Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If I Owned a MLB Team

Last night I was talking on the phone with my friend Bill for the first time in a couple weeks and after catching up on what was new with each other, (him: chronically masturbating and playing Warcraft, me: chronically masturbating and playing Guitar Hero) and discussing at length the underrated ferociousness of honey badgers, the conversation turned to how we should try to purchase and ultimately run a Major League Baseball team. We discussed this for a short time and after our conversation ended I continued to think about how I would go about purchasing and operating a baseball team and, while laying in bed, I wished that I had some kind of forum where I could write down my ideas and publish them on the internet to share with others. That's when I remembered that I run and neglect a blog about the Detroit Tigers so I ceased writing my ownership ideas in an old notebook from my Torts class (whatever that is) that had been lying around my bedroom for a couple of years and decided to share them with you my readers... err... reader...err...the 35 Canadians who stumble across my website after doing a Google image search of Kate Beckinsale. Enjoy.

Step 1: Finding the Money: Obviously this is the biggest obstacle in my desire to own a team, because the last time I checked I didnt have $300 million dollars kicking around my bank account, unless some rich distant relative that I just made up right now and who I will call Count Cyrus von Fizzlebottom IV passes away and bequeaths me hundreds of millions of Deutsche Marks and scores of Nazi war memorabilia on the condition I spend the night in his haunted Hessian castle....let me check my bank account and see if this has happened......nope. Sorry that was stupid. Anyways if I'm lucky I have about $300 in my savings at any given moment, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars in debt I've accrued over the past three years chasing a graduate degree in a field I have no desire to practice in, but thats a different story for a different place, namely a suicide note...but I digress. If all of my friends and I cobbled together our assets and formed some sort of investment group we could probably afford to purchase a used Buick Lesabre from one of our grandparents but we would still be several hundreds of millions of dollars shy of being able to purchase a major league team. Also I wouldn't want to share control of the team with my friends because they are mostly idiots and I secretly hate them all, and by secretly I really mean openly and aggressively. For example if a rival team offered my friend T.J. the March '98 issue of Playboy with Jamie Pressly, a 1994 purple Ford Taurus and 20 lbs of brown, dried out weed in exchange for our teams best player he would sign off on it in a heartbeat (although I think he would still be exponentially better than Randy Smith...zing) and I would have to take him to court and get an injunction to stop him every time this happened....I think....I might have to hire a lawyer to handle these kinds of legal matters. So how would I come up with the cash? Work hard? Hahahaha...Oh God no. Mine for gold in the Ozarks? Intriguing but no. I need to marry rich. I need to find a widowed multi-millionaire and woo her (that's what the kids call it today isnt it? Or do they still call it courting?) until she named me the sole beneficiary in her will just days before a tragic SCUBA diving vacation in the shark infested waters off the coast of South Africa. I figure that after this tragedy befalls me 3 or 4 different times I'll be able mourn my wives passing in a way that would honor their respective legacies. Namely purchasing a baseball team and having enough money left over to marry some hot 19 year old Italian supermodel who'll spend her days riding a jet ski in dead wife #2's swimming pool.

Step 2: What Team Should I Purchase?: I would probably have to purchase one of the lower valued franchises in baseball because I can only murder so many times before I arouse suspicion, likely from some private eye who I imagine looking like Spencer Tracy. Plus all the big market teams are worth way too much money which means I probably couldn't afford to purchase my beloved Tigers. Since I'm assuming I couldn't own the Tigers I would like to avoid having to compete against them because as an owner, my main objective would be making the playoffs every year but I would still like the Tigers to be successful so that conflict of interest cancels out the other teams in the A.L. Central like the Indians, White Sox, Royals and Twins. Tampa Bay and Florida seem like obvious choices when it comes to purchasing a team but a part of me wishes to own a team with a more storied tradition to go along with a disenchanted fan base and an owner reportedly looking to cash in on his team and getting the hell out of town. After looking over the major teams and evaluating these factors all signs point to the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team to buy. The Pirates according to this article are the third least valuable franchise in baseball with a price tag of $274 million, they havent had a winning season in 15 years. Despite their recent ineptitude the Pirates date back to 1882 have legendary players like Honus Wagner, Arky Vaughan, Roberto Clemente, John Candelaria and Kent Tekulve, sleeveless uniforms, some of the ugliest hats in history and 5 World Series Titles. Finally for years there have been rumors of the team being up for sale including hope that native son Mark Cuban would buy and turn around the team much like he did with the NBA's once equally putrid Dallas Mavericks. So relax Bucs fans because friendly and altruistic new owner Andrew Stout Esq. is here to salvage your franchise and keep the resurgent Pirates in town forever......or is he?

Step 3: Relocation?: A part of me wants to be evil. I always thought that if I were given a lot of money or a superpower I would use it for maleficent purposes. For example if I were insanely wealthy I would act like a Bond villain and live on a big island that featured a large mountain in the shape of a skull. I would wear a monocle, smoke long thin cigarettes and hold the world hostage with Cold-War era nuclear weapons I had commissioned from broke Russian scientists who were subsequently dissolved in a vat of hydrochloric acid...and I would have henchmen, lots of henchmen.....what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, being an evil team owner. So what's my plan for evil? The threat of relocation to Montreal. I know Pittsburgh just spent hundreds of million in building a beautiful new baseball stadium and have continually supported a team that hasnt won a title since '79 nor had a winning season in 15 years but as much as I admire progressive team owners like Cuban a large part of me wants to be seen as the Art Modell of baseball. The evil man wearing a trenchcoat and proudly hoisting a World Series trophy in front of thousands of apathetic French-Canadians, possibly the most insufferable group of people on the planet, during a victory parade down rue Sainte-Catharine while disgruntled Bucs fans curse my name. Why would I chose Montreal, a city that has already failed as a viable baseball market and was so clueless they still might not be aware that the Expos left for Washington 3 seasons ago? Because I love the city and I loved the Expos who were my adopted National League team when I was young. Four years ago my sister and I drove all the way to Montreal for the sole purpose of checking out an Expos game before the team was supposedly going to be contracted and it was like a ballpark experience unlike any other I had before or since. Of the 5,000 people in attendance that day, my sister and I were the only two who weren't chain smoking. Even the lady who made my nachos had to set down her cigarette before getting my cheese. Olympic Stadium was/is a monstrosity that served not only as a baseball stadium but also a giant semi-truck parking lot and a dirtbike track plus it has those badass Maple Leaf painted foul poles that extend all the way to the ceiling. The players came up to bat to the sounds of French techno music and the fanbase was made up of indifferent fans who were more excited about the Habs starting training camp in a month than anything happening on the field. In spite of all of this unless Pittsburgh is going to give a new publicly financed stadium or some sweet tax breaks I'm moving the Bucs from the Allegheny to the St. Lawrence AND I'm taking Kent Tekulve's glasses with me.

Step 4: Assembling a Staff: I would give myself the titles of owner, president, G.M., and CEO of erotic sales for Les Nouveau Expos de Montreal (I'm sure I butchered that French translation but my four years of high school French consisted of sleeping in class, drawing penises in the churchy girls notebook and looking up words like "cock" in the dictionary, which translates to "le cocque"). I would also manage the team Connie Mack style, sitting on a wooden stool in the dugout wearing a three piece suit with a pocket watch which of course would be covered by a satin warm-up jacket. I would also steal Mack's or John McGraw's nickname and make it French so the papers would refer to me as Le Grand Tacticien or Le Petit Napoleon (once again I apologize for my French this is all a rough translation but French Canadians speak retard French anyways so they wouldn't even notice....phonies). My friend Bill would be the assistant G.M. and bench coach because he took a class in statistics while he was in grad school and could understand, explain to me using sock puppets and use all of the metrics available for player evaluation, making him drastically more qualified than someone like Kenny Williams. Mickey Tettleton would be the bullpen coach and roving minor league catching instructor as well as the highest salaried and most handsome coach on the team. My aforementioned friend T.J. would be my pitching coach because he knows how to throw a knuckleball and just about every other off-speed/junk pitch known to man, plus he's fat, he curses a lot and he says a lot of bizarre things so the media would love his quirkiness. He would be like a young Don Zimmer with an addiction to karaoke, Three-Six Mafia albums and weed. My hitting coach would be Rob Deer just so hipster baseball fans in faded vintage Rusty Staub t-shirt jerseys would choke to death on the irony. I would hire former Expo legend (and I'm using the term legend loosely here) Tim Wallach as the third base coach to rekindle local interest in the team and I would hire current Tigers first base coach and former Pirates star Andy Van Slyke as the first base coach just to twist the knife for Bucs fans (Sorry, I personally don't have a problem with Bucs fans, in fact having gone through over a decade of losing seasons as a Tigers fan including the worst single season in American League history I empathize with them).
Step 5: Atmosphere: My first order of business as owner would be to bring back the bullpen car. I would want this car to be as authentic to the bullpen car era as possible, so it would have to be a bumper car like on Bases Loaded for NES or a 1983 AMC Eagle painted red, white and blue, either way it doesn't matter. My second order of business would be a mandate that all of my players, in a show of team unity and for my own amusement, grow big bushy mountain man beards like Bill Lee circa 1979. Anyone who couldn't grow a beard would be immediately put on waivers or demoted outright to the teams new AAA club in Flint. I'm looking at you Jack Wilson. Fan giveaways would consist of Al Oliver bobbleheads, Bill Gullickson maple syrup dispensers and on what would undoubtedly be the only sellouts of the year Ellis Valentine ashtrays and free packs of Player Navy Cut cigarettes (Are these jokes about smoking French-Canadians and references to old Expos tiresome yet, because I have more......o.k. even I'm tired of them). Finally every team needs a celebrity fan. Someone like Jeff Daniels for the Tigers (ugh), Bob Seger and Kid Rock for the Pistons and ummmmm........that one guy who sings the fight songs for the Lions I guess. So whose the mystery celebrity fan? Only Andrew's favorite Canadian star that keeps me up until all hours of the morning in hopes of catching just a fleeting glimpse of them on T.V. Alan Thicke. Wait, wait...I mean Avril Lavigne. (If you think that last sentence was a complete throw-away to run a gratuitous photo of Avril Lavigne then you know me to well.)