Texas Rangers owner Ray C. Davis handed the World Series trophy after 2023 victory

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hands the Commissioner's Trophy to Texas Rangers owner Ray C. Davis after the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in Game Five to win the World Series at Chase Field on November 01, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Right-Wing Billionaire Wins the World Series!

Most of the Major League Baseball teams are owned by billionaires. But the owners of the Rangers and the Diamondbacks are particularly disgusting.

To be honest, I didn't really care whether the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Texas Rangers won the World Series. Once my two favorite teams—the Dodgers and the Red Sox—were eliminated, I didn’t have a stake in the outcome of the World Series. I just wanted to watch to see first-rate baseball and see interesting games, and the Diamondbacks and Rangers didn't disappoint.

Most of the 30 MLB teams are owned by billionaires. But the owners of the Rangers and the Diamondbacks are particularly disgusting. Ken Kendrick, who owns the Diamondbacks, and Ray Davis—whose Rangers won the World Series in Game 5 on Wednesday night with a 5-0 shutout win—are both billionaires with a history of providing financial support for Republican candidates and right-wing causes.

According to Forbes magazine, Davis has a personal net worth of $2.9 billion. Before getting into the baseball business, Davis was CEO of two fossil fuel corporations—Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Energy Transfer Equity (ETE). ETP is a natural gas distributor and pipeline company. Davis stepped down as CEO in 2007 but still owns 2.4% of the company. In 2017, despite protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Energy Transfer finished building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. The corporation operates over 125,000 miles of pipeline that move approximately 30% of America's oil and natural gas. Davis and a group of investors bought the Texas Rangers for about $600 million in 2010; it's now worth $1.5 billion. Since 2021, Davis has donated at least $225,000 to Texans for Greg Abbott, the state's right-wing Republican governor, according to state campaign finance records. He's also donated to other Republican candidates.

In 2003, the Chicago Cubs hosted the first Pride game to celebrate their LGBTQ fans. Since then, all but one of the 30 Major League teams have hosted an annual Pride Day or Pride Night event. The Texas Rangers are the only team without a Pride Night.

Ken Kendrick is only worth $1 billion, according to Forbes, but he's a much bigger donor to politicians and right-wing causes than Davis. He and his wife Randy have made large donations to conservative groups connected with the Koch brothers. According to FEC filings, he has donated to many Republican election deniers, including Arizona U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs as well as to conspiracy-theory nutjob Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

Kendrick founded a software company called Data Technology which merged in 1979 with another company called Datatel. General Motors bought the company in 1988 for $511 million, giving Kendrick a big boost in his personal wealth. He made more money by investing early in Woodforest National Bank, which now has more than $1.7 billion in assets. Woodforest National Bank is Walmart’s largest retail partner. Kendrick became part-owner of the Diamondbacks with the team's inception in 1995 and has been the managing general partner (the major owner) since 2004.

Kendrick is one of those Republicans who decry "big government," but he's perfectly happy receiving government subsidies for his business from Arizona taxpayers. The Diamondbacks built Bank One Ballpark (later renamed Chase Field), the first retractable roof stadium in MLB with a grass field, in 1995 with the help of $253 million dollars in public financing through an increase in sales tax in Maricopa County. This happened during a huge county budget deficit and lack of funding for other services. The County Supervisors approved the tax increase without asking for voters' approval. In 2016, Kendrick decided that the stadium needed about $65 million worth of repairs, and estimated that it would need a total of $187 million of upkeep costs over the final 12 years of its lease with Maricopa County. And of course, they wanted the taxpayers to pay for it. County officials refused. One of them, Andy Kunasek, described the Diamondbacks as “parasitic enterprise.” When the County wouldn't provide Kendrick with the subsidy, he sued the County in an attempt to get out of the Diamondback's lease, which expires in 2027. Kendrick has hinted that if the County doesn't pay for those improvements, he'd consider moving to the team and building another stadium.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Kenrick is also a union-buster. In 2020, when the 30 major league owners locked the players out for three months (essentially, an owners' strike), Kendrick was one of the four most reactionary owners who voted against signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union.

So it was a win for the Rangers last night, and congrats to all the players. However, no matter which way this series may have gone, it would have been one right-wing billionaire or another holding the trophy in the end.

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