Rob Carr / AP
I know for myself personally, the action of trying to convince and construct a viable financial way for me to mortgage my vested future for use today would retroactively reduce my chances of enjoying my retirement or grant me some forms of comfort in my so-called “Golden Years”. So it is a bit strange to me that the Tampa Bay Rays keep taking bucket loads of money from their financial future reserves and plopping it into their wallets for use now for the upgrades for their 2010 payroll.
Could the Rays prospects of increasing their 2010 payroll to its breaking point really be justified in their minds that it increases the teams playoff chances in 2010? And even if this team is headed by a pretty savvy and financially rich money Mensa, in an unstable investment market is it really wise to hedge your fiscal future for your present wants and desires? You have to honestly think that the Rays are hedging some of their monetary hopes on the possibility that the Chicago Cubs will eventually cave in and send to them a nice full money bag of about $ 10 million to close out their trade end of the revolving Burrell/Bradley circus.
Might the ending of the Burrell/Bradley sweepstakes be the anticipated fiscal prize the team needs to add a level of firm stability to the Rays 2010 payroll and also safeguard their future payrolls. Or maybe the Rays front office could further amuse and confuse their fan base by continuing to open their pocketbook and signing another reliever or player so far out of their financial means that Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg will be seen modeling a nice wrap-around jacket that buckles in the back, and surrounded by a few new friends dressed in white coats.
I already think the Rays have gone above and beyond their projected 2010 allowance given to them by Sternberg, and now are scrambling for a every single dollar to find a few needed pieces in the bargain basement for their Bullpen. And their financial situation was not made an easier when the Rays traded for closer Rafael Soriano and then gave him around 7.25 million reasons to play for the Rays in 2010. I am worried that the Rays have might gambled heavily on their present roster concerns with a blind eye to their future Rays plans for the high risk chance to hopefully again hoist a piece of metal high into the air.
And to make the Rays sweat even more, their top two rivals, the Red Sox and Yankees have not only opened their own bank accounts,but have quickly added some additional pieces to their teams. They have visually thrust their checkbooks into the Rays face to illustrate to the small market team that they will always be just meager spenders in this division. The Rays suspected payroll of around $ 71.1 million might not even put so much as a small dent into the 2010 plans of their two American League East rivals, and that fact should scare the Rays. The Rays will have to firmly adjust their future budget restrictions with their home grown talent hopefully closing the gap between the teams.
On this side of the financial equation, we can see the Rays financial noose starting to grip tightly around their necks with no clear answer to ease their fiscal pressure. And I know that in this fragile financial climate, that even a slight decrease, or even a free fall in attendance and revenues could cripple the team in 2011 and might send us back into the pre-2007 spending levels for players and talent for quite awhile.
If I went to a financial planner for advice, he would probably tell me that budgeting and allocating a certain amount to unforeseen problems is prudent and financially-wise for me. But he would also guard me against the dangers of trying to live too far above my own personal means, or obtaining revolving credit woes that would hasten financial ruin to become swift and unmerciful. He would then remind me that the mantra of ” living for today” might be a nice song to sing to the heavens, but in reality it doesn’t pay the bills.
And I know the Rays have a calculated and well formulated plan to borrow from the team’s future revenues and still have an adequate windfall for 2011 budget concerns. But I have seen this team come from some pretty low depths to find early bouts of success. I guess I am just worried that even as I see my own fortunes rise and fall like the tides that the Rays are also feeling this same concern.
And it would be a pity to one day wake up and see the Rays again struggling and trying to find ways to support the team when they had the money hidden away for a rainy day, and a big financial storm was brewing for them with massive concerns. I have a bad habit of forgetting that baseball is a business first and see it as just another single entity struggling in this financial climate. And for the Rays, their “Golden Years” are also ahead of them, and may, just maybe I want them to still be here when I am old and gray for can be the menacing old guy who tells tall tales of the “Good Ol’ Days”.