Dodgers co-owner’s comments on pandemic prove every MLB team is simply being cheap

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

The Dodgers’ newest minority owner spoke to Yahoo! Finance in a telling interview.

While the global pandemic continues to drastically affect the lives of the average citizen, as expected, billionaires and multi-billion-dollar organizations are simply using it as an excuse. “Sickening” is a word that doesn’t even begin to describe it.

People are out of jobs, can’t pay their mortgage, and are getting eaten alive with interest payments, while Major League Baseball teams, all of which are worst AT LEAST $1.5 billion, are whining about losing from anywhere between ~$50-$200 million over the past year.

For example, the New York Yankees are worth $5 billion and many believe that they may have lost upwards of $200 million due to the pandemic over the last eight months. Is that bad? It’s surely not great. But the Yankees could do that 24 times over before losing all of their worth. Yup, only 24 consecutive global pandemics is all it’ll take to have the Yankees dissipate.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are right up there in terms of net worth, but when new co-owner Alan Smolinisky spoke about the pandemic and its affect on sports, it further proved that these teams are just simply being cheap and using the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence as an excuse.

"“As someone who allocates capital all day long, it’s not a bad place to have money right now anyway,” Smolinisky told Daniel Roberts of Yahoo! Finance. “Not only have values increased, but it’s a real finite resource, right? There are 30 MLB teams. We’ve seen one deal go down since the pandemic started, Steve Cohen’s Mets, and we did not see a decrease in value there. It’s such a finite resource, and there are so many people that want to be a part of it, I actually think it will turn out to be an incredible investment. I’m very bullish long-term on the values, and I’d be very surprised if anything, at least in the NBA, NFL, and MLB, were to trade at any discount.”"

We’re not financial brainiacs here and certainly understand that liquid cash is completely different from one’s assets, but the fact that owners are using the short-term loss of ticket/concession/merchandise revenue as the chief reason not to spend in free agency is clearly more of a ploy than it is an act of desperation.

If the long-term outlook of sports franchises is more bullish than anything, then what’s the harm in adding another $40-$50 million to the payroll in the short term?

So you mean to tell us a franchise like the Dodgers, which is worth $3.4 billion, needs to lay off employees shortly after a World Series win to save money? And it’s absolutely necessary they remain under the luxury tax threshold for 2021? And the futures surrounding some very integral players like Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw are going to hang in the balance until this whole thing is fully in the clear?

Again, we understand letting the market develop, exploring your options and making shrewd long-term decisions, but don’t forget Major League Baseball orchestrated a similar lull in free agency in consecutive offseasons a few years ago when they waited to sign some of the game’s best players with little time to go until Opening Day.

This isn’t anything new. MLB has been penny-pinching for a while, and with the prediction that sports franchises are only going to increase in value even with the pandemic upending every aspect of our daily lives, it’s sad to see the rich using it as leverage.