Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reusse Continues Reign of Idiocy

I'm not trying to turn this into a Fire Joe Morgan type blog against Patrick Reusse, but after his Royce White column, I couldn't resist taking a peak here and there to see what he was up to. After reading his latest piece attacking the former owner of the Wild guy and extolling the virtues of Carl Pohlad, I am now starting to wonder how he has a job.

His premise is that the Wild owner, Bob Naegele, is a bad guy because he sold the Wild for a profit and then moved back to Florida, while the Pohlads are heroes because they still live in Minnesota. Pretty dubious already, but Minnesota is very homercentric, so maybe he's just trying to cater to that audience. Whatever. Let's move on.

The first four paragraphs describe the disappointing Wild season after going out in the first round. I don't really follow hockey - at all - but that sounds like a good article, if that was the point he was trying to make it - which it isn't. That was all leading up to this:

The stage was set for the Wild's early departure at the Feb. 26 trading deadline, when President/GM Doug Risebrough's only move was to bring in Chris Simon.

He played in 10 of 19 regular-season games and two of the six games against the Avalanche. He didn't have a goal or an assist, nor did he hit an opponent over the head with a stick.

That last fact could mean one of two things: A) Simon has learned his lesson; or B) He moves so slowly these days that he can't catch an opponent to goon him.

I truly wish I followed hockey more closely, because I don't really know what was available, if the Wild had the parts to get what was available, and what would have been a good move. From a cursory glance at the NHL Trade Deadline transactions, it appears that other than the Penguins, most teams moves involved picking up a player for a sixth or seventh round pick, just what the Wild gave up, so it looks like their move wasn't out of the ordinary.

What's more, is they would have had to pay Simon a salary, whereas if they keep the pick instead, that guy wouldn't get paid until he was brought up to the Wild. Thus, Patrick's little insinuation that Naegele didn't make a bigger move in order to save money is absurd.

Naegele's departure was greeted with great hoorays for his noble work as a Minnesota sports owner. He accepted this praise with giggles and grins, then returned home to Naples, Fla., with his huge profit.

I don't really understand what this is supposed to mean. I mean, he lives in Florida. There's no state income tax there. A lot of pro athletes live there for just that reason, doesn't mean they hate where they play. Derek Jeter lives in Florida, but he's known universally as a "True Yankee" and Pat seems very much like the kind of guy who would suck Jeter's jock. As a matter of fact he is, having written an article entitled Jeter Continues to be a Most Special Yankee. Puke.

Who else thinks this is Pat's way of trying to make him sound extra evil? How dare he make a profit after taking an expansion team and turning them into a playoff team! And if I recall, the dude he sold the Wild to is the kind of guy who has always dreamed of owning a hockey team. The exact kind of guy you want running a team. If Naegele is evil, him selling the team should be Nirvana to Pat.

Here's where his stellar research skills come into play:

The Wild has claimed nothing but sellouts for seven seasons. The parent company, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, doesn't publicly reveal its books, but the conversation in local business circles is that the hockey team's annual profits have approached $30 million.

We'll call that generous by 25 percent, and concede that Naegele's group lost money -- say, $10 million -- during the lockout season of 2004-05. There were also $20 million in startup costs. So, let's take a shot at this.

Naegele group's costs: $80 million, plus $45 million, plus $20 million, plus that $10 million loss, equals $155 million. Naegele group's profits: $260 million from Leipold and Falcone and $168 million for seven seasons of big profits equals $428 million.

That would mean Naegele cashed out with a profit of 276 percent after eight years of operation in a brand-new, publicly financed, high-revenue arena, to go to Florida to pay his personal taxes, and he's heroic, right?

Don't you love all the guesswork and hypotheticals here? Even better, is with just the smallest amount of effort, I was able to find this list from Forbes giving the financials of every team in the NHL for the 2007 season. According to this, the Wild actually LOST $1.7 million that year. In 2006, they did post a profit - but of $4.7 million, not $30 million. Honestly, his number of $30 million is so far beyond what I can find FACTUALLY it has me doubting my own sanity here. Let's double check, he says "conversation in local business circles is that the hockey team's annual profits have approached $30 million." Annual. Profit. $30 million. Yep, it's all there. I'm going to go with Forbes on this one.

Not to mention nobody knows the sale price of the Wild. It hasn't been reported, but rumors are it was around $260 million, the amount of profit reported by Pat. I'm beginning to think he has no idea what profit actually means.

Meantime, Carl Pohlad has been operating the Twins in the low-revenue Metrodome for 24 years. Pohlad's original investment in 1984 was $38 million, and that now stands at $150 million after more losing than profitable years in the Dome.

Now it really gets rich. $150 million? Guess what again. You can find the actual value of the Twins with just the slightest bit of effort. Forbes was kind enough to do baseball as well, and they list the Twins with a value of $328 million. The year before? $314 million. I have no idea where $150 million comes from, and I suspect neither does Pat. Must have been the word on the street again. Guess how much the Lynx are worth? Stabby Joe down at the barbershop told me he heard eleventy billion dollars!

As with Naegele, Pohlad was supposed to pay for one-third of the actual stadium ($130 million of $390 million), but that already has been added to with $15 million to help with land cost overruns and $22 million for ballpark enhancements.

Notice here, how Pat adds the new added costs into Pohlad's investment, but neglects to raise the costs incurred by Hennepin County. Yes, Pohlad's investment goes from $130 million to $152 million, but after adding in infrastructure and financing costs, the county pays not $260 million, but $350 million. Giving a total of $502 million, less than a third of which is paid for Pohlad. So one could argue Carl is getting a better deal than Naegele did. But I have a feeling arguing with Pat would be much like arguing with a lamp.

The Pohlads also have a covenant in their ballpark deal that if they sell the team in the first 10 years, the state gets a cut of the sale price. Naegele simply took his gigantic profit and ran back to Florida fewer than eight years after the first puck was dropped in St. Paul.

Good for Naegele. Frankly, it's a horrible clause for Pohlad to sign.

Yet, he's such a grand fellow, and those miserly Pohlads are taking advantage of us, even if they will have $327 million (or more) invested in keeping baseball in Minnesota by the time the new yard opens, and even if they did commit $152 million to Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer during this offseason.

This is the second time he's referred to Naegele as if he's hero worshipped around here, and frankly, he isn't. The guy was instrumental in bringing hockey back to Minnesota, and in this hockey-retarded state that isn't something to be taken lightly, but I don't think he's looked at the same way as Bud Grant. Seriously, if you want to write an article about a guy who is hero worshipped who shouldn't be, start there.

Anyway, I do agree it was great that they signed Morneau and Cuddyer. Morneau is a star, even though he probably shouldn't have won the MVP he did, and Cuddyer is a nice player who was signed for a nice price. I still think they'd be better off trading Nathan at the deadline since they aren't a playoff team, but whatever. But here's a good place to address the "losses" the Pohlads put up with every year. Once again, from our good friends at Forbes. Guess how much the Twins made last season? $23.8 million. Profit. The previous year? $14.8 million. Poor Carl. It should be noted here that Santana signed for $19 million this year, which, based on the $23.8 million profit from last season would leave Pohlad about $5 million for the cryogenic freezing process that keeps him alive if he would have just signed Santana.

Oh, and one more note: The Pohlads remain Minnesota taxpayers.

Pat's big finish. Pretty much the most nonsensical piece of this entire article, which is saying an awful lot.

Honestly, I've never seen so much disinformation spread since my history teacher tried to tell me the holocaust happened. I think in Pat's world, he comes up with an idea, and then just writes his article without actually looking anything up. "Facts" and "research" are just fancy words for nerds. There are a lot of numbers here, but every single one of them is a supposition by Pat, a half-truth, or an outright fabrication.

The irony of all ironies or hypocracy of all hypocracies or whatever you want to go with here, is that Reusse himself wrote an article degrading bloggers for their lack of professionalism. The article is no longer linkable on startribune.com, but luckily, the guys at Fire Joe Morgan already went after him.

Honestly, this guys sucks. I have decided that this is the best representation of Pat Reusse:


The Sidler said...

Buzz Bissinger wants to kick Reusse's ass for this terrible article!

Honestly, Reusse left out the most philanthropic owner in Minnesota, Glen Taylor, who is clearly not interested in making money.

A couple other things:

1. What the fuck is Naegle supposed to do, take a sub-market price for the team?

2. The NHL has a salary cap and the Wild, from what I know, were basically right up against the cap this year. Again, what the fuck is Naegle supposed to do to bring in a superstar, ask Glen Taylor how to draw up an illegal contract?

3. Seriously, where the hell did Reusse get his numbers? Did he ask what the Expos were worth when they moved and assume the Twins current value is equal to that since the Dome is almost as bad as Le Stade Olympique?

4. Pohlad does get unfairly criticized, in my opinion. The Twins have had a middle-of-the-road payroll over the past few years, which is above their revenue rank.

I'm pretty sure some dude in his parents' basement can make up shit as well as Reusse did for this article.

Anonymous said...

That article had a lot of words. I read them all.

I'm guessing that there are two types of people who own sports teams (both are richer than astronauts):
1) Crazy sports fanatic who's dream it was to own a team ever since they were little. This type does not give a damn about making a profit but is making a dream come true.
2) Buisness man who is looking to turn a profit with his money (this seems like a pretty damn good idea to me). Naegle was clearly the second type and his good buisness sense probably landed him a hefty profit. Good for him.

That being said, it's the discression of the person who has the money at stake and until Reusse is in the same situation, he has no right to comment.


Bear said...

Fin - Are you retarded? Reusse is a columnist, he is paid to offer his commentary.

So we are back to the brilliant reasoning that Person A can only criticize/comment on Person B if Person A has been/is in the same situation or has the same type of job as Person B. If this is true, you are a hypocrite. You don't know what is like to be a professional columnist, so you certainly shouldn't criticize Reusse.

Honestly, that type of logic is as stupid as, "You never played the game."

klinger said...

Isn't this article kind of out of touch with reality based on its premise? There are still a fair number of people who loathe Pohlad for the way he has run the team over the years, but that attitude has waned since the stadium deal was completed (we should instead focus on loathing Pohlad for the following two facts, both conveniently neglected by Reusse):

1. Pohlad is the richest owner in baseball, as reported in Reusse's paper -http://www.startribune.com/business/16332206.html
2. Pohlad's fortune was predominately made by foreclosing on farm owners

Additionally, I love how Reusse makes no comment of one of the key driver's of many of the deals cut with Naegle - THE CITY OF ST. PAUL WAS DYING! Without a major sports team, the economic viability of our capital city was in question. Of course there were some sweet deals to be had for the lucky billionaire who could convince the NHL that a team should land here.

WWWWWW said...

I think in all this discussion we're losing focus on the main point here, which is that Reusse completely made up numbers to fit his premise.

Bear said...

Not to defend Reusse here, but don't different publications always come up with different numbers as to the value, revenues, etc. for professional franchises. It's not as if leagues and their teams are making their balance sheets available to the public.

P.S. Where the hell are Dawg, Bogart, and The Todd?

WWWWWW said...

I agree, and if the numbers were anywhere near each other, I wouldn't have even written about it. But where he says $30 million, Forbes says between -1.4 and 4.8. Where he says $150 million, Forbes says 328. The differences are huge, and reading the rest of the article it's pretty clear he just made everything up. He's such a pro.

Optimator said...

If you are a professional writer for a sports column you need to accurately cite your sources. Creditable ones. Not what Joe Blow on the street says. Leave the fictional numbers to less than exceptional bloggers (only exceptional bloggers found here). I could have written that garbage. No wonder people don't read newspapers anymore. Gag me.

It seems to me that the papers are pushing their writers to be more like the writers in the blogosphere. They are truly taking a more editorial stance as opposed to reporting with an unbiased approach. The problem is that most of the writers for these papers are NoTAC when it comes to that style.

Long story short, Ruesse sounds like a bitter old man that bases his articles on hearsay and piss-poor rhetoric.

Faldo said...

WWWW these guys will not get your point on fabricating these numbers, because they are the same shlubs that get mad when you prove things about players (in any sport) with facts and numbers. These guys, even though most seem outraged, do the same thing on this blog that Pat does, they continuously make comments and take positions based on emotion and their "gut" feel...sad...great read though WWWW. Golf yet?

joe said...

Hey Faldo, stop custing all over WWWW. And golf is boring. Yeah, I said it.

Bear said...

Completely off topic. When reading/watching/listening to things about the way the Twins have let superstar players go during the past decade, who exactly are they talking about? (Other than Santana/Hunter)

P.S. Golf with Tiger is boring. Golf without Tiger is slit your wrist boring.

WWWWWW said...

I think people like to lump Ortiz in there, despite the fact that nobody, except Boston apparently, saw what he would become and that the decision wasn't financially based.

snacks said...

I think they are going back to the Knoblauch trade, which was the first big one I believe. I can't think of anyone else off of the top of my head. Ortiz was not even close to a "superstar" when the Twins let him go - he only became one afterwards. (just like Casey Blake!) People (idiots) might be adding in people like Koskie, Mientkiewicz, Jones, etc. but they sure weren't superstars and I don't actually remember the circumstances under which any of them left.

p.s. No new posts in three days? this blog sucks!

Dawg said...

I didn't disagree with these moves but they probably include Hawkins, Guardado, Silva and Milton. All players were worth more on the open market then the Twins were willing to pay.

Dawg said...

I didn't disagree with these moves but they probably include Hawkins, Guardado, Silva and Milton. All players were worth more on the open market then the Twins were willing to pay.

snacks said...

people are probably including those non-superstars. but there is a difference between being too cheap to pony up the cash to sign a deserving player and recognizing that someone is going to overpay a player and not wanting to be that someone.

Dharma Bum said...

From what I understood from when the twins were almost contracted, the profit and loss numbers includes debt service on the team. So cranky Carl took out a loan to buy the twins and if he doesn't make enough money to cover the loan he calls it a loss. It seems kind of shady to me because when he croaks and his kids sell, they get a lot of profit. I could have this completely wrong, I work at a bank, but I'm not a banker.