Friday, July 30, 2004

Expos to remain in limbo

By Hal Bodley
USA Today

A decision on the Montreal Expos' permanent home is unlikely to be announced at the owners' meetings in Philadelphia on Aug. 18-19.

MLB President Bob DuPuy is in Milwaukee on Friday to continue discussions with Commissioner Bud Selig about relocating the Expos.

"(The talks) are ongoing with the commissioner, but no decision has been reached," DuPuy says. DuPuy and other baseball officials will attend a party later in the day to celebrate Selig's 70th birthday.

Read the entire article here on the USA Today website.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Yankees Propose New Stadium, and Would Pay

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
The New York Times
Published: July 30, 2004

The New York Yankees will soon unveil plans to build a new $700 million, open-air stadium across 161st Street from its present home in the Bronx, according to team executives and elected officials, and the team is willing to pay much of the cost of construction.

The team's willingness to put up so much cash reflects a significant change from the team's earlier proposals for a new stadium during the administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, when the Yankees offered to pay half the construction cost, and appears to have enhanced its prospects with the Bloomberg administration. At a City Hall meeting two weeks ago, the Yankees got a relatively positive reception from members of the Bloomberg administration.

The team continues to tinker with the plan but intends to present a final proposal to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki in the coming weeks. The new, slightly smaller ballpark, with about 50,000 seats and 50 luxury boxes, would be built in Macombs Dam Park, just to the north of the existing stadium, an American sports shrine.

Read the entire article here on the NY Times website.

Major pain at Triple-A

While their cities flirt with big-league baseball, three minor-league franchises are stuck in limbo
By Nick Christensen
LAS VEGAS SUN
 
As Major League Baseball closes in on selecting a permanent home for the Montreal Expos, three Triple-A baseball franchises sit, watch, and wait to see if their futures are in another city.
 
Las Vegas, Norfolk, Va., and Portland, Ore., have each been saddled by the Expos drama, summed up by Portland general manager Jack Cain.
 
"I'm kind of frustrated," Cain said. "I think they're using both Las Vegas and Portland as pawns just to try and get more out of somebody out of the Washington, D.C., area."
 
Read the entire article here on the Las Vegas Sun website

I can't speak for the other areas (Vegas and Norfolk), but in Portland, Jack and Mary Cain are pretty much Baseball Royality. Jack's doing Portland a huge favor by filling in as interim GM in a difficult situation with the PCL owning the team, and clear indications from the Oregon Stadium Campaign that they're going to continue to explore relocation and/or expansion - Maury


Two bond projects could have been paid for with stadium funds

By Susan Stabley
Miami Today
 
Two projects totaling $105 million in costs that are part of Miami-Dade County's proposed General Obligation Bond had been under consideration for expenditure of tourist-tax funds now pledged for a new baseball stadium. Improvements to the Orange Bowl and the Miami Beach Convention Center have become part of the county's bond issue, set to go before voters in November. The county previously had considered tapping its Convention Development Tax fund to pay for those projects.
 
But county commissioners earlier this year decided to funnel $59 million from the tax fund toward a 38,000-seat stadium for the Florida Marlins on Southwest 17th Avenue next to the Orange Bowl in a preliminary agreement with the City of Miami. Another $23 million from the fund is obligated to pay off bonds used to build Miami Arena. If the arena is sold in an auction next month, that money is to be diverted to the proposed stadium.
 
Read the entire article here on the Miami Today website.

Friday, July 23, 2004

A's price to stay put may be in Oakland's ballpark

Report outlines revenue problems, says team owners would contribute $100M for stadium in Coliseum lot
By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER
The Oakland Tribune
 
OAKLAND -- Owners of the Oakland Athletics are willing to pony up as much as$100 million to build a new ballpark, but only at the Oakland Coliseum parking lot, according to a confidential team report. And if the site at the recently renamed McAfee Coliseum doesn't work out, owners appear to have ruled out relocating the team to the South Bay. Instead, they may sell the A's to others who would move the team out of the region, the report says.
 
Read the entire article here on the Oakland Tribune website.
 
Coming up with the rest of the funding will not be easy, and with places like Portland and Vegas in the wings there will be plenty of leveraging going on in Oakland. Still, while the A's aren't the Yankees in terms of profits, they still turn one. I could easily see Lewis Wolff's new one-year contract getting extended if there is considerable activity in the talks to enact funding to breach the funding gap - Maury
 

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wash. Times: "Union says Expos will have new home"

By Eric Fisher
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
 
NOTE FROM MAURY - This article mirrors much of the MLB.com article but I will post highlights that are of interest.
 
The meeting, according to union sources, centered on three leading elements, all of which have been assumed for weeks within baseball and sports industry sectors. First, the team will be in a new city next year. Second, a decision is expected by the Aug. 18-19 meetings of MLB owners in Philadelphia. Third, the Washington area remains the most likely relocation destination.
 
....
 
San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the other bidding jurisdictions, is no longer being considered, said MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Other candidates like Portland, Ore., have begun to think about relocation options for other clubs after the Expos are moved.
 
....
 
Both jurisdictions are supplying baseball's relocation committee with detailed data such as construction and amortization schedules and prospective term sheets for a stadium deal.
 
....
 
Meanwhile, the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority met last night in McLean, one of its last sessions if the commonwealth's long-running effort is not successful. The authority's ability to capture ballpark-related tax revenue to service construction bonds expires at the end of the year, but a selection in favor of the District next month would stop the authority much sooner.
 
Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Official: Expos will likely relocate

D.C., Virginia remain leading candidates
By Barry M. Bloom
MLB.com
 
The Major League Baseball Players Association told player representatives of the Expos this week that it is unlikely the team will be playing in Montreal next season and that the leading candidates for relocation are still Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, a top union official said on Thursday night.
 
The meeting, between Don Fehr, Gene Orza and Tony Bernazard of the union and the Expos' Brian Schneider and Brad Wilkerson, was conducted in manager Frank Robinson's office while the team was in New York on Wednesday to play the Mets at Shea Stadium.
 
Orza, the union's chief operating officer, said that a story quoting unnamed sources about the Expos' future that ran Thursday on ESPN.com was substantially correct. The story said that the union officials had told Schneider and Wilkerson "that a decision on their 2005 home is near, that it won't be Montreal and that there is a strong likelihood they will be living in the Washington, D.C., area."
 
Read the entire article here on MLB.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Selig: Baseball may dump AL-NL rotation for 2007 All-Star game

Associated Press
 
PITTSBURGH -- Baseball might abandon its long-standing policy of alternating All-Star sites between National League and American League cities and award the 2007 game to another NL city, commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday.
 
Minutes after officially announcing Pittsburgh would host its second All-Star game in 12 years in 2006, Selig said he expects to reveal the 2007, 2008 and 2009 sites later this summer.
 
With San Francisco, Arizona, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Diego all playing in new or relatively new ballparks and St. Louis to follow in 2006, one NL city would have to wait until 2018 for an All-Star game should baseball stay with its traditional rotation.
 
By contrast, only the refurbished Anaheim Angels ballpark and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg won't have been All-Star sites among the newer AL parks, once Detroit stages the 2005 game."
 
"I don't believe that it (the rotation) is as important as it used to be," Selig said. "I think the important thing is to try to be fair. In a perfect world, you would alternate NL and AL, but it's more important to reward franchises, I think, that really need to have the game because of their venue. There are so many great new ballparks, and that's the nice part."
 
Read the entire article here on ESPN.com.
 
Here's one way to get locales to get new stadiums built. - Maury

Monday, July 19, 2004

Pittsburgh to be named '06 All-Star Game host

Pirates last hosted the Mid-Season Classic in '94
By the Associated Press
 
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the 2006 All-Star at PNC Park just 12 years after staging the game at Three Rivers Stadium, according to sources close to the team.
 
Commissioner Bud Selig will make the formal announcement at a news conference Tuesday that the game on July 11, 2006, will be played in Pittsburgh -- the third time in 32 years the city will be the All-Star site.
 
Pirates managing general partner Kevin McClatchy declined Monday to confirm Pittsburgh had been chosen, but the team said it would hold a news conference Tuesday with Selig in attendance. Team sources, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, confirmed the announcement would concern the game.
 
Read the entire article here on ESPN.com.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Vegas Sun: Stadium on track despite Caesars buyout

By Rob Miech
LAS VEGAS SUN


A Harrah's Entertainment Inc. official said Thursday that his company's proposed takeover of Caesars Entertainment Inc. should not affect a private effort to build a stadium behind two Caesars properties.

Las Vegas Sports and Entertainment (LVSE) LLC, if it can lure the Montreal Expos to Las Vegas, hopes to construct a $420 million, 40,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium behind Bally's and Paris Las Vegas.

"We really haven't looked closely at the ancillary issues," said Harrah's spokesman Gary Thompson. "Having said that, I can tell you that Caesars will continue to operate their business as they see fit. We don't anticipate this deal to close within a year.

"I don't know of any discussions between Caesars and the Expos. I don't know what they've been up to. But I'm sure it's something they'll continue to (explore). ... We're for anything that is beneficial to the city."

...

"No (expletive) clue," said a Caesars executive, who requested anonymity, on how the casino merger might affect a future stadium deal.
 
Read the entire article here on the Las Vegas Sun website.
 
There seems to be a fair amount of spin, or rhetoric in some of the quotes coming out of Vegas on this massive merger. I think the unknown source from Caesars may have been on to something when asked how it will effect the LVSE bid, "No (expletive) clue." -- Maury

Portland Tribune: Ownership race for [AAA] Beavers continues

By JASON VONDERSMITH
The Portland Tribune
Issue date: Fri, Jul 16, 2004


Ron Moore, a certified public accountant in Memphis whose group struck out last month in its bid to buy the Portland Beavers, hopes to get back in the running. But he may have lost his chance.


Another group, represented by the New York firm of Herzfeld & Rubin, has taken the lead in negotiations with the Pacific Coast League.

That group already has put down about $1 million for exclusive negotiating rights and has been trying to secure equity toward purchase, the Tribune has learned.

And Art Savage, owner of the PCL’s Sacramento River Cats and ally of PCL President Branch Rickey III, has been doing due diligence on the Beavers for the prospective buyers.

 
Read the entire article here on the Portland Tribune website.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Baltimore Sun: "MLB executive: Expos decision could come next month "

August owners meeting called 'good working goal' for relocation choice
By Ed Waldman
Sun Staff
Originally published July 12, 2004, 8:44 PM EDT


HOUSTON - The man leading the search for a new home for the Montreal Expos said Monday that he hopes Major League Baseball will have a decision by the owners' meeting next month in Philadelphia.

"I think that's a good working goal," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, referring to the meeting scheduled Aug. 17-20. "The sooner we get it done, the better.

"It's just a matter of making a decision and getting things done," DuPuy said before a news conference honoring baseball's living 500 home run hitters.

He said MLB officials continue to meet with the candidates, and none has been eliminated. The contenders for the Expos include Washington; Northern Virginia; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore.; Norfolk, Va.; Monterrey, Mexico, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Baseball has been looking for a new home for the Expos since it bought the team for $120 million from Jeffrey Loria in February 2002 in a complicated deal that allowed Loria to buy the Florida Marlins and then-Marlins owner John Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox.

At MLB's last owners meeting in June, league executives had expressed hope that a new Expos home could be announced by the All-Star break.

"When the decision is made, it will be made," DuPuy said. "It is difficult to have each step of your process analyzed. When the commissioner makes a decision and we've got an agreement in place, we'll announce it.

"I believe it will happen this summer. I think it's very important that we get it done this year."

 
Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.
 
My Gosh, they may actually get the deal done this time. - Maury

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Oregonian: "Portland, Las Vegas pass on trip to Houston"

Baseball's relocation committee won't meet at the All-Star Game, but some contingents will be there looking for an edge
By JOHN HUNT
The Oregonian
Sunday, July 11, 2004


Major League Baseball's relocation committee will not meet in Houston during the All-Star break. Commissioner Bud Selig is not expected to make any announcement of substance about the Montreal Expos. In all probability, nothing will happen.

But that doesn't mean there won't be some politicking going on.

Contingents from Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Norfolk, Va., will descend upon Houston today and spend the next three days trying to sweet-talk Major League Baseball into relocating the vagabond Expos to their area.

Portland proponents, meanwhile, will be watching on television.

"I don't think it's really to anyone's advantage to go there and shake hands or whatever," said Drew Mahalic, chief executive officer of the Oregon Sports Authority, which is part of the Oregon Stadium Campaign. "It may be a prestigious and fun thing to do, but it's not what they're looking for."

Baseball backers in Las Vegas also have opted against making the trip.

"It's our understanding that the relocation committee will not meet," said Mike Shapiro, a consultant for Centerfield Management Group who has served as the point man for Las Vegas' efforts. "Our time is better spent staying here and continuing work on our stadium finance plan."

 
To read the entire article here on the Oregonian website.
 
Last year, all the contingents went to the All-Star game, with little or no effect. In the case of DC and Northern VA, there is reason to try and possibly sway the votes. It doesn't seem likely that votes will be altered dramticlly, however. All the votes have gone down with the recommendation from Bud. Portland and Vegas will be eyeing the A's as a possibility. --Maury

Friday, July 09, 2004

A's extend stadium search exec's contract

By Eric Young
The San Francisco Business Times
8:16 AM PDT Friday


Oakland A's executives said Thursday they have granted a one-year extension to the team vice president charged with finding a site for a new baseball stadium.

Lewis Wolff was hired by owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann in November 2003 to locate a site for a baseball-only park. He was on a month-to-month employment agreement, but the new extension means Wolff will be with the team until at least next baseball season.

 
To read the San Francisco Business Times article click here
 
The A's continue to hope for a new stadium, but with options slim to none in Oakland, and with San Jose part of territorial rights listed within MLB's rules as "Giants Territory", options are running out. Meanwhile, Portland and Vegas may look to entice Schott and Hoffman to consider leaving the Bay Area after the Expos relocate. Voting for the relocation of the Expos might effect how territories are defined. The A's situation, is of course, completely different than Peter Aneglos' situation with the Orioles, and the possibility of MLB returning to DC, as site locations for the DC effort are outside Baltimore's territories. That may not stop the A's from trying to bring up the matter, however, should the Expos wind up in DC. -- Maury

Wash. Times: MLB to discuss D.C. ballpark plan

By Eric Fisher
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


Major League Baseball's relocation committee will meet with District officials later this month in Washington to discuss financing options and construction schedules for a proposed ballpark, marking perhaps the most detailed session in the city's long quest for baseball.

An exact date for the session is being kept under wraps, but it follows a high-level meeting May 6 at One Judiciary Square. During that meeting, Mayor Anthony Williams and other city officials presented the city's revised proposal to relocate the Montreal Expos, and received assurances from the relocation committee the objections of the Baltimore Orioles on Washington-area baseball would not be a factor.

Those assurances have since been clouded by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who remains deeply concerned about the potential impact upon the Orioles.

Nonetheless, expectations are high within the District that a long-delayed decision on the future home of the Expos will arrive within a matter of weeks. Several of the other bidders for the Expos do not expect such a quick timetable, but most do think a choice will be made by the fall.

"We're very optimistic, and expect this to be settled in the next three, four weeks," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission.

 
Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.
 
In the on-going saga of the Expos, it's clearly, a "#1 and #1a" process now. It would seem DC is in the #1 seat, but has to come up with some details beyond, "Give us the team and we'll talk." I find this amusing: "We're very optimistic, and expect this to be settled in the next three, four weeks," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission. With the RICO arbitration case slated to be settled in September, it makes no sense for MLB to move any earlier on the matter. Add in the fact that it takes 3 weeks for MLB to decide what to have for lunch at their meetings, and this all could drag on further. --Maury

Thursday, July 08, 2004

B of A connects with America's pastime to become the "Official Bank of Baseball"


07/08/2004 10:03 AM ET
Signs simultaneous national agreements with Major League Baseball Properties, Minor League Baseball, and Little League Baseball

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America today announced an unprecedented corporate initiative, becoming the first company to simultaneously sign national agreements with Major League Baseball Properties, Minor League Baseball and Little League Baseball, and positioning the company as the "Official Bank of Baseball."

Bank of America's unique association with America's national pastime includes a five-year exclusive sponsorship agreement with Major League Baseball Properties that will make Bank of America the "Official Bank of Major League Baseball." In addition, Bank of America has established a national affiliation with Minor League Baseball, and also has signed a national sponsorship agreement with Little League Baseball® to become the "Official Banking Partner of Little League Baseball."

"Baseball is the quintessential American game and an integral part of our country's heritage. From Little League through Major League levels, baseball inspires communities and neighborhoods across the country in a way that is distinctive in the world of sports," said Catherine P. Bessant, chief marketing officer for Bank of America. "Bank of America's sponsorship of baseball is a powerful way to connect our brand, which has national reach but is very much local, with the customers we serve, the communities we support, and the associates we employ. Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and Little League Baseball are the ideal teammates."

Read the rest of the press release here on MLB.com

AP: "Japan's baseball owners reject World Cup plan"

By JIM ARMSTRONG,
Associated Press Writer
July 8, 2004


TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's owners rejected a plan to hold the first baseball World Cup in the United States next year.

The owners do not want major league baseball in charge of the event and would prefer the International Baseball Federation, an official in the Japanese commissioner's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.

That could leave major league All-Stars such as Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners without a chance to play for their country in the World Cup.

However, another official in the Japanese commissioner's office, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Japan might still be interested in participating if the event is structured differently.

If major league baseball owners approve the plan and deals are reached with the players' association and the International Baseball Federation, the 16-nation tournament would take place from approximately March 4-21 next year.

Under the proposal, the major league baseball commissioner's office and the players' union would split profits from the World Cup. The owners in Japan also objected to that part of the plan.

Another problem could be the timing. The regular season in Japan usually starts in the final week of March or the first week of April. Players who take part in the World Cup would have 10 days or less of exhibition games with their clubs.

Officials from the major league commissioner's office prefer to have the tournament before their season rather than in November, after the World Series.
 
Read the entire article here on Yahoo Sports.com

Welcome

This is the Business of Baseball Blog. I'll be posting articles and news that pertains to the Business of Baseball here.

This blog is created to facilitate www.businessofbaseball.com, a site developed for the Business of Baseball committee within SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research).

Hope you enjoy,
Maury Brown