A lot of us raised eyebrows (well, not Mike Quade, he doesn’t have any to raise) when as kind of a footnote to the Cubs announcement that they were going to stay in Mesa, Arizona for the next 25 years, we learned that Interim Commissioner of Baseball For Life Bud Selig “encouraged” the Cubs to stay in Arizona rather than move their training facilities to Naples, Florida.
Anytime this dope sticks his meddling little hands in things it creates suspicion.Â Bud gives off this air of someone who is endearingly clueless, when in fact he’s a nasty little conniver who has been screwing over players, agents, fans and team owners who aren’t in his cadre of evil, for two decades.
So you figure if he “encouraged” the Cubs to stay, that he did it because he had something else in mind for the rich people in Naples to throw their millions at.Â And, according to an Intrepid Reader in Naples (Florida, of course, the Italians could care less), the something else he has in mind, is a new, state of the art training facility for his beloved Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s the dirty secret-
Bud Selig advised (mandated) that the Ricketts family should keep the Cubs in Mesa, AZ. Happened right before and during the Cubs Convention.
Why would Selig do this? Arizona is broke (check the stats). The Cubs will soon be portrayed by Mesa voters as Greed incarnate- taking the last dollars from an insolvent state. Rival teams in the Cactus League will be forced to pay to build a stadium for the Cubs via a ticket surcharge. Selig is pushing this plan on small market franchises who are struggling through the worst economy in 60 years. Kansas City, San Diego and Cleveland are being forced to build a world class facility for a major market team with a $134MM payroll.
Bud Selig has put the Ricketts family in a no-win situation.
Now that the State of AZ, Phoenix tourists, and the Cactus League will be tapped out, how will the Cactus League retain the next team who demands a state of the art training complex?
Ironically, the Milwaukee Brewers are that team, which is owned by Selig. His lease in Maryvale, AZ expires in 2012.
The Brewers have been reaching out to Naples for 3 months now. When the details of this really come out it may be worse for Selig than his legacy with steroids. This fucking guy is out to ruin baseball.
A couple of things here.Â First, there’s no way of validating this guys’ sources.Â But he is right about the state of Arizona being in financial trouble (of course, which state isn’t?)Â The East Valley Tribune said that the money to build the new facility would be paid for through municipal bonds and changing where money from an existing hotel surcharge goes, nothing about a ticket surcharge involving the other teams training in Arizona…
…but, it also notes that the bond approval won’t come until an election in November, so there has to be a fallback in case the Arizona voters tell the state to go screw in the election.Â So there has to be a an alternative plan to get the money, right? One that doesn’t involve the taxpayers of Arizona directly.Â Like maybe the commissioner telling the teams in Arizona they have to charge an extra couple of bucks per ticket for something.
From a business standpoint, if indeed Bud knows that the Naples contingent are so starved for a baseball team that they would take the small market Brewers and their relatively tiny fanbase, then this is a perfect solution for him and the team he used to own.Â The Cubs are the main draw in Arizona, so they get to stay (which makes money for all of the other teams training in Arizona) and get the new facility they want, and the Brewers suddenly get leverage when their lease runs out.Â Maybe they move to Florida, or maybe they get a better deal out of Maryvale?Â Either way, they win.
But Selig doesn’t own the Brewers any more.Â He sold his 27.8 percent stake to Mark Attanasio in January of 2004.
Sure, he did.Â But the four other guys who owned part of the Brewers when Bud did (John Canning Jr., David Uihlein, Harris Turner and Stephen Marcus) are all part of the current ownership.
Don’t feel too sorry for the Rickettses.Â They get what they really wanted, a new and improved training facility and they exchanged the costs of mowing the grass and watering the field that used to be taken care of by Mesa, for the rights to control all of the advertising and naming rights in the new facility.Â They also don’t have to pay a penny to get the $84 million facility built.
You probably can’t feel too sorry for Maryvale, either.Â The Brewers are just a team, and if they leave they can be replaced by any team in Florida who is tired of their facility.
So who loses?Â Well, Naples.Â For now.
If in fact, they just get used by the Brewers now, like they just were by the Cubs, they’ll once again be left without a team while the team that used them got what they wanted from where they already were.
And since Bud is just making money for the owners (especially his old Milwaukee buddies), he’s just doing his job.
And he can go have his daily hot dogs and get his weekly hair cut in Milwaukee again.Â And he can write another letter of support for Mark McGwire.