My Take on the Crisis
By Dan Arnold
The doom and gloom started out Saturday and spread really quickly but not that since no one really seems to be considering this big news outside of Quebec. TSN, the Globe, CNNSI haven't even mentioned any problems in Exposland so obviously they consider this a minor blimp on the radar screen and the question is whether or not we should too. We don't know what has happened but there are a few things we do know:
-Loria is asking the owners for 70 million to cover his losses:
We know he looked at the books before taking over the team so he must have assumed he wouldn't have needed the cash then. He also increased the payroll by 13 million so he must have assumed he could afford the increase. This means he must think the revenue is down from what he projected but we may very well meet the 1.6 million he asked for so it's not coming from there. There is also no way the TV/radio deal is worth 30 million so Loria clearly is up to something. It's fairly clear to me that there's a power struggle going on between Loria and the rest of the group with Loria trying to take over as majority owner by forcing the others to sell to him. There are really only two reasons I could see him doing this:
a) He's a carpetbagger and the whole plan to get the team was a plan to get them to move south. There is some backing for this since he hasn't been pushing straigh ahead of Labatt Park and has not stepped forward to stop rumours the team is moving. He also hasn't hired a marketing director giving the lame excuse that no one wants a 6 figure salary. However, we also have to consider that there were some provisions signed between him the owners, the gvt, and MLB when he took over that prohibit him from moving the team so I'm not sure how he'd work it out. Also, if he wanted the team in another town, he could have waited until the local group collapsed and Brochu decided to sell to outside interests and stepped in there.
b) He's frustrated with the local owners small time approach and lack of funds. We know Coutu wants the team to stay in the Big Owe and Loria may rightfully feel that this wouldn't work. He then wants to get complete controle so he can do things his way and build the Labatt Park he wants. We know he's a hands on guy so this is very possible. I suppose we have to hope that this is the case because if scenario A plays out, the team is gone unless Bronfman steps in. However there are a few holes in that first scenario so I'm going to keep hoping that Loria does still have good intentions although the rumours are alarming.
As for how this thing will play itself out, I don't know. I still think Steven Bronfman will somehow be the answer to this riddle and that Labatt Park will be built but not before this team comes within 24 hours of moving south. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
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