The real standings
According to a report published Wednesday by Forbes Magazine, the Cardinals made $21.5 million in profit last season and the team's value increased 5 percent to $484 million, more than triple what the current ownership group paid for the team less than a decade and a half ago. (Not including the spinoff of the stadium parking garages.)
The Cardinals may not have won the NL Central on the field. But they were tops in the division in cash banked, edging out the Cubs by $100,000 and the Astros by $1 million. Overall, the Cardinals were the 9th most profitable team in baseball.
The Nationals made $43.7 million in profit last season while the average profit for a major league team was $16 million. The Yankees had the highest total revenue at $327 million. But the club's extravagant spending made it the franchise deepest in the red ink at a loss of $47.3 million in 2007.
Don't cry in your popcorn for the Yankees, though. The team's value increased nine percent to $1.306 billion. And I suspect the accounting in the Forbes story took into consideration only the money directly made by the team, not the cash its subsidiaries -- like the cable company it owns -- rake in.
The teams that are worth the least, Florida ($256 million), Tampa Bay ($290 million) and Pittsburgh ($292 million), were still very profitable. According to Forbes, the Marlins had an operating profit of $35.6 million, the Rays $29.7 million and the Pirates $17.6 million.
Only three teams made less money than they spent: Toronto (-$1.8 million), Boston (-$19.1 million) and the Yankees.