Contrary to Fox Sports reports earlier in the week quoting Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III as saying that St. Louis is in better financial position than most teams because of the All-Star Game being played at Busch Stadium, Fox's Ken Rosenthal reports that the Redbirds' front office is telling agents they're broke.
Not that they are trying to keep the powder dry, maintain flexibility, avoid paralysis, be in position to make a move in spring training... or the trade deadline. But that they are flat, stone cold busted.
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That begs the question of how they can they be out of money when they didn't spend any? The St. Louis payroll is projected to top out at $93 million after Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick are brought back into the fold when their arbitration cases are resolved. The team claims to have spent $110 million on salaries last season although Major League Baseball indicates the number was actually about $101 million.
DeWitt said earlier in the week that the Cardinals have seen fewer season ticket holders cancel their plans than other clubs because of the opportunity they have to buy all-star tickets.
"While the Cardinals are comfortable with their rotation and not interested in Looper, the recession clearly is affecting the way they do business," Rosenthal said. "Club officials are telling agents that they are out of money, a stunning development considering that the team will host the All-Star Game this season. In a better economy, the Cardinals probably could have banked on the All-Star Game to boost season-ticket sales and other revenues. Not this season."
What a stunning turnaround in the course of less than a week.
I'll tell the Cardinals who the recession is clearly affecting: Me. But I wrote my season ticket check. I'm sick and tired of the constant excuses and this one isn't going to wash. What happened to the money the team had to spend last season when it raised tickets and then couldn't find anybody good enough to spend the cash on? Now, suddenly not only is that money gone but the team needs to cut payroll 15-20 percent?
When Busch Stadium opened in 2006 the Cardinals cut off season tickets, supposedly because they wanted casual fans to be able to buy walk-up tickets. Now we're supposed believe that things are so bad that a team that consistently draws 3 million fans and ranks in the top five in attendance can't afford to be in the top 40 percent of MLB clubs in terms of payroll?
Bull. That's all I can say. Bull.