By Scott Myers, Contributor
Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg behaves as one would expect of a Major League Baseball owner: pitching threats, illusion, and deceit to extort cities.
Declaring the price of a new stadium will increase with each passing year, Sternberg preposterously presented the possibility of a corporate entity paying $25 million per year for naming rights to a relocated Tampa Bay Rays stadium.
In such a case he said he would cough up about half of the estimated $800 million projected cost instead of his most recent offer of $150 million.
It is easy to understand why Stu Sternberg thinks he can raid the public treasury of $650 million. Look at the economic environment enjoyed by the fraternity of MLB owners:
• MLB revenues continue to grow as the percentage of player payrolls shrinks.
• Owners continue to negotiate incomprehensively expensive long term contracts with players.
• Non-roster players are paid hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
• Team valuations are soaring ever higher.
• Beleaguered taxpayers, betrayed by corrupt politicians, have been shelling out 65% of the cost of MLB stadiums.
And the latest from Sternberg and the amoral den of thieves? Spending more than $1 million for lobbyists that enable the legal payment of sub-minimum wages to minor leaguers.
Included in the recently passed Federal government’s $1.3 trillion spending measure is a provision to exempt MLB owners from having to pay the approximately 6,000 minor league players minimum wage and overtime. This mean-spirited action will save the 30 MLB teams about $8 million annually.
Meanwhile, back at the insane asylum during the 2017 MLB major league season, just 12 MLB players were each paid at least $10 million for the season while not playing a single game.
Early on in this 2018 MLB season, there are 16 $10 million+ idlers collecting $255 million.
Back in the real world, Hillsborough County teachers were not paid their promised raises in 2018 because of a $17 million shortfall. Teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia, victimized by the same lack of priorities for public education, are making it very clear that they are grossly underpaid and under supported. What a wacky world!
So maybe, MLB should have used that $1 million of lobbying money on looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they pay for players to not play instead of underpaying their minor league players.
That would fix one transgression anyway.
But Sternberg and his ilk know they can get away with a corrupt business model. All they need are cities with on-the-take politicos and pay-for-play papers that disguise propaganda as news.