Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Stadium financing talks set for today

Bombers’ future rests on fan’s efforts
Staff Writer
The South Carolina The State
Aug. 31, 2004

A downtown baseball stadium home to USC’s Gamecocks and the Capital City Bombers started out as an idea for Rod Connell.

But over the past two years, selling the notion of a joint-use stadium to the Bombers, the university and the city has become a crusade.

Other than being a fan of both squads, Connell, a 47-year-old financial consultant, has no connection to either team.

“For a man who hasn’t drawn a paycheck from this or received any benefit, he’s still hard at work,” Bombers president Rich Mozingo said.

“We want to build a stadium in Columbia that would compete with any minor league [or] college Division I baseball stadium in the country,” said Connell, who moved to Columbia from Greenville 20 years ago.

His best opportunity to sell USC on a joint stadium comes today.

Read the entire article here on The State website.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Financing For Stadium In Va. Still Murky

Baseball Officials Want Answer From Assembly
By Michael Laris and Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 29, 2004; Page C01

As Major League Baseball steps up negotiations with Northern Virginia over relocating the Montreal Expos, a key question has yet to be answered: whether the Virginia General Assembly will back the bonds needed to pay for a $360 million stadium near Dulles International Airport.

Powerful legislators across the state's political spectrum have voiced conflicting views just as major league officials say they are nearing the end of a protracted -- and highly secretive -- selection process. That lengthy procedure has pitted Virginia against the District and other cities in a hectic competition to be home to the financially ailing Expos.

The District also would require legislation to build a publicly funded stadium, but Virginia's bid has recently been complicated by timing. Major league officials, who say they want to decide the fate of the Expos by November, are seeking immediate assurances from Virginia that the state would endorse the ballpark financing plan. But the General Assembly does not convene until January.

That has left supporters and opponents of Virginia's tangled, public-private ballpark financing plan scurrying to make their cases to Major League Baseball without the benefit of a vote. The Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, which was created by the legislature to finance and build a ballpark, has yet to provide legislators with an explanation of how the financing plan would affect the state budget, which lawmakers just finished piecing together after an extended fight."We anticipate it will have a positive impact, but the impact has not been calculated," said stadium authority spokesman Brian Hannigan, adding that legislators will be briefed well before they vote. "We intend to provide them with every bit of information needed to make an educated decision," he said.

Some lawmakers said they would need time to consider the financing question, given the high stakes.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Evans offers hints on ballpark plan

By Eric Fisher
August 28th, 2004

D.C. Council finance chairman Jack Evans yesterday revealed clues on the District's financing plans for baseball, numbers that have been closely guarded by city officials for months.

The revised plan submitted to Major League Baseball relies on fundamentally the same structure as a proposal last year. Bonds to fund the construction of a ballpark would be paid for by taxes on stadium-related commerce, annual lease payments from team owners and the reintroduction of the gross receipts tax used to fund infrastructure for MCI Center.

The exact numbers have not been released, in part because the city has not decided among its four remaining site candidates — the RFK Stadium property, Benjamin Banneker Park in Southwest, M Street Southeast and New York Avenue Northwest — or determined final building costs for any of them. But borrowing $300 million would require about $25 million in yearly debt service, and going up to $400 million would require about $30 million annually.

To read the Washington Times article click here

Fans Back Pitch for Baseball, D.C. Says

City Touts Results Of Area Survey
By Manny Fernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 28, 2004; Page B01

Washington area baseball fans support locating a ballclub in the nation's capital over a rival site in Loudoun County, according to a poll commissioned by the District that fueled the increasingly partisan battle over where to relocate the Montreal Expos.

In announcing the survey's results yesterday, D.C. officials boasted that they had the better location, the better financing proposal and the population, average income and fan base to land the Expos. They also took a more confrontational approach to their competitor across the Potomac, making fun of Loudoun and threatening to ban a rival ballclub from Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

At one point at a news conference at the Wilson Building, D.C. Council member Harold Brazil (D-At Large) said Loudoun is so out there that "I don't know where it is." Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the finance committee, said that if Northern Virginia beats the District, the city could pass legislation banning the team from using RFK Stadium as a temporary home.

Evans said that he had not discussed the matter with the council or the mayor and added that it was merely an option he might push for.

"Given the dynamics of the process right now, that the District is hands-down the favorite to get this team, if Major League Baseball awards this team to Virginia against all logic, I think there's going to be considerable anger in the District of Columbia . . . and there's no telling what could happen," Evans said.

Gabe Paul Jr., the executive director of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, was unavailable for comment, spokesman Brian Hannigan said. "We're not going to react to the Evans statement," Hannigan said.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

D.C. Official: City Could Block Use of RFK

By Marty Niland
Associated Press
Friday, August 27, 2004; 2:42 PM

A District of Columbia Council member said Friday that if Northern Virginia beats Washington in the bidding for the Montreal Expos, the city could pass legislation that would ban the team from RFK Stadium, the only venue in the area currently suitable for Major League Baseball.

City leaders took a decidedly partisan tone in releasing results of a poll showing Washington-area baseball fans prefer a stadium in the city over one in Loudoun County, Va., about 21 miles west of Washington.

"We can do it and they can't," said Jack Evans, who chairs the finance committee which would have to pass any ballpark financing plan. "They're talking about building a Disneyland village out there (Northern Virginia) that they have no financing for."

He said he believed baseball would make a decision "on the merits" of the District's proposal, but he said the city could act against a Virginia-based team.

"There would be enough anger in the city, including my own, that the council could pass legislation that would keep a northern Virginia team out of RFK," he said.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Baseball stadium plan has new ideas

The finished bid for a major league team, any team, has some new numbers and a proposed wrecking ball for PGE Park
The Oregonian
Friday, August 27, 2004

After 18 months of calculations and negotiations, Portland unveiled its finished major league baseball stadium finance plan, calling it "a good starting point."

Portland Mayor Vera Katz, Oregon Stadium Campaign leader David Kahn and city officials held a news conference Thursday at the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, where they stressed two familiar themes: A stadium would mean no new taxes or loss of city services, and the goal is to attract any team, not just the Montreal Expos.

They also stressed two new ones: PGE Park could be torn down if a major league ballpark is built, and a prospective owner has expressed an interest in owning a major league team in Portland.

"Are there people who have evinced an interest in owning a team in Portland, Oregon, and have the wherewithal to do it? Of course there are," said Kahn, who would not elaborate or say whether any of those people were owners of existing franchises.

Portland is trying to position itself as a better alternative than Las Vegas for future relocation. Major League Baseball officials are holding serious talks with representatives from Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia in hopes of finding a home for the league-owned Expos. If the Washington area gets the Expos, that would leave only Portland, Las Vegas and possibly Monterrey, Mexico, on the relocation map -- for now.

And if the owners of, say, the Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins or Minnesota Twins look for greener grass in Portland, they now will have a full-color, 91-page document to review.

"They will pay attention to us," Katz said. "We have laid the foundation for the next steps. What will get us there is this document."

Read the entire article here on the Oregonian website.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Va. Baseball Group Scales Down Plans

Lack of Agreement For Quarry's Land Halves Original Site
By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 27, 2004; Page B03

Proponents of bringing Major League Baseball to Virginia have backed away from plans for a 450-acre ballpark development in Loudoun County and are instead pushing a dramatically scaled-back version of their Diamond Lake project on a fraction of the land and without the proposed lake.

The move represents a retreat from the expansive plan presented to baseball officials in May, which called for relocating the Montreal Expos to Northern Virginia as part of a large, baseball-themed "new town" intended to generate business, reduce stadium construction costs and bring cachet to a sports complex sandwiched between Dulles International Airport and an industrial zone.

Gabe Paul Jr., executive director of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority -- which would be responsible for financing and building the stadium -- had given baseball officials assurances that "most of the land parcels comprising this stunning 450-acre site" was controlled by project developers.

But yesterday, Paul bowed to the reality that the developers, Diamond Lake Associates, had not been able to reach agreement with the owner of the site's biggest chunk of land, Chantilly Crushed Stone, which controls more than 220 acres, including the quarry pit that was to be filled to create the development's lakefront ambiance.

"At the present time, we are moving on without the [Chantilly Crushed Stone] property," Paul said.

Authority officials and the project's developers would not give the size of their refashioned proposal.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Portland Pushes on with $350 million ballpark plan

Associated Press Writer
August 26, 2004

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Portland officials forged ahead Thursday with a detailed plan to finance a $350 million ballpark, even though the city's chances of landing the Montreal Expos appear to be remote.

Baseball officials met this week with groups from Washington and Northern Virginia, the leading candidates in the bidding for the Expos. Baseball also intends to meet with groups from Las Vegas and Norfolk, Va.

Portland is pushing ahead, hoping to be in a better position for the next major league team that explores a move.

``Without this we were nowhere. With this, we're now more so in it than ever before,'' said David Kahn, head of the Oregon Baseball Campaign and special adviser to the mayor on baseball.

Under Portland's plan, the bulk of the stadium financing would come from Oregon legislation enacted last year, which allows $115 million in income taxes paid by the future baseball players and other team personnel to be used to offset the cost of the stadium.

Also, businesses within walking distance of the ballpark would pay a yearly licensing fee and a percentage of their gross receipts for an estimated $56 million. The team's lease would bring in $12 million, ticket sales $85 million and concessions and merchandise taxes another $29 million.

Charter seating was expected to bring in $25 million more.

The plan for the 38,000-seat, 975,000-square-foot stadium is only expected to be set in motion once a major league franchise agrees to move to Portland.

Read the entire article here on ESPN.com

Below is the Comprehensive Finance, site and market document, dated 8/26/04 from the Oregon Stadium Campaign:

Decision on Expos likely soon

By Eric Fisher

Major League Baseball likely will announce the future home of the Montreal Expos in two or three weeks, representatives of the District and Northern Virginia said yesterday.

The officials, speaking after two days of in-depth meetings with MLB's relocation committee, said that committee is expected to forward its recommendation to commissioner Bud Selig next week. The most likely date for an announcement is the week of Sept. 5 after Labor Day.

Selig said this week that a decision on the Expos could arrive "within four to six weeks." But the District and Northern Virginia representatives said that, based on their meetings with the relocation panel, the decision would come sooner.

"The relocation committee is clearly focused on getting a resolution," said Keith Frederick, chairman of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority. "There is a real push happening to get this done. Something is going to happen soon."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

MLB Meets With Virginia Officials

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 26, 2004; Page D07

Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf led a team of negotiators from Major League Baseball in a three-hour meeting yesterday with the leaders of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority as the sides try to nail down a deal to bring the Montreal Expos to Loudoun County.

Yesterday's meeting came on the heels of a day-long meeting Tuesday between MLB and officials from the District, which is also trying to lure the Expos. Northern Virginia and the District are getting the most attention from MLB, which is also considering Norfolk and Las Vegas as second-tier options for the ailing Expos.

Baseball's 29 owners bought the Expos in February 2002 and are looking for a new location for the team, which has lost millions annually. Commissioner Bud Selig has said they will not play in Montreal next season.Baseball officials are said to be concerned that the bond financing package for the Loudoun County bid does not have support among some state lawmakers, and MLB's goal for yesterday's meeting was to get a clearer understanding of whether the bond financing is feasible. There was no clear-cut picture as of last night.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

D.C. Poll, Politicians Cast Doubt On Stadium

Residents Oppose Public Financing To Land Baseball
By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 26, 2004; Page B01

A proposal by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to build a major league baseball stadium with public funds is proving extremely unpopular among District residents, according to candidates campaigning for city offices and a recent poll of likely Democratic voters.

The poll, conducted in June by the Service Employees International Union, which opposes the proposal, found that 70 percent of those surveyed oppose public funding, and more than half strongly oppose it. Using tax dollars to build a baseball stadium is particularly unpopular among women, Latinos, the poor and the elderly, the poll shows, but more than two-thirds of whites and men also oppose it. The survey of 571 people who said they are likely to vote in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Word of the survey's unfavorable findings has spread around town in recent days, as baseball officials enter the final stages of negotiations over where to relocate the financially troubled Montreal Expos. Key members of baseball's relocation committee met Tuesday with District officials and yesterday with officials from Northern Virginia, who are also vying for the team.

To read the Washington Post article click here

Lawmaker Opposes Plan to Finance Baseball Stadium in Va.

The Associated Press
Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2004 - 4:24 PM

McLEAN, Va. (AP) - As Major League Baseball officials met Wednesday with backers of a northern Virginia ballpark for the Montreal Expos, a second key lawmaker said he opposes a plan to finance the stadium with bonds backed by the "moral obligation" of the state.

Senate Finance Chairman John Chichester (R-Stafford) said a private business like a baseball club should not benefit from the state's moral obligation bonds, which have traditionally been used for local water quality projects and other public works.

Moral obligation bonds "were not developed to help private enterprise," said Chichester, who also serves as the Senate's president pro tempore, in a telephone interview Tuesday. "Private enterprise has to stand on its own."

Chichester's opposition means that the two most powerful legislators in the Virginia General Assembly - he and House Speaker William Howell - are on record against a key component of the plan to build a $442 million ballpark near Dulles Airport.

Read the entire article here on the WTOP website.

Portland baseball bid stranded

The city's drive fizzles, leaving organizers to regroup a year after a bill rallied hopes of winning a major league team
The Oregonian
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Oregon State Capitol is quiet now, the long 2003 legislative session a distant memory.

There's no buzz in Portland's City Hall, either, despite a news conference planned this week to unveil a finished baseball stadium finance plan.

One year ago this week, it was anything but quiet.

Senate Bill 5, the stadium finance bill, dramatically passed the Senate and touched off a raucous celebration among baseball proponents throughout the state. With a projected $150 million accounted for, and a passage in the House and the governor's signature formalities, Portland had taken the lead in the race for the Montreal Expos.

"It doesn't seem like a year ago, nor does it seem as momentous as it did at the time," said Sen. Ryan Deckert, D-Beaverton, who led the bill to its comeback victory in the Senate.

Momentum, if there is such a thing in the relocation of the Expos, has been lost. Major League Baseball is focusing on four areas for the team's possible relocation in 2005: Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Norfolk, Va.

Portland, barring a collapse of those four areas, will wait for another team to threaten relocation. The Oakland A's, Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins have stadium issues, and their owners could look to Portland for help.

Read the entire article here on the Oregonian website.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

MLB Talks to Officials In D.C.

Meeting Set Today With Va. Group
By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2004; Page D06

Major League Baseball negotiators, led by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, held day-long sessions with District officials yesterday and toured RFK Stadium last evening as part of stepped-up efforts to find a new home for the Montreal Expos.

Reinsdorf, who heads a baseball relocation subcommittee focused on the Washington market, was joined by baseball executive vice president John McHale and general counsel Thomas J. Ostertag as they reviewed the District's bid with D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission Chairman Mark Tuohey.

Also in attendance was Deputy Mayor Eric Price, Judi Greenberg and Steve Green of the D.C. planning and economic development office, City Administrator Robert Bobb and sports commission member Bill Hall. The meeting was held at the Washington offices of Foley & Lardner, a Milwaukee-based law firm assisting baseball in the Expos relocation.


League officials and some owners, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said baseball would prefer to move the Expos to Loudoun County, which would allow the league to take advantage of the Washington market at minimum injury to the Orioles.

Efforts to move the Expos to the District are complicated on several fronts, among them Selig's concern about hurting the Orioles, who claim to draw many fans from D.C.'s Maryland suburbs. The District has yet to pass legislation to enact its own stadium financing plan. And Selig and several owners are concerned about Angelos's reaction if baseball tries to force him to accept a team in Washington.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who briefly attended yesterday's meeting, said the District has backing among some in baseball, but he said league officials are still looking at Northern Virginia in hopes of avoiding a confrontation with Angelos.

"What you've heard around is there's a lot of support there [for D.C.]," Williams said. "But at the highest levels, there's still resistance to coming here. They're still looking for a way not to be here, because of the obvious reasons."

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

MLB grills District on stadium plans

By Eric Fisher

Major League Baseball's relocation committee met with District officials for seven and a half hours yesterday, delving deeper than ever into the city's bid for the Montreal Expos.

Meeting in Georgetown for what was by far the city's longest negotiation with MLB to date, the relocation panel grilled the District about its proposed stadium financing plans, site options and renovation designs for RFK Stadium. After the marathon session, the committee members were led on a tour of RFK Stadium.

"It was an extremely productive meeting, a good exchange of ideas and information," said Bill Hall, director with the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission. "We view this as very positive."

Said John McHale Jr., MLB vice president of administration: "It was a good, long productive working session."

The meeting was one of four high-level sessions the relocation panel intends to have this week as it seeks a new home for the Expos. Northern Virginia's lobby will meet with baseball today, with Norfolk and Las Vegas on deck.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Say no to baseball subsidy

The Washington Times
August 24, 2004

Last week, during its meetings in Philadelphia, Major League Baseball owners declined to vote on whether the Montreal Expos would move to Washington or elsewhere. Following the meetings, Commissioner Bud Selig said owners would look at all "variables" before casting votes. A decision next month, or even post-haste following the post-season, would give Washington time to pull off stupendous opening day ceremonies in RFK Stadium. Yet April 2005 is not our essential concern.

Question: Who will pay the costs for baseball to return to Washington?

Answer: Apparently not the owners.

The foot-dragging by MLB owners is indeed nagging supporters — in Washington proper, as well as those in Northern Virginia. It is nagging because baseball's owners know that Washington is the only jurisdiction that meets all of the so-called variables that concern (including a new home on the cheap and demographics to fill the seats and concession stands). Washington has all that and more.

And therein lies our primary rub. Why offer the owners heavily subsidized housing when Washington demographics prove strong enough to sustain a new team and a new home? The city should neither increase taxes nor use tax dollars to finance a new stadium.

Read the entire editorial here on the Washington Times website.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Relocation group returning to D.C.

By Eric Fisher

Major League Baseball's relocation committee will return to the District today for the latest in a series of negotiations D.C. officials hope will lead to the Montreal Expos moving to the city.

MLB executives also plan to meet with Northern Virginia representatives tomorrow. And while baseball repeatedly has missed deadlines in its troubled three-year ownership of the Expos, the latest meetings are ideally designed to produce a stadium financing plan MLB can accept at last and have been described by both localities as a critical step in the process.

"What we hope to get out of this, obviously, is a sense of where baseball is in their deliberations and when [the relocation decision will arrive]," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission. "The contact with baseball has been very thorough, very professional. I expect more of the same."

Leading baseball's delegation will be MLB President Bob DuPuy and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, both key figures on the relocation committee. Mayor Anthony Williams is expected to lead a group of District officials. The city's meeting will be a smaller affair than a May gathering at One Judiciary Square that included most of the relocation committee, several D.C. Council members and numerous government staffers and attorneys.

Read the entire article ehere on the Washington Times website.

Selig wants to make game global

No to players in Olympics; favors World Cup tourney
By Justice B. Hill /


CLEVELAND -- Commissioner Bud Selig declared dead any movement that would allow Major League Baseball players to take part in the Summer Olympics.

"We've talked a lot about it," said Selig, visiting Jacobs Field on Monday as part of his summerlong tour of baseball cities. "I don't really see it, because you can't stop a pennant race. Imagine now if I said, 'We're not gonna play today for 10 days.' It's not pragmatic."

He said he understood the interest in raising baseball's profile on a more global front, but Selig thought the concept of a soccer-like World Cup or some other international-like tourney might serve the interest of baseball and its fans best.

"I think a World Cup would be spectacular," Selig said. But anything that cut into the heart of the baseball's schedule would do baseball no real good, he said.

Read the entire article here on MLB.com

Nader and NIMBYs go after MLB to DC

Two weeks ago, Bill Lecos, CEO and President of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce wrote an OpEd piece for the DC Business Journal in which he touted the advantages of awarding the Expos to the Northern VA group. Not content to take this standing up, Jack Evans, the head of DC's Finance Committee shot a salvo back the following week in which he went on to claim that given the team, that funding would be pretty much a walk in the park. "You come, baseball, and we will build it. I guarantee it," was one of the more memorable quotes.

Today, both Ralph Nader and members of the "No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign" have OpEd editorials. The NIMBYs are out in the DC area. One directly attacks Evans piece. What seems clear is that getting funding won't be a "snap," although that comment was said by DC Mayor Williams. - Maury


Evans' 'plan' for baseball leaves out wishes of D.C. taxpayers

An OpEd by Linda Leaks, Parisa Norouzi, and Shawn McCarthy
The Business Journal of Washington, D.C.

In his Aug. 13 commentary piece ("Evans: Take N. Va. out of the ballgame"), D.C. Councilman Jack Evans makes a number of presumptuous statements about the District's effort to land the Montreal Expos that show disdain not only for members of the public, but also for his fellow council members. The upshot of Mr. Evans' article is that the council has already made up its collective mind to support public financing of a baseball stadium if D.C. is awarded the Expos' franchise, and, therefore, what D.C. residents have to say about the issue is irrelevant.

In what may be the greatest political boast heard in the District of Columbia since Alexander Haig said, "I'm in charge" after President Reagan was wounded by a would-be assassin, Mr. Evans wrote: "You come, baseball, and we will build it. I guarantee it." Citizens, stand aside. Jack Evans has proclaimed it thus.

(use the link provided above to read the entire OpEd)



Ballparks, corporate welfare

By Ralph Nader
The Washington Times
August 23, 2004

How did Mayor Tony Williams decide that D.C. government should get in the business of entertaining its citizens as opposed to educating them, and providing other essential public programs and services that benefit D.C. residents? Mr. Williams' plan for $383 million in public money to bankroll a stadium to lure a profit-motivated, monopoly entertainment corporation like Major League Baseball is corporate welfare run amok.

Art Modell, former owner of the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns and beneficiary of a taxpayer-financed stadium deal to relocate his own franchise, once told reporters, "The pride and presence of a professional football team is far more important than 30 libraries, and I say that with all due respect to the learning process."

This is proving to be the civic philosophy of Mr. Williams. In a city with a 37 percent functional adult illiteracy rate, the mayor's public giveaway offer for the "pride and presence" of a baseball franchise continues to rise, while the District's 27 woefully underfunded neighborhood libraries have fallen to 51st out of the 50 states and the District (according to Hennen's American Public Library Ratings). Mr. Modell must feel prescient.

(use the link provided above to read the entire OpEd)

Friday, August 20, 2004

Owners approve Selig extension

Commissioner's contract runs through 2009
By Barry M. Bloom /


PHILADELPHIA -- Major League Baseball owners decided unanimously at Thursday's meeting to approve a three-year extension of Commissioner Bud Selig's contract through the 2009 season.

During the busiest quarterly owners' meeting of the year, MLB's top executives also approved the first World Cup-type tournament including Major League players to be staged during Spring Training of 2006. They also approved a new Baseball Channel to debut on cable television sometime in the midst of the 2005 season. Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, also presented a report on the Montreal Expos' situation, but there was no decision about where the team might play next season.

Selig's contract extension was the culmination of a groundswell among owners to keep the Commissioner in office beyond the end of his current contract, which was slated to expire at the end of the 2006 season.

"As I said to the clubs today, I'm very honored by their faith," said Selig surrounded by a bevy of owners at his post-meeting news conference, including the Mets' Fred Wilpon, the Angels' Arte Moreno, the Padres' John Moores, the Giants' Peter Magowan and Boston's Tom Werner. "This is something that they did themselves. I said to them, and I would say the same thing to you: to me, I can't imagine a higher honor than being the Commissioner of baseball. And with it goes an enormous sense of responsibility."

Read the entire article here on MLB.com

Most owners back D.C. area

By Eric Fisher

PHILADELPHIA — The Washington area holds the clear support of most team owners in the Montreal Expos relocation derby, several club officials said yesterday. But as has been the case during much of the process, the primary concern is the potentially harmful economic impact on the Baltimore Orioles.

Asked if greater Washington held a clear advantage for the Expos absent the Orioles factor, San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan said, "Yes, I think that's the general view [of the owners], that the area is the best [option]. But I'm still sympathetic to the concerns of doing something that would be a negative to another owner. It's a conflict, doing what's potentially the best for one franchise versus harming another."

Magowan's comments encapsulated baseball's biggest problem as MLB owners wrapped up a two-day owners' meeting yesterday. Bids from the District and Northern Virginia represent many more prospective fans, a higher per capita income and perhaps more political force than any other competing offer. But on top of the strident objections of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, situated less than 40 miles away from the District and 60 miles from Northern Virginia's preferred site in Loudoun County, none of the Expos bids have met with baseball's approval. MLB president Bob DuPuy articulated that view Tuesday, and it was echoed yesterday by commissioner Bud Selig.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Stop this baseball blathering and make a pitch

By Adrienne Washington
August 20, 2004

Over the background babble of his triplets playing in the kitchen, the fury and frustration in D.C. Council member Jack Evans' voice was loud and clear during a radio interview about Major League Baseball's incessant indecision on bringing baseball back to Washington.

And he was still fuming when I talked with him yesterday. "I don't know what else these guys want from me. ... What more have I got to do?" Mr. Evans said.

So exasperated is he with the team owners' incessant delays in finding a home for the hapless, homeless Montreal Expos that Mr. Evans uncharacteristically said, "Go ahead, quote me." You'll just have to imagine his scurrilous sentiments about "all this chicken-and-egg stuff."

"They keep saying we haven't built a stadium yet, and it's clear we're not going to do that," Mr. Evans said, until the baseball owners award the team to the District. "I've assured them every which way to Tuesday that we can do these things" they are concerned about, Mr. Evans said.

Mr. Evans was emphatic: Give us the team, and we'll give you a stadium.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

VBSA, Baseball Club, Developer Huddle On Loudoun Stadium Plan

By Dusty Smith
Lessburg Today

Aug 20, 2004 -- Members of the Virginia Baseball Club LLC, the group that hopes to purchase the Montreal Expos if that team is moved to Loudoun County, met last night in a lengthy closed session with the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority Board in preparation for what is expected to be “the” decision next week.

William L. “Bill” Collins, president of the VBC, Leonard S. “Hobie” Mitchel, who is president of the development group that would build the stadium and surrounding mixed use project envisioned, and Tom Farley, the VDOT's former Northern Virginia District Administrator who has been hired to help deal with transportation concerns, met with VBSA Executive Director Gabe Paul Jr. and VBSA board members to present tightly guarded plans for the development.

No decisions were announced following the closed session, but shortly beforehand, VBSA Chairman Keith Frederick said the decision was highly anticipated as early as next week. An announcement about the decision had been expected following a meeting among Major League Baseball earlier this week, but was not made. MLB has said there is no time table on the decision.

“We expect this thing to come down to a clear point on this in a week or so,” Frederick said. “I don’t know if there will be a formal announcement. They will certainly make their intention clear.”

Read the entire article here on the Leesburg2day website.

A note from the Blogger

Hi all,

Over the last couple of days, due to the Owners' Meetings in Philly, the level of press has been nothing short of a flood. To encapsulate some of the major topics:

  • Bud Selig got an extension on his contract that will keep him in MLB's graces till 2009
  • MLB owners also approved a 10-year funding plan to start a still unnamed baseball television network that would be a 24 hour network.
  • World Cup baseball got approval... Barely. The Chicago White Sox, Detroit and Kansas City voted against the World Cup and the New York Yankees abstained, one baseball official said on the condition of anonymity.
  • Finally, as expected, there was no vote on the relocation of the Expos. The volume of press on this matter alone has been quite staggering. To that end, there may be some articles that do not get blogged, simply for the fact that there's redundancy occurring. Just how many times does one wish to read the same quotes from DuPuy or Selig stating that they're dealing with Angelos? My take would be no more than a few times.

    There will be more today, to be certain. I'll be posting them in a flurry all at once.

    Stay tuned,
    Maury Brown

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Owners Seek Best Ballpark Deal for Expos

AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA - Trying to get the best possible ballpark deal for the Montreal Expos, major league baseball instructed its lawyers to press ahead with negotiations involving four of the areas bidding for the team.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said Wednesday that the meetings will take place within 10 days but didn't specify any communities. A baseball official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said meeting will be set up with Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C; Las Vegas; and Norfolk, Va.

The relocation meeting highlighted the opening day of the two-day session, which ends Thursday, when owners are expected to approve a three-year contract extension through 2009 for commissioner Bud Selig.

For the Expos, Washington and Northern Virginia remain the focus of most baseball owners, several of them have said in recent weeks. No consensus between the two has emerged, and baseball wants the communities to pay most of the costs of a new ballpark for the team, which was bought by the other 29 clubs before the 2002 season.

Read the entire article here on the Palm Beach Post website.

MLB Has Not Made a Decision

Expos' Next Home Still Is Unknown
By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 19, 2004; Page D05

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 18 -- Major League Baseball is still trying to decide where the Montreal Expos will play next season, and it is premature to say that the team will be moved to the Washington area, according to MLB President and Chief operating Officer Robert A. DuPuy.

"There's nothing yet that we can tie a ribbon on and sign," DuPuy said. "I wouldn't characterize anyone as the leading candidate at the moment." DuPuy's comments came after a 90-minute meeting of baseball's relocation committee, which has been charged with finding the Expos a new home for next season, at a hotel here. The relocation committee's meeting included discussions with Commissioner Bud Selig, who is here as part of baseball's quarterly owners' meetings.

DuPuy would not set a firm date on when baseball will make a decision on the Expos, but the league is long past its original target of last month's All-Star Game in Houston. He said each of the six cities are in various stages of readiness, but discussions may intensify with certain candidates in the next 10 days.

"Eventually, these discussions are going to have to evolve to a point where either we say or the municipality or government said, 'We're as far as we can go. This is the deal that we've got before us.' And we'll go from there," DuPuy said, adding that he is confident a decision can be reached in time for next season.

In addition to the District and Northern Virginia, the other potential locations are Norfolk, Las Vegas, Portland, Ore., and Monterey, Mexico.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

No decision in sight on Expos

By Jayson Stark
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

PHILADELPHIA -- One of these days real, real soon, the Montreal Expos are going to have a new home. Bud Selig promises. His trusty COO, Bob DuPuy, seconds the promise.

Just don't ask when. Or where. Or any of those other sticky questions that make these guys real uncomfortable.

It's an excellent bet that the Expos will not be moving to Boise, Idaho, or Bismarck, S.D., or -- barring a very unlikely turn of events -- any other location that doesn't suspiciously resemble the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. That part hasn't changed.

Peter Angelos is continuing to fight the Expos moving to either Washington D.C. or Northern Virginia.

Nevertheless, an owners meeting that once looked like a momentous event in the life of the Expos franchise arrived Wednesday. Yet there was DuPuy, still standing in front of the cameras, giving a very familiar little speech.

"No decisions have been made, and no cities have been eliminated," he said, repeating a chorus he has now delivered more times than Springsteen has sung "Thunder Road."

Read the entire article here on ESPN.com

Mayor, pitchmen keep making cases to baseball officials

The Virginian-Pilot
© August 18, 2004

As Major League Baseball owners prepare to convene today in Philadelphia for two days of meetings, the local group trying to lure the Montreal Expos to downtown Norfolk continues frenetically lobbying baseball officials.

Mayor Paul D. Fraim has been burning up the telephone lines calling anyone and everyone who will listen to him extol the city’s virtues.

William Somerindyke Jr., chief executive officer of the Norfolk Baseball Co., returned Monday from a trip to California . He wouldn’t say whom he met but did say, “I was there on baseball-related business.”

Al Abiouness , the only one of the prospective team owners who has been identified publicly, also has been meeting with league officials and Gov. Mark R. Warner.

Will it be enough? Local officials admit they don’t have a clue.

Read the entire article here on the Virginian-Pilot website.

Va. Consortium's Chief Has Team-Building in His Blood

Former Ballplayer Has Worked for Years to Lure Major League Club
By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2004; Page B01

As a minor league catcher, William L. Collins III loved crouching at the rough and dusty hub of the game.

Three decades later, the pugnacious and politically minded Collins, who played for the Shreveport Captains and the San Antonio Brewers, is relying on the same instinct in his bid to bring Major League Baseball to Northern Virginia.

The partnership Collins leads has spent more than a decade and $13 million trying to buy a baseball team. After a succession of long shots and near misses, and a run of refinements and reinventions, Collins says his Virginia Baseball Club is nearing the end of its quest, now focused on acquiring the ailing Montreal Expos.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Expect owners meetings to be busy

By Barry M. Bloom
08/17/2004 7:13 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The three-year extension of Commissioner Bud Selig's contract heads what is expected to be the busiest quarterly Major League Baseball executive meetings of the year, taking place this week.

When the 30 owners conclude their joint meeting Thursday morning, they will likely have extended Selig's current contract until 2009, approved a new Baseball Channel -- which could debut on cable television as early as next year -- and given a rubber stamp to the first World Cup-type tournament including Major League players for as early as 2005. They're also expected to address the ongoing situation of where the Montreal Expos will call home next season.

Selig's contract extension, though, is at the top of the list. "The Commissioner is always the most important issue," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer. "The owners want to continue the progress that's been made with Bud in office. There are a lot of things in process and the owners want him to see it through."

Read the entire article here on MLB.com

Logistics, not Orioles, keeping Expos from D.C. area

By Hal Bodley,
Posted 8/16/2004 8:34 PM

Issues such as financing, traffic and zoning laws, and not opposition from Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, are what's keeping baseball from moving the Montreal Expos to the Washington, D.C., area, Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy said Monday.

Three people with knowledge of the relocation process told USA TODAY in late June that Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia near Dulles International Airport are favored by the relocation committee, but there continues to be a split among members as to which area should get the team.

MLB has owned the Expos since February 2002 after efforts to contract the team failed."The main obstacle is sorting out the complexities of the various offers," said DuPuy, who heads the relocation process. "This has nothing to do with an owner or a group of owners making the decision for the committee. It has to do with getting it right."

Read the entire article here on USA Today.com

Monday, August 16, 2004

With a Light Touch, Heavy Hitters Pursue D.C. Team

Baseball Group Hopes Payoff Is Near After Years of Perseverance
By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 17, 2004; Page B01

In the mid-1970s, while most 10-year-olds were watching Saturday morning cartoons, Jeff Zients was poring over the classified ads, searching for buried treasure.

Since then, Zients has applied his enterprising skills to more serious pursuits. He built two innovative research and consulting firms that went public in 1999 and 2001 with blockbuster offerings. In 2002, he made Fortune magazine's list of the 40 richest Americans under 40, with a net worth of $149 million, just ahead of Julia Roberts.

But Zients's heart still belongs to baseball. And in June, the 37-year-old Washington native agreed to become president and chief executive of the Washington Baseball Club, a group of wealthy area investors who hope to operate the capital city's first major league franchise in more than 30 years.

Before that can happen, Major League Baseball must first agree to move a ballclub to the District, and then choose Zients and his partners to buy the team. Both issues are undecided. But after 2 1/2 maddening years of on-again, off-again talks with Washington and other interested jurisdictions, baseball officials say they are finally ready to choose a new home for the financially struggling Montreal Expos.

The District and Northern Virginia are said to be at the top of the list.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

Moorad to put $35 million in D-Backs

Union questions agent's jump
ESPN.com news services

Agent-turned-owner Jeff Moorad could be putting $35 million or more into the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team he'll be joining Sept. 1 en route to the CEO's chair he'll assume on New Year's Day.

He'll leave behind a long and lucrative career as a sports agent and a baseball players' union that's interested in determining just how Moorad's involvement in the ownership of the club all came about.

Moorad will be replacing Jerry Colangelo, who was forced out by four investors brought in earlier to bail out the financially troubled D-Backs.

The ex-agent was the choice of this group.

Read the rest of the article here on ESPN.com

Saturday, August 14, 2004

MLB readies for own TV network

By Eric Fisher
The Washington Times

A 24-hour cable channel devoted to baseball finally will begin to see the light of day this week, assuming major league owners vote as expected and approve funding for the venture.

MLB's own TV channel — matching similar in-house outlets like the NFL Network, NBA TV, Speed Channel and the Golf Channel — has been in the works for nearly two years amid steady internal retooling. But the network is set to reach households sometime during the 2005 season, and the timing could hardly be better.

After more than a decade of labor rancor and ugly feelings toward the sport, MLB is enjoying a striking revival this season, one in which competitive pennant races are prevalent, attendance and TV ratings are up and corporate sponsors are gladly spending tens of millions to connect themselves to baseball. In short, MLB at last has a modicum of leverage to flex its muscles in the marketplace.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Angelos's Season for Fighting

Combative Baltimore Lawyer and Orioles Owner Defends Territory From Threat of a New Team
By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 15, 2004; Page A01

Ask Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos why he doesn't want baseball to return to Washington, and it doesn't take long for the exasperation to show.

"This isn't about me," Angelos pleaded in a recent interview, lowering his booming baritone for emphasis. "The facts are speaking here, not the emotions or personal interest."

Coming from Angelos, such an assessment is bound to invite some skepticism. Since he made his first millions as a lawyer handling asbestos cases, Angelos's reputation has rested precisely on his ability to fight -- and fight fiercely -- for his clients' interests and his own.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Post website.

This is a lengthy piece on Peter Angelos. A lot of background on him. More of a PR piece than anything. - Maury

M's near deal with Rainiers

The Tacoma News Tribune

The Seattle Mariners are expected to extend their player development agreement with the Tacoma Rainiers as soon as early next week.

The new agreement is for a two-year extension through the 2006 season.The current agreement would have expired following this season.

On Tuesday, the Tacoma City Council will vote on an extension of the Cheney Stadium lease agreement between the city and Rainiers owner George Foster for two additional years.

Tacoma Rainiers general manager Dave Lewis and Foster's attorney, Mark Kanai, wouldn't comment Thursday.

Read the entire article here on the Tacoma News-Tribune.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Expos Rumblings

From Jayson Starks Column on ESPN.com.

In a few weeks, it will be 1,000 days since Major League Baseball assumed ownership of the Montreal Expos. Back then, it was all going to be very temporary, of course.

But this is a story giving new meaning to that word, "temporary." Since MLB bought the Expos, Ichiro Suzuki has gotten 600 hits. Jim Thome has bopped 135 homers. Dan Miceli has pitched for teams in five different divisions.

And only four -- yes, four -- of the major-league players Bud Selig inherited when he took over the Expos are still around (Jose Vidro, Brian Schneider, Tomo Ohka and Tony Armas Jr.).

Yet this week, when baseball owners assemble in Philadelphia for their regularly scheduled quarterly meetings, it will be more of the same old same old, as the commish once again puts off a final decision on the Expos' next home.

Read the entire column by clicking here.

Las Vegas Rolls the Dice on Expos' Move

City Is Among Alternatives to Washington Area
By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 13, 2004; Page D01

The reluctance of Commissioner of Baseball Allan H. "Bud" Selig to move the Montreal Expos to the Washington area has led Major League Baseball to a 15-acre parking lot behind the Las Vegas Strip.

Here, on pavement hot enough to melt shoes, investors hope to build a $500 million ballpark for all occasions. They call it a "smart stadium" and it would be home to the wayward Expos during the major league season, then be reconfigured to accommodate boxing, concerts and other events the rest of the year.

The plan is a fanciful one, even by Vegas's lofty standards. It relies almost entirely on private funds from still-unidentified sources. It seeks to fold the national pastime into a neon world that exists to encourage gambling, a baseball taboo ever since gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series.

Read the entire article here on the Washinhgton Post website.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

[VA] Speaker: Legislature might balk at baseball stadium finance plan

Associated Press

McLEAN — A plan to pay for a Major League Baseball stadium near Dulles Airport using bonds backed by the "moral obligation" of Virginia could face stiff resistance in the General Assembly, said House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford.

Backers of a northern Virginia ballpark are competing with Washington, D.C., and other cities to be the new home for the Montreal Expos. The Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, a state agency leading the charge for a new ballpark, has said a major advantage of their plan is that the financing is already in place and no new legislation is needed.

But the plan to use "moral obligation" bonds will require approval of the state legislature. And Howell, who opposes taxpayer-financed stadiums, said that issuing such bonds for a ballpark means less money will be available for important local projects like water quality improvements.

"The stadium project needs to stand on its own," Howell said in a telephone interview. "When you're talking about state bonds, I think that could be a cause for concern."

To read the article from WAVY TV click here

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Investor buys Miami Arena for $28.01M

By Susan Stabley
The Business Journal of South Florida
4:43 PM EDT Tuesday

A Wellington-based investor has purchased the Miami Arena for $28.01 million, with no immediate plans to tear down the structure.

"I would say the price is a very fair price," said new owner Glenn Straub, president of Broward Yachts, one of several businesses he said his family owns.

The only other bidder in the auction, which lasted nearly 30 minutes, was parking magnate Hank Sopher, whose high bid was $28 million.

Bidding began at 1:14 p.m. and ended at 1:37 p.m.

Straub said he believes there's a niche for the building and plans to keep non-government employees on. He envisions as many as 105 events could be held there, including boat shows and conventions.

Asked if he would be tearing the building down, Straub said it was possible, but not an immediate plan.

To read the South Florida Business Journal article click here

MLB announces Initiative for Kids

Promotion will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs, CureSearch
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
In an unprecedented effort to support important youth-related charitable causes while at the same time giving more young people the opportunity to attend ballgames, Major League Baseball announced today that it is implementing a league-wide, $1 ticket program from mid-August through early September.

All proceeds from the "Commissioner's Initiative for Kids" program will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America (the official charity of Major League Baseball) and the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Read the entire article here on MLB.com

''There’s a baseball crowd here,'' says local [Norfolk] investor

The Virginian-Pilot © August 8, 2004

Alfred E. Abiouness, a Norfolk native, Navy veteran and engineer, is the first person to become publicly known as a member of an investment group seeking to purchase Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos and move them to Norfolk. Abiouness emerged last week as the only local investor and the team’s managing partner.

Abiouness, 72, has been a part owner of the Norfolk Tides for nearly four decades. In interviews with staff writer Harry Minium, he said he respects but disagrees with Tides general manager Dave Rosenfield, who recently told a reporter from Las Vegas that Hampton Roads cannot support Major League Baseball.

Read the entire article here on the Virginian-Pilot website.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

What would Ewing Kauffman do?

Many believe the Royals would still be a contender if their former owner were around. Some say he wouldn't spend the money.

The Kansas City Star

The boom started in 1990, and Ewing Kauffman resolved to find himself right at its forefront.

Free agency. It sounded regal, bourgeois, a chance to capture the best by flaunting the most. And Kauffman, the 74-year-old Royals owner, wanted it all.

“When free agents were sort of the in thing, when they first became fashionable, he said, ‘If we're going to get into this, we're going to (do it) right,' ” then-general manager John Schuerholz said. “He made some aggressive free-agent moves.”

Total payroll: A major-league-record $23.2 million.

Read the entire article here on the KC Star website.

New University of South Carolina/city stadium plan could leave out Bombers

Original proposal for shared facility is dead; newest one could drive pro team from town
Sports Columnist

“We’re in the bottom of the ninth inning in terms of what is doable.”
— Mayor Bob Coble on stadium possibilities

THE UNIVERSITY OF South Carolina is planning to present a third option for a baseball stadium that would be located on a USC-owned site and would be a shared facility with the City of Columbia.

Should the proposal ultimately be approved by City Council, professional baseball likely will be dead in Columbia.

“We’ve reached the point in this process where proposals are necessary,” Mayor Bob Coble said after a meeting Friday that included representatives from City Council, USC, a private investor and the Capital City Bombers. “It’s time to make that assessment (which proposal is possible or not possible). ... I think we’re in the bottom of the ninth inning in terms of what is doable.”

Read the entire article here on the South Carolina The State website.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Yankees put kibosh on CBS show's pinstripes

Fictional Empires to have plain unis on series
By Darren Rovell

The jerseys of the New York Empires will look a little bit less like the
New York Yankees when the fictional team appears in the CBS series "Clubhouse" this fall.

That's because the Yankees requested that if they couldn't have any control over the show's material, they wanted to have the pinstripes on the blue and white uniforms removed.
The hats the fictional team will wear feature the letters "NYC," though not in the interlocking fashion the Yankees sport. The series is based on the story of a Yankees fan who went on to become one of the team's batboys.

Read the entire article here on ESPN.com

Baseball looks at N.Va. ballpark plan

By Eric Fisher

Major League Baseball's relocation committee met Thursday with leaders of Northern Virginia's bid, the latest step in its much-delayed deliberations on the future of Montreal Expos.

The trip, led by MLB president Bob DuPuy and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, centered on both the commonwealth's financing plan and land acquisition for a proposed stadium in Loudoun County. MLB officials did not meet with any leaders from the District, which has its own bid for the Expos.

"There's nothing to read into that," said a industry source familiar with the session. "The Northern Virginia bid has more moving parts, the inclusion of the developers. There's more things that need to be clarified." That said, the relocation committee's attention, as it has since late May, remains squarely focused on the District and Northern Virginia, according to several baseball sources. Four other candidates — Norfolk; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Ore., and Las Vegas — have not been eliminated, but lately little time has been spent on their bids. MLB commissioner Bud Selig said last month the other Expos' bidder — San Juan, Puerto Rico — no longer is being considered.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Colangelo out as Diamondbacks' CEO

Former agent Moorad to replace him
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Jerry Colangelo, who brought Arizona a major league baseball franchise in 1998 and a World Series title three years later, is being forced out as chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks and will be replaced by Jeff Moorad, an agent for several top players.

Colangelo, the team's managing general partner, said Friday that after disagreements with the partnership that owns the team about the direction of the franchise, he was asked whether he would be willing to step down.

Read the entire article here on ESPN.com