At $2.68 billion, the Cubs rank fourth behind the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox. This estimated value is more than three times what the Ricketts family paid for the team and Wrigley Field about seven and a half years ago ($845 million). The article notes the Cubs’ new plaza and office building opening, and says this is part of a real estate trend among teams:
The San Francisco Giants are undertaking a $1.6 billion development that will include office and retail space, 1,500 rental units (40% of which will be affordable housing), 3,100 parking spaces, including a new parking garage to serve AT&T Park, and eight acres of public space and parks, including a redesigned China Basin at the northern edge of the site.
The Atlanta Braves, who opened SunTrust Park this season, are developing The Battery Atlanta nearby. This project will include stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as approximately 600 upscale residences and a 265-room hotel. The Texas Rangers are looking to follow suit.
This all sounds great for baseball, except the article also notes:
If these projects are successful, the teams will not benefit directly that much in terms of additional revenue. But their owners will.
An article by Bill Baer at Hardball Talk notes that even with all these billions of dollars flowing into major-league baseball, minor leaguers are still getting the short end of the stick for pay and benefits. Baer writes that the Phillies have made a $1 million investment in better nutrition for their minor-league players. That’s a good start, but:
Teams should follow the Phillies’ lead not just when it comes to diet and nutrition, but in other aspects of their players’ lives. Paying them a living wage will reduce their stress, allowing them to concentrate fully on baseball rather than making sure the electric stays on in the winter. It will allow them to spend the offseason focusing on maintaining a good workout regimen, rather than taking an offseason job in manual labor that can potentially result in a career-ending injury. It will allow players to afford a reliable car, rather than driving a 20-year-old beat-up car that can break down on the highway at any second. It will allow players to afford their own housing, rather than cramming in with six other players in a three-bedroom apartment. They’ll sleep better. Even sleep is something some teams are just now realizing is important.
Congratulations, Major League Baseball, on continuing to make money hand over fist. Now pay your minor leaguers.
It wouldn’t cost that much, in the multi-billion dollar business that is major-league baseball, to increase minor-league pay to a living wage, so that players still trying to get to the big leagues don’t have to do the things noted in the quote above.
Baseball has never been so financially successful. It’s time MLB spread the wealth around.