The Fort Worth Cats, Cowtown's minor league baseball club, was supposed to make good on its debts on January 15, 2013. That's at least what the team's owner, former Congressman John Bryant, told us last December, explaining that the team was experiencing an acute but temporary cash shortage after the emergency purchase of La Grave Field, its downtown Fort Worth Stadium.
But January came and went, then February, and then the spring and most of the summer, and the bills still haven't been paid. Last Friday, WFAA's Byron Harris reported that, on top of the tens of thousands of dollars owed for baseballs (which Bryant now claims are defective), uniforms, stadium cleaning and legal bills, employees aren't getting paid.
"My last paycheck, I took it to the bank Tuesday afternoon and it would not clear," first base coach Mike Ford told Harris.
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What made this even more galling was that José Canseco, who briefly joined the team to kick off the season, got his $12,000 appearance fee up front, in cash.
You'd think a baseball team reduced to handing a washed-up, steroid-tainted ballplayer a sack of money at the airport couldn't sink much lower. Au contraire. A company called Chem Can Services sued the club yesterday alleging that it was never paid for portable toilets supplied at a Cats-sponsored event.
There are, however, a couple of bright spots. Despite financial woes, the Cats were able to finish the 2013 season atop the United League before narrowly falling in the championship series. And Chem Can, now that they've taken their grievance to court, can expect to have their case settled rather quickly if the Cats' handling of two previous debt-related lawsuits is any indication.