Duck Talk

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via scrapetv.com 

For some of his past interviews you can check out the Duck Talk Section where we ask the questions we want to ask and try to see through the cliche responses we normally get.  For those of you new to Duck Talk, this is a complete fabrication based on interviews within my troubled mind.

As Eric meticulously keeps track of the Dodger payroll now and in the future, some of the most disturbing information about the future of that payroll was unveiled last week by Jamie McCourt. Sure these are simply the tools that a philandering wife is using to get the judge to ante her monthly alimony  upto the 1,000,000 (dang that is a lot of zeros)  level but they were sure interesting in the detail.

As noted by Bill Shakin (a must read if you ask me) the Dodgers have already driven revenue to new highs, but while the revenue stream has skyrocketed  the payroll drops % wise.  The future revenue model expects revenue to continue to expand upto 500 Million but at the same time the payroll would stay static once it reached 125 Million.  So while the Dodgers at the moment have a payroll among the top ten teams in baseball, the payroll  relative to their revenue's has to rank in the bottom ten. Based on the model for the future they will continue to co-habitate with the bottom dwellers at the bottom of payroll % paid out relative to revenue. 

Eric already brought up this quote from the Shalkin article.

The Dodgers spent 46% of revenue on player compensation in 2007 and 42% in 2008, according to the documents. The projections call for that percentage to fall to 25% by 2013 and remain at about 25% through 2018.

Commissioner Bud Selig encourages teams to spend about one-half their revenue on player compensation, according to two high-ranking major league executives contacted by The Times.

"That's Bud's rule of thumb," one of the sources said.

If you believe the quoted  executive that 50% is normal, then 25% would be worthy of a legitimate Dodger Duck outcry if I didn't think the model was simply putting the McCourt business enterprise in the best possible light by overstating revenue and understating expenses as they attempt to bring in investment.

Still the document is worth asking about, isn't it?

 

Aflac Duck: We have the brains and money of the Dodger Trust here to answer any question we deem to ask. Manny caused a bit of a stir when he said he won't be a Dodger next year. Will Manny be a Dodger next year?

Frank - No

Ned - Hell No

Joe - Not likely

Aflac Duck:So what was the uproar about when Manny was simply stating the obvious?

Frank - Our fans are not the brightest bulbs, I've jacked up the ticket prices by 100% since I  took over while reducing payroll and they keep buying tickets.

Ned  - Yup not the brightest bulbs. I've wasted more money and traded away more prospects then any GM over the last six years and I still have a fan club. Even Fire Ned Colletti gave up the ghost I'm so well liked these days.

Joe - Beats me, Yankee fans would have understood.

Aflac Duck: Joe and Ned what do you think about the numbers coming out in the divorce showing that Frank doesn't really plan to upgrade the payroll even as they expect revenues to continue to climb into the stratosphere?

Ned - it is Franks money, if he wants to have the lowest payroll to revenue in baseball that is his prerogative. Besides the payroll does not account for my salary and my 10 assistants. At the rate we have been adding assistants to the general manager, I may have 20 by 2015 so you have to take that into account when comparing payroll to revenue. Those great minds aren't cheap you know.

Joe -  I knew when I joined up with Frank he was no Steinbrenner. George was all about winning at all costs while I'm not sure what Frank is about. Still there is something to be said for not outspending your competition but out thinking them. We may not have the payroll of the Twins but we do have the Ned Braintrust which has done very well for us the last two years. I just hope when I join that brain trust in 2012 that I can measure up to their brilliance.

Frank - Hey, I'd like to interject here. Those numbers were simply an attempt to get a gullible investor to pony up some money. You can't use those as a basis for how we'd actually conduct business.  Jamie is simply trying to picture me as a villain.

Aflac Duck: So Frank, are you saying that if you hit those projected revenue numbers you will keep the payroll at the same % to revenue as the status quo?

Frank - well no,  plenty of variables will determine our payroll, and revenue will not be the deciding factor. If I spent the same % of payroll as the other teams how would you expect me to fund my mixed use development, or grease the Los Angeles Zoning officials, or make sure the neighborhood rights groups are happy?

Aflac Duck:  Okay, forget the McCourt Management document. Let us look at today. If the norm is 50% and you are spending  42% don't you all think that is a tad low given what the team who beat you in the last two NLCS is spending?

Ned - let me interject for Frank. You can't spend money simply to spend money. We got who we wanted this winter and that is all that counts. We simply don't have players like Utley, Rollins, Howard, and Halladay, so we don't need to spend money at the same level as the Phillies.

Frank - thanks Ned

Joe - Whoa, I wouldn't have minded a real 2nd baseman and a little better backup then the flotsam of NRI's that are going to be wasting my coaches time this spring. I could also have used some Wang.

Ned/Frank - we could all use some Wang but Wang ain't what it used to be.

Aflac Duck:The McCourt management document

anticipates a significant rise in club revenue, from $295 million in 2008 to $529 million in 2018, and in the average ticket price, from $29.40 in 2007 to $53.50 in 2018.

My astute duck like accounting mind does believe you would  raise ticket prices based on the model. Maybe you are overstating the expected growth in revenue to your possible investor but you might come close to that 500 Million. I don't really have a question, just want to say we at Aflac are impressed.

Aflac Duck: Plenty of fans were up in arms when Jamie said you don't pay any taxes? Joe and Ned what do you think the average fan thinks when he finds out the guy who owns the team doesn't pay any taxes while that same fan is struggling to find a way to make that April 15th deadline?

Ned - I can't answer for the average fan.

Joe - Neither can I, I've been making more money then the average person for 40 years now.  I'm loaded.

Frank - Once again Jamie is distorting the truth. We paid plenty in property taxes, have you seen my real estate holding? I'm living large and those properties come with a hefty price tag.  As far as the other tax issues, we are not doing anything illegal, we are simply using the tax loopholes provided for us  by a generous congress when it comes to manipulating the tax code for developers. Instead of paying taxes, we developers pay lobbyist so we are doing our job to stimulate the economy.  Fans simply need to understand we are not like them, we are rich and deserve whatever we can pay for.

Aflac Duck:  Most fans like to have a rooting interest in anything they follow. Why should Dodger fans root for Frank to win and have the court declare him the sole owner of the Dodgers?

Ned - I hope he he wins because this gig beats just about any other gig.

Joe - I don't really care, I can work for anyone. I don't really consider myself working for Frank , but for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Frank - I expect to be totally vindicated by the court, when I do win the future I envision for the Dodger property will manifest itself with beautiful expensive mixed use properties dotting the Chavez Ravine landscape. What Dodger fan doesn't want the wealthy patrons of Los Angeles able to live and party close to Dodger Stadium? Don't they want another Grove or Universal City? It would be like Staples on a hill? Glorious. Oh and a football team to boot just like Peter wanted.  Come to Dodger Stadium and spend your money watching the greatest collection of young talent to grace Dodger Stadium in over 35 years. Help me, help you to make my dreams come true.

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