the New Britain Rock Cats in the early part of this century. (Did I just write that? “Early part of this century.” Where is the time going?)
From Rags to retirement?
I don’t know if you saw it but the cuts in major league baseball team front offices continue. The latest to be given the pink slip is Dave “Rags” Righetti, who had a good career as a starter and reliever. In 1986, the Yankees southpaw saved a league-leading 46 games. In 1983, as a starter, he went 14-8, including a July 4 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox.
After his playing career, the San Jose native became a successful pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants. He was the coach for the Giants’ three World Series titles in the last decade. Moved to the front office two years ago, Righetti is now out of a job. He will turn 62 on Nov. 28, perhaps too young for retirement. It would not surprise me if another organization taps into his pitching expertise.
That’s it for today. As always, thank you for your support and enjoy the day.