July 18, 2002
McLane fallout

Not too surprisingly, the Astros players don't give much credence to owner Drayton McLane's fiscal sob story from yesterday:

"You can throw the names of all these fancy accounting firms around all you want," said Gregg Zaun, the backup catcher who serves as the Astros' player rep. "When the big giants like Arthur Andersen go down and they're proven to be dirty, what are you going to think about the rest of these people and their creative bookkeeping?

"We've seen all the ways that they can hide money and make it look like they're losing so that the big momma corporation or the big pappa corporation gets a tax write-off at the end of the year."


"They're telling us one thing, and Forbes Magazine is telling us another," said Zaun, referring to a Forbes article the refuted MLB's claims earlier this year. "Until Major League Baseball is willing to open up the books to an independent auditor, it doesn't make any sense. They've lied to us so many times. But if I was going to believe any owner, Drayton would be it."

What is surprising is that Chron sports columnist John Lopez doesn't really believe him either. Oh, Lopez gives him the benefit of the doubt about operating losses. Typically, neither he nor beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz can be bothered to actually look up the Forbes story (registration required) that Gregg Zaun mentioned, which claimed a $4.1 million profit for the 'Stros last year. But at least Lopez couldn't bring himself to give McLane the kind of tongue bath that local writers usually lavish on owners in these matters.

If Drayton McLane actually does sell the team, he's likely to get anywhere from a 100 to 200% return on his investment in less than ten years. Don't waste any sympathy on him, OK?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 18, 2002 to Baseball