Billy Beane is lying to you.
In a recent S.F. Chronicle article, Susan Slusser wrote:
Oakland lost money for the first time this century, with an expected shortfall of several million dollars, according to Beane.
This is totally untrue and easily refutable. Oakland lost money? Really? Objective sports economists and journalists disagree.
Like Forbes Magazine, which revealed that last year alone the A's turned a $23 million profit. Also, the A's have averaged a $23 million annual profit for the past three years.
Slusser also blames the A's "woes" on the fact that they raised the team payroll $15 million in 2010. But again, that doesn't add up -- literally. It's as simple as 23 minus 15 equals 8, as in: If the A's are profiting $23 million each year, as Forbes says, then a $15 million payroll bump still leaves them with an $8 million profit. In one year alone.
Or look at CSNBayArea sportswriter Ray Ratto's recent column:
There is nothing particularly new about Billy Beane’s interest in the Athletics’ stadium issue. He’s been telling this one for awhile now ... we can assume that once again, John Fisher and Lew Wolff didn’t actually lose real money ... Why this fiction continues is a marvel of modern mythmaking ...
Then there's this September column where Ratto all but accuses Beane and Wolff of lying:
The A’s are clearly playing the extort-a-ballpark game yet again ... We’ve never believed that, and we never will. The A’s are deliciously profitable every year because of the revenue sharing pixie. ... Nice try, but the smart folks aren’t buying.
Plus, if Beane blows an extra $15 million on players and the team still stinks, isn't that Beane's fault? C'mon, the Tampa Bay Rays have had a lower payroll than the A's for years and the Rays made the playoffs three of the past four years and had a World Series appearance, which Beane's teams have never accomplished.
We're also perplexed why Beane thinks that claiming the A's lost money in 2011 for the "first time this century" makes his point. Assuming he means the first 11 years of the 21st Century ... We have to ask, if the A's have been profitable that whole time, then why have they constantly whined about money and talked about moving the team in that time period? Because a lot of teams would love to have turned a profit each year for the past decade.
Also, consider this ...
From 1995-99, the Giants averaged $20 million annual losses and lost about $97 million combined. That investment paid off beautifully for the Giants, of course, once they moved into AT&T Park in 2000 in their longtime hometown.
Wolff and Beane could do the same thing with the A's in Oakland if they were, you know, actual businessmen willing to invest, instead of what they really are: shady guys playing a fixed economic game, like gambling addicts rigging MLB's equivalent of a casino roulette wheel. It's a dirty game in which exactly two things always lose: the fan and integrity.
Since 1995, Oakland A's fans have put up with a lot of abuse from the team's owners, but few things are as painful to watch as seeing Beane –- a guy we once admired for his perceived loyalty and integrity -- turn completely into a dishonest sellout.
As Ratto wrote: "Nice try, but the smart folks aren’t buying."