Every year, Forbes Magazine releases a list of the most valuable franchises in Major League Baseball. Every year, I write a little something about it here. The reason for covering it is the same every year, too: We should never forget just how strange it is that the Giants are a model franchise now.
According to Forbes, they most certainly are that. The Giants are valued at $2.65 billion in their rankings, the fifth-most valuable franchise in the sport. They’re just behind the Red Sox and Cubs, and they’re just a Barry Zito contract behind the Dodgers. The valuation is an 18-percent increase over the 2016 estimate.
A history of Giants valuations over the last decade:
I, too, remember making $2 billion dollars in a six-year stretch. I lost it all on Beanie Babies the next year, but it was a helluva run while it lasted.
One thing that seems clear is that Forbes has caught up with the new state of baseball, with the MLB Advanced Media revolution and cable-money spigot. When the Dodgers were sold in 2012 for $2 billion, baseball pundits swallowed their monocles, but that was in part because the Forbes valuation of $800 million the year before was so much lower. There have been adjustments, to the point where the Marlins might be sold for $1 billion, and it seems perfectly reasonable, if not a little low.
As is the tradition around here, this is where we include old-timey articles about how the Giants were about to move to Toronto or Tampa. From the New York Times:
The owners, in a secret ballot that required 10 votes for approval, voted 9-4 against allowing Bob Lurie, the Giants' owner, to sell the team for $115 million to the Tampa Bay group, which would have moved the Giants to the Florida Suncoast Dome in time for next season.
The action, which is expected to trigger a lawsuit from St. Petersburg officials, left the door open for a group of San Francisco investors, headed by Peter Magowan, president of Safeway Inc., to buy the Giants for $100 million and keep them where they have been since they left New York 35 years ago.
Magowan had to rally local businesspeople to pay that price. Some of them probably felt like they were doing it out of civic duty instead of angling for a 2000-percent return on their investment.
Say, about that 9-4 vote ...
The breakdown of the 9-4 vote was not publicly disclosed. But it was believed that the nine teams voting against the move were the Mets, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Colorado. The teams supporting the move were believed to be Florida, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
Looks like justification for 2010, 2012, and 2014, roughly, but it also looks like the Cardinals stole at least one year that was meant for the Marlins. Will have to investigate.
This is also the year the Giants officially paid off their debt service, so things are continually looking up. Not so up that they could afford a better left fielder, but, ha ha, don’t be spoiled. Jarrett Parker hustles and you’re going to love him.
Whenever you see a news item like this, though, never forget that Candlestick Park was the worst stadium in professional sports, and that it used to have Astroturf. If not for a last-minute scramble, San Francisco would have been declared a place where baseball just wasn’t meant to be, like Montreal was.
Instead, the team is up there with the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers, the classic large-market teams from when baseball was born. It makes sense when I look at it objectively, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t always going to blow my mind.