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Won the Powerball? Invest in a baseball franchise

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A billion dollars isn't cool. Wait, never mind, yes it is. Grow your windfall by investing in real estate that happens to have baseball players standing on top of it.

For sale: 40,473 seats/56 bathrooms, on-site parking, aquarium for the kids. Convenient to waterfront and priced to move!
For sale: 40,473 seats/56 bathrooms, on-site parking, aquarium for the kids. Convenient to waterfront and priced to move!
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings to you, the lucky finder of that golden ticket. You've won the largest lottery prize in the history of the planet, so naturally you're very excited. But -- not to be a buzzkill -- things are about to get tricky. A study showed that 90 percent of lottery winners were broke 5 years later.

So once you've taken care of taxes and your favorite charities and whatever else, you're going to need an investment strategy. Why not buy a baseball team?

I'm serious. Forbes' team valuations (published last March) showed at least a 20 percent increase in franchise values. That's a good return! And think of the value if you hold on to it for a while: in 1973, George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for around $10 million; forty years later, the team was valued at over $3 billion.

Given that valuation, though, you can't afford to buy the Yankees, even with a 10-figure jackpot. And even if you could, the Steinbrenners probably aren't looking to sell. Let's run through the seven teams Forbes has valued under $850 million (56% of estimated winnings, enough to account for taxes), and see what your options are.

Fans of the Miami Marlins would love you forever if you were the one who convinced Jeffery Loria to finally sell. But Loria seems to like being a baseball owner -- remember, he originally oversaw the toxic situation in Montreal before selling that franchise to MLB and creating a toxic situation in Miami. He has also reportedly turned down offers to sell as recently as this year, and is rumored to value the team at $1 billion. Let's look elsewhere.

Though the Athletics are also near the bottom of this list, Oakland fans aren't exactly unhappy with Lew Wolff's ownership group. But more importantly, Wolff isn't unhappy with owning the A's. Warriors owner Joe Lacob was reportedly interested in buying the A's over the summer, but Wolff was not in the selling mood. Even with the unholy mess that is the A's stadium situation, the team seems unlikely to change hands.

We can also rule out two more franchises as unlikely. Jim Crane's group bought the Astros in 2011 for $615 million, and it's difficult to see him cashing out so soon. The Diamondbacks are still owned by the group that brought them into existence, and there aren't even any rumors that Ken Kendrick's group is looking to move on.

There's no indication that the Royals are up for sale, either, except a plethora of old petitions and newspaper ads bought by fans begging David Glass to sell. But Glass has seen his investment grow for $96 million back in 2000 to $700 million last March. Expect that number to jump when Forbes' new valuations are released: the Giants' value doubled after their 2014 championship. Who knows? Maybe the right offer would convince Glass to sell high. As a bonus, the championship afterglow and recent concessions to the Cardinals mean you might be able to sweet talk some politicians into buying you a new stadium.

That leaves us with two teams. The Indians might actually be the most realistic option for someone flush with cash; owner Paul Dolan has been looking for an investor to take on a significant (but minority) ownership stake since the summer, but to date nothing seems to have been announced. On the other hand, they're probably not a realistic option to buy, as Dolan says he has no interest in selling a majority share.

And then, of course, there's the Rays. Stuart Sternberg said last year that he would sell the team if he couldn't get a new stadium deal. So far, local officials aren't budging, but you don't worry about dealing with them: Sternberg seems to expect the new owner to move the team anyway. You wouldn't even have to move to enjoy your new asset! Your new asset could come to you. All for the low, low price of $625 million (plus shipping and handling).

. . .

Bryan Cole is a featured writer for Beyond the Box Score who is willing to accept a very modest finder's fee from anyone who takes this advice. You can follow him on Twitter at @Doctor_Bryan.