Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote:A lot of news from Milwaukee, all of it bad.
"The board of directors that runs the Milwaukee Brewers has recommended budget cuts for 2004 so significant that team president Ulice Payne Jr. said he has concerns about the franchise's ability to turn the team around."
The Brewers have reportedly decided to slash their payroll from 2003's $40.6 million to $30 million in 2004, and possibly keep it at that level for 2005 and 2006. Fully half of this payroll will come from other clubs, courtesy of MLB's revenue sharing plan.
The Brewers are reportedly $110 million in debt. They've been trying to raise capital for at least the past six months, without success. Today's Journal-Sentinel quotes a local businessman who put his finger on the problem:
"They (the board) are loath to put up more money of their own because they don't have it. They are loath to bring in new owners because they don't want to give up control. What you have is a stalemate, and the result is a $30 million payroll."
Fans are furious. The head of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which loaned the Brewers $14 million for Miller Park and has guaranteed the purchase of millions of dollars of season tickets, says, "if this is the level of investment that is going to show up in the field, we are seriously concerned about the future." He also notes that 32 luxury suites are up for renewal after the 2004 season, which promises to be the Brewers' 12th consecutive losing season. While Milwaukee finally has some decent prospects, they're all several years away.
A leading local columnist has blasted Brewers management: the "directors' stunning arrogance in calling for a 25% reduction in payroll is matched only by their bad timing." The leading local newspaper reminded Wisconsinites that when the Brewers were begging for a taxpayer-subsidized new park, they explained that it was necessary for the Brewers to field a competitive team.
Even with the new stadium, and even with greater revenue sharing, the Brewers are spiraling down the drain. No one will invest in the club so long as current management remains in control.
Bud Selig first got involved in baseball as part of a group trying to keep the Milwaukee Braves from moving to Atlanta. If he wants to keep a major league team in his beloved hometown, he may have to get out of baseball.
its time for Bud to go......