|All sales final|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
Former car salesman Bud Selig tries to unload a slightly used team ...
"Hey, how ya doing? Good to see you. Shopping around for a baseball team? Well, you've come to the right place, I can tell you that. We have the area's best selection of major league teams. We've got National League and American League models, all makes and models, both new and used. I guess I shouldn't say "used'' -- we're supposed to call them "pre-owned'' nowadays.
"Now, for just $200 million, I can put you in the owners' box of a sleek, little Canadian club. Needs a little loving, sure; but find the right fan base, a nice stadium and a new superstar right fielder, and you've got a beautiful team that will be the envy of all the neighbors. And don't worry, the Expos are licensed to go anywhere.
"But I can see you're not interested in the Expos. No need to explain -- I can tell just from talking to you that you're a man who knows his baseball, and you don't want to invest good money in a team that's going to need some work, a new farm system and a whole lot of lawyers. You want to be able to take your team right off the lot and be ready to win. Fair enough. I understand. That's smart. That's the way I would be, too.
"And I've got just the team for you. The manager's special: the fully-loaded Milwaukee Brewers, complete with convertible roof stadium and priced to sell.
"This team is an amazing steal. Just one owner, and he hasn't taken it out for a pennant drive in years.
"Feel free to look under the hood. That's a brand new president and a recently-installed general manager in there. No superstars right now, but lots of promising young kids in the farm system. And unlike some of those large market teams, this is a club with a small payroll that is getting smaller all the time. Not only that, you get a check for revenue-sharing each year, too. The other owners are practically paying you to run the team.
"How much? Well, before I get to that, do you see that blue and white Dodgers sedan over there? I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but we're in the process of selling that one for $430 million -- and its stadium is more than 40 years old. This baby here plays in the exact same league and has an almost brand new stadium and I can let you have it for just $240 million. That's about half the price of the Dodgers. Hey, the stadium alone is worth $400 million.
"Now, I know what you're thinking. Why is Bud willing to do this? Quite frankly, we need to clear inventory before we get the new models, and my manager says to cut whatever deal we can to make room on the lot. He says I can even drop the price to $215 million if you're willing to pay cash. Me, I say we've priced it way too low. We're gonna take an absolute bath on the team at this price. But what can I do? He's the boss, I'm just the employee.
"We also have some very attractive loan rates, right now.
"Hey, I understand. You want to shop around first, maybe see what other leagues are offering. That's smart. I'd do the same myself. But this is just something else to consider. If you think the price is a little steep, we also can do trade-ins. John Henry and Jeffrey Loria both recently traded in their old teams for different models; and, I must say, they're both very pleased.
"Now, don't be hasty. I just talked to the manager and he's never done this before but he says I can knock another $25 million off the list price. But that offer is only good while you're here on the lot.
"All right, you drive a hard bargain. This the best I can do, because we're losing money on this as it is, but I'll take $165 million and that's my absolute lowest price and, quite frankly, I'm only doing that because I've got to make quota for the month.
"And, say, did I mention the cupholders?
"Great, excellent. You won't regret it. This team really is a bargain and I'm sure it will provide you with years of service. I would, however, recommend that you buy the TruCoat sealant for the retractable roof. Otherwise the salt builds up and you get oxidization problems.''
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com