[Marxism] Baseball and capitalism
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 17 12:03:50 MDT 2008
Last night, just around midnight, Willie Randolph—the New York Mets
baseball team manager and first African-American manager in New York
baseball history—was fired by the team’s general manager Omar Minaya
along with two of his coaches. The firing took place in a California
hotel, during a road trip. The media had been predicting Randolph’s
firing for at least a month since the team was losing more games than it
was winning despite the third largest payroll in baseball.
On WFAN this morning, NY’s all-sports radio station from which Mets
games are broadcast, the host was railing against the Wilpons, the
team’s owners, and Minaya for treating Randolph in such a shabby
fashion. Why did they have to wait until he was 3000 miles away to fire
him? Mike Vaccaro, a NY Post reporter, described it this way:
"This? This is unspeakable. These men couldn’t have been fired in New
York, before heading on a plane and flying 3,000 miles to their doom?
They couldn’t have been spared the ignominy of a public perp walk back
east, their dignity thrown into their carry-on luggage?
"Is this the best the Mets can do? Is this really what they are about?
Can they really consider themselves a professional operation when they
do the simplest task in sports, firing the manager, this wretchedly?"
My response is that of course they are a professional operation. That is
how the bosses routinely treat employees, as I discovered after I left
Goldman-Sachs. One morning, about 15 long-time managers were escorted by
security guards with all their belongings shortly after discovering that
they could no longer logon to the email system in the morning. The
humiliation taught the remaining management who was in charge.
Fred Wilpon, the owner of the N.Y. Mets (his son Jeff is co-owner), is a
real estate developer. If you know anything about N.Y. real estate, you
can only wonder why the Wilpons did not have Willie whacked by a mafia
In 2002, Fred Wilpon and other real estate barons bribed the city’s
property tax assessors to illegally slash their tax bills. The city’s
finance commissioner said, “We found a definite understatement of value
with these properties. We set out to revalue them using standard
assessment procedures. The end result is a higher tax bill.” If you want
another example of this kind of double-dealing, you should study the
early years of the Cuban revolution. When Castro decided to nationalize
some American corporations, he paid them the same amount as Batista’s
tax assessors. When they squealed about how unfair that was, Castro
reminded them that they should have never tried to cheat the Cuba people
to begin with.
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