“Open The Books” — January 2014 edition

January 23, 2014 | Drew Forrester

“Open The Books” — January 2014 edition

With a few weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the Yankees have outspent the Orioles on baseball players for the upcoming season.  By signing five guys, that is.

Right now, the Orioles 2014 payroll is $82 million, give or take a few hundred grand (and no one is worried about an extra 200k – except the Birds).

The Yankees have forked over $91 million to Tanaka, Beltran, Ellsbury, McCann and Kuroda.

Check this out…the Minnesota Twins are going to outspend the Orioles this year.

You remember the Twins, right?  They’re the team that was struggling so much financially a few years back they had to leverage the city of Minneapolis for a new stadium, then promptly built a 39,000 seat facility because they were afraid they couldn’t sell-out a 50,000 seater.

They’re going to outspend the Orioles in 2014.

The apologists left in town who still believe the Birds are on the up-and-up when it comes to running their organization will point to the “crazy” contracts signed around baseball and say “who wants to fork over $20 million a year for that guy in six years?”

There’s always an excuse.

Those of us smart enough to know what’s really going won’t excuse the Orioles for not spending money because we know the truth:  They have plenty of money to spend and they don’t want to spend it.

That’s it, period.

Remember this while you’re busy wearing the Orioles Bird mascot head at the office today — the television money that will pour in to the Warehouse in 2014 will wind up being somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million, maybe upwards of $85 million.

That’s JUST the money they generate via the national TV deal, the national internet/web deal and their local MASN deal.

They haven’t sold a ticket yet and, essentially, their 2014 player payroll is covered by the TV money they generate.

The Yankees, of course, have a lot more money at their disposal.  We all know that.  They also spend a lot more to run their entire organization than do the Orioles.

If they were “public enough” to tell us all why they don’t spend money on players, I’m sure we’d all eagerly await their words.  If they manned-up and actually did that and offered the expected, tired explanation of “we don’t have the money necessary to compete with the Yankees and Tigers and Rangers and Red Sox when it comes to sign big-ticket free agents” I would then simply say this:

Open the books.

We’d be more inclined to believe the Orioles about ANYTHING they say when it comes to finances if they opened the books and just showed us the numbers.

As Nestor Aparicio will explain this March in “The Peter Principles”, one of the biggest issues involving the owner has been a huge personal “contribution” to the organization for a 5-7 year period at the beginning of last decade.  Peter Angelos was putting in huge amounts of his own money (some years as much as $20 million) to make ends meet when the attendance started to sag and player payroll was still in the $70 million range (with about $10 million of national TV money coming in at that point).

So, as we’ve done here at WNST, research and snooping around will lead you down the path of what’s REALLY been going on since the TV money started pouring in when MASN was kick-started in 2006.  The owner has re-paid himself more than a hundred million dollars while not paying for baseball players.  And that’s his right, of course, because any business person with a brain would do the same thing if they were $100 million in the hole with their business and experienced a huge cash windfall that would help repay his self-assessed debt.

We’d believe it all if the Orioles would just open the books and show us why they don’t want to spend money on baseball players this off-season.

When the Minnesota Twins outspend you, that’s a sure sign it’s time to prove to all of us what you’re doing with the money WE are giving you to run OUR baseball organization.

Open the books and show us how you’re running the club.

If you’re really broke, like it appears you want us to believe you are, just prove it to us.

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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Phil Says:

    Not s good owner and not a well run organization, but it is a fact that he did have to put in millions in personal money to make ends meet. No smart business owner is going to publicize that because it decreases the value of their enterprise. Nowadays it seems to be a different story. Question, if you know…curious if other MLB teams open their books? Enjoy the show as always…your grade for Nestor was generous…should have had major deduction for leaving Ray off.

  2. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    It’s just getting so old with Angelos & his puppet Duquette crying that they can’t compete with the Yanks & Sox because they have no money…BS. Just sell the team to Ripkin & retire under some rock in Little Italy, enough already !!!

  3. lakerboy Says:

    The real bottom line in all of this is that if the Angelos Family doesn’t want to truly compete in the MLB market place, they should sell the franchise to someone who is willing to compete. That would happen in an idyllic world, but unfortunately that will not happen in Baltimore (2014). I found it fascinating when I heard that John Angelos was quoted in a British sports journal as saying that the Orioles wouldn’t deviate from their current financial tact to be competitive in the AL East. That spoke volumes about the organization. First, he honestly admitted what all Oriole fans suspected. Second, he couldn’t provide that quote for a Sun beat writer, because he knew that typre of admission wouldn’t play well for the hometown fans. Consequently, he had to go to an obscure British sports publication. Angelos and the folks in the warehouse have tried for years to spin it that the Orioles are being competitive given their market size and other factors, but all of us know they really aren’t. MLB is giving every team an additional 26 million this season for broadcasting rights. In the case of the Orioles, where is that money going? To this point, I don’t see it being put back into the payroll. And how about the revenue from the Nats broadcasting rights? Where is that money going? Just be honest with the fan base. And to that end be honest with yourself…Peter G. Angelos. Realistically, you really and truly don’t care about winning. Please, PLEASE sell the franchise to someone who does.

  4. unitastoberry Says:

    I remember a radio interview Pete gave on his flagship station say around opening day about 10 years ago. He told the interviewer that you can not make money in baseball with todays salary structure in a small market like Baltimore. He’s more than made up for that with his extorsion deal with MLB thru MASN. Sell Pete sell!

  5. BmoreB Says:

    The O’s suck, why bother ?

  6. Dan Says:

    Drew , We doing just fine . Had a better season then the Ravens , ( won more then lost ) sold more tickets then the Ravens , made more money then the Ravens , Thanks for the advice , but no thanks .
    Pete .

  7. tsnamm Says:

    Hey Drew they were whining on ‘BAL the other night about how the 5 players from the Yankees make more than the entire Orioles squad, not even with ARod’s money included either. Frankly it says more about the Orioles than it does about the Yankees. When the Yankees got to write off ARods salary for a year what did they do with that money? Put it in their pockets like Pete would? No, they re-invested it in the baseball team, getting good players. The O’s apologists can’t have it both ways around here, initially complaining that none of these big contracts aren’t worth it, and it’s a waste of money because the players don’t deliver, and then whining when a team in your division spends money on a player that you said “is not worth it”, and cry “you can’t compete with them”. Like I’ve pointed out repeatedly, Baltimore is NOT a small market, as part of the Balto/Wash, corridor, this area is the 4th largest metro area in the US, behind NY, LA, and Chicago. Peter spent over $100 million on payroll in 96-97, nearly 20 years ago, and nowit’s out of the question? Between MASN money, National Broadcast/MLB money, not counting tickets, concessions, parking, licensing, accessories, local broadcast rights on free TV and radio+ advertising, and memorabilia, Pete has enough to field a 1st class team AND make a profit. The experience of the last 2 seasons ought to demonstrate to the numbskulls in the Warehouse that winning makes $$$$. It’s just galling listening to the BS from these people. And frankly if they’re not making money, they obviously need a business expert to come in and teach them how, because with that many revenue streams it should be downright impossible NOT to make a profit.

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