The Forbes Report

Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:30 AM EDT

Contributed by: Jordan

Paul Beeston gained a degree of baseball immortality when he famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) said: "Under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss, and I can get every accounting firm in the country to agree with me."

Which is to say, and the MLBPA would certainly agree, we oughtn't put a lot of faith in major-league baseball's financial statements. That said, here are some interesting figures from the current online edition of Forbes magazine.

Forbes' annual baseball edition features a chart showing the value of all 30 MLB franchises, along with assorted other economic goodies. Topping the list, unsurprisingly, is the Yankees, who are now worth more than the 4th-place Mets and the 5th-place Dodgers combined. The Yanks, however, rank dead last in operating income (that is to say, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), posting a negative-$37M in that category (Peter Angelos' Orioles reported the best numbers in that category).

The Blue Jays, also unsurprisngly, are well down the list in franchise value -- 24th, in fact. But there are some other interesting and positive signs from the Toronto ledger. The Jays' operating income was a pleasant positive-$7.8M. The increase in their franchise value from last year was 27%, third-highest among all franchises, trailing only the Phillies (39% after moving into a new park) and the Nationals (a stunning 114%, for obvious reasons). Moreover, the Jays are the only team to report that their debt as a percentage of franchise value (including stadium debt) is a flat zero -- a marked contrast to teams like the Dodgers (99%) and the Diamondbacks (somehow, 103%).

Because my knowledge of economics extends no further than a shaky grasp of supply-and-demand laws, I showed this chart around to the Roster. Pistol had a couple of interesting observations:

"What I found odd is the debt/value figure. It assumes that the Jays have no debt, but since they're a subsidiary of Rogers, I would think some debt would be attributed to the team. It also looks like they aren't considering player contracts as debt.

"What's interesting is that there are several teams that fall outside of Bud's debt/value ratio, and those apparently aren't considering future contracts, which would put them further outside the ratio."

Do any Bauxites have similar insights to share? Thanks to Wildrose for bringing this to our attention.