There’s seemingly a parade of stories about how the only people not getting utterly fucked during this pandemic are the ones who never get utterly fucked. If you feel like you see something like Tom Brady’s boat purchased with money meant for small businesses, it’s because you do. And if there’s a gaping wound in this country, you can bet the Chicago Cubs will be the lemon juice poured into it.
In the long run, it’s not a big deal. But the optics are. The city of Chicago has let the Cubs back out of a $250,000 payment for improvements around the park, ones they’re contractually obligated to make and have been since they started redoing the stadium and the area around it. It’s important to remember that the Cubs have been relieved of this payment just weeks after Wrigley was given National Landmark status, which will give the Cubs millions in tax breaks. That’s how poor the Cubs are claiming to be after one fanless season where they had to pay their players 37 percent of their normal salaries, just to review.
There’s certainly a fair number of residents who would like to see payments they owe delayed until 2024 when they can get back on their feet, and they aren’t backed by a family worth $5B and heading a baseball team that’s worth $3B. Instead Chicagoans were slammed with a $94M property tax hike.
To be fair to the the city council, they did advance a bill that will see restaurants and other businesses get out of some license renewal fees for a year or so, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what they need.
Again, $250K isn’t going to solve the city’s massive budget problem. But it’s also not something the Cubs would miss either. It’s yet another example of a gigantic business getting small business treatment, which is how we keep ending up in this ruptured septic tank of a hole.
Speaking of once-proud organizations becoming a beached whale in the hot sun, may I present the Dallas Cowboys being flexed out of Sunday night next week in favor of the Cleveland Browns. It’s truly a defining statement about the deflated balloon you’ve become when a network says the Browns are a bigger draw than you are.
We should really relish this, because a team may never be dumped for the Browns again. A truly historic moment, and one that should definitely go into Jerry Jones’s obit when whatever cyborg technology that keeps him upright suffers a short circuit.
MLB teams outlined their new streamlined minor league system yesterday, though it won’t be official until those minor league teams fully accept those invitations. This has been in the works for some time, and if it wasn’t for the main reason being owners’ cheapness, it actually makes some sense.
Kids receive better coaching and training than they ever have, and are now coming out of high school or college closer to being MLB players. Having six levels for them to progress through is just overkill. Connected is that it’s generally thought MLB players peak earlier than before, somewhere around 27 or 28, thanks to the higher athleticism and rise in velocity and such. Teams simply can’t wait around now for players to develop to get to the Majors so as to get the most use from them. If you get to The Show at 24, you might only have four years until you’re already cheating on fastballs.
While towns being robbed of affiliations feels like it will hurt, for one, a lot of these towns barely averaged 1,000 fans per game or didn’t get there at all. Secondly, an independent league is almost the same thing, and in fact in some ways is a little more pure. Instead of just being a breeding ground, mostly for a whole lot of nothing, teams will exist to win that league’s championship. These are things that Joe Sheehan has been pointing out ever since the idea was floated. Independent leagues are still filled with guys still trying to make it, and honestly only have slightly less of a chance of moving up the chain as 95 percent of the guys who passed through low-A or short-season A-ball before. It’s just a different label.
Still, it sticks in the craw that the main reason these teams were dumped was because some really rich guys didn’t want to spend the pittance anymore. It’s impossible to ignore that in order to get on board with the shuttering of 25 percent of minor league teams.