Short hops, quick pops and backhand stops:
• If the Marlins were as consistently sharp on the field as they've been while playing the Miami-Dade County commissioners and South Florida taxpayers like a cheap kazoo, pleading poverty long and hard enough to get a sweetheart stadium deal, then they'd be as dynastic as the Yankees.
They haven't been, though, for a couple of reasons. One, they've consistently dumped players when the price tag went up. Two, there's no lying on the ballfield. Imagine if there were:
|The Marlins' nose is looking awfully long these days with the whoppers they've been telling. (Getty Images)|
Marlins manager: "No! That's only strike one!"
Umpire: "What? Oh. Batter, please step back into the box."
As things turn out, thanks to the leaked financial documents to Deadspin.com, the Marlins received nearly $92 million in revenue sharing in 2008 and 2009 and produced a net income of $49 million in those years. Essentially, in layman's terms, what the numbers prove is that the Marlins could have kicked in far more than roughly a quarter of the cost of their $645 million retractable roof ballpark that's moved into the on-deck circle.
Financial documents of the Pirates, Angels, Mariners and Rays also were leaked. Most embarrassing thing there was simply that the Pirates earned $29.4 million in '07 and '08 and took in $69.3 million in revenue sharing while, as colleague Ray Ratto memorably wrote the other day, trotting out a product that would sear Roberto Clemente's corneas.
Baseball sleuths are working overtime to ferret out the source of the leak -- baseball's version of Scooter Libby -- and politicians and fans in South Florida are hopping mad because Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson continue to make them look like rubes.
Memo to the politicians: You ignored the first rule of business (no, not the one that goes "How do you tell when Loria and Samson are lying? When their lips move.").
Baseball owners have more money than the U.S. Mint. That did not happen by accident. They have been cutthroat businessmen in other areas. They may have various reasons for wanting into baseball (love of the game, the ego-stroking limelight, lust for power, etc.) but there is one universal truth: They did not get into it to lose money.
Secondly, no matter what the locale, owning a baseball team is not a losing business. If it were, there wouldn't be multiple groups lining up every single time a team is put up for sale.
Is that so hard to figure out? (Tip: It is important to remember these things each time negotiations with the players union arise, too).
The Marlins can spin it however they want ("We're not making money, we're simply using the profits to pay down our debt"), but the fact is, Loria and Samson always have been more phony than a $3 bill. Under fire on his radio show on 790 The Ticket in Miami this week, Samson had the gall to say "in the years that weren't released [pre-'08], we suffered tremendous losses."
Radio broadcaster: "And the Marlins drop another one to the Cardinals, 7-2."
Marlins: "No! We WON 7-2!"
Radio broadcaster: "Sorry, my mistake. The Marlins beat the Cardinals 7-2. Their record now stands at 54-70."
Marlins: "No! We're 70-54!"
Radio broadcaster: "Check that. ..."
• Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte last started July 18, and he isn't expected back for at least a couple of more weeks. He needs to pass a very big test Friday, when he throws off of a mound in Chicago, administering the latest test to his strained left groin. If all goes well, he could return in mid-September. If not, it's officially time for concern. CC Sabathia is the only dependable starter for the Yankees right now. Phil Hughes has done lots of impressive heavy lifting, but he was blasted in Toronto on Wednesday and now has worked 144 innings this season (the Yanks are believed to be planning to cap him in the 170-175 range). Manager Joe Girardi has pulled the plug for now on struggling Javier Vazquez, inserting rookie Ivan Nova into that slot this week. Pettitte's long absence could be a good thing if he comes back strong, because he will be well-rested. But if not, the Yankees could be one series and out in October.
• Give it up for Oakland starters Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Vin Mazzaro. Not only do the A's have the top rotation in the AL (3.35 ERA), that particular quintet has worked at least six innings and allowed no more than three earned runs over 17 consecutive starts, the longest such streak in Oakland history. Over those 17 contests they have posted a 1.67 ERA. Cahill, since July 28, is 5-1 with a 0.77 ERA.
• While Reds manager Dusty Baker says he isn't sure yet whether he'd try and arrange his rotation so that Johnny Cueto doesn't face the Cardinals, it looks as if that's the way it'll fall. Cueto is slated to start Friday's series opener against the Cubs, which means he probably will start next Wednesday against the Brewers. Which means he almost certainly would not face the Cards in St. Louis Labor Day weekend.
• Yes, it's odd to see rookie Tyler Colvin wearing No. 21 for the Cubs. But when Sammy Sosa tells Chicago Magazine, "That number should be untouchable because of the things I did for that organization" ... does he include the corked bat, the leaving Wrigley Field for the last time while the game was still going on and his embarrassing "no Ingles" testimony before Congress? Just wondering.
• The Giants rightfully are feeling pretty good about their offense now that they have rookie Buster Posey and veterans Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen and Cody Ross along with Aubrey Huff. But one thing about the combined 38 runs and 53 hits against Cincinnati this week at AT&T Park: The ball was flying as if it were Wrigley Field with San Francisco's unusual heat wave. Tuesday's high was 98 degrees, smashing the old San Francisco record for Aug. 24 by nine degrees.
• It's not the heat, it's the humidity: Reds manager Dusty Baker told a pretty good story about the time he was braving a different heat wave in 1994. "I remember one time I was renting this house here in 1994, and it was Joe Montana's and Dwight Clark's house. It was hot as hell in Hillsboro up here. I called a heating and air conditioning guy because it was just blowing in hot air. He went in there and after 30 seconds, he came back out. And he said, 'Sir, I hate to tell you this, but it will be $60. Also, you don't have air conditioning." Sounds exactly like something I would do.
• Rob Dibble is a boor, and his recent comments on his Sirius XM radio show that ace rookie Stephen Strasburg should just suck it up were just plain ignorant. The Nationals, who took him off the air for two games, appear a second-rate franchise with him in their booth. Great line from Nats president Stan Kasten to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post: "Rob asked for some time off. Perhaps he's not feeling well. But I'm not a doctor, nor have I seen his records. So I shouldn't say anything more about it."
• Love that in the "newsstand" section of baseballthinkfactory.org, sarcastic and biting Editor Repoz has taken to referring to him as "Count Dibble." You know, "suck it up. ..."
• Fans are invited to nominate their favorite broadcaster for the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award between Sept. 1-30 on the Museum's Facebook page. The top three broadcasters will appear on the final 10-name ballot, from which the winner will be selected and announced at baseball's Winter Meetings in December.