Saturday, April 23, 2011


The most dramatic baseball news of the brief spring season has been financial. Major League Baseball has judged principal owner Frank McCourt to be operating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a manner detrimental to the best interests of the game, and has taken over his club while seeking a new owner. Meanwhile the last-place New York Mets have obtained a loan of $20 million from the same entity -- their owner, Fred Wilpon, was reported to be a major investor/victim of pyramid schemer Bernard Madoff. Apparently all this is fine because the hated government is not bailing them out like car companies or investment banks. The teams will continue to meet their staggering payrolls and keep the scoreboards lit at their home fields while charging upwards of $50 for an average seat and some appalling amount for a medium-size beer.

Unnoticed by the national news media, the Philadelphia Orchestra has filed bankruptcy. The petition states that they cannot meet their relatively modest payroll and considerable pension obligations without dipping into their endowment, which amounts to slightly more than the annual salary of Alex Rodriguez. No one has stepped forward to help, not Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, not the National Endowment for the Arts (slogan: "Because a great nation deserves great art"), not the Koch brothers, certainly not the belt-tightening city of Philadelphia or state of Pennsylvania.

Charles Dutoit bobble-head dolls? The cast of Jersey Shore in "Jeanne d'Arc au Bucher"? Sell the orchestra to China?

Someone has probably thought of all those.



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