A brief history of revenue sharing, from Bill Veeck to Randy Levine.
A little over a week ago, Yankees president and designated apoplectic pit bull Randy Levine decided to divert attention from his team's pitching woes by going after a new target: Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg. Five days earlier, the Texas honcho had asserted that it was his team's efforts to sign Cliff Lee that had stalled the Yankees long enough for the Phillies to enter the picture with their ultimately winning bid. Levine, hearing these as fighting words, lashed out by calling Greenberg a welfare case:
The Madoff-Wilpon fiasco is more likely to hurt the Mets' owners than their team.
Ever since word first broke two years ago that the Mets' owners, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, had been heavily invested in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, I've been getting occasional questions along the lines of "What will this mean for the Mets' payroll?" And my reflexive answer has been: "Not much." Just because the Wilpons' personal bank account was taking a beating, my reasoning went, that shouldn't change whether it made financial sense to sign a top-tier free agent to try to boost wins and thus ticket sales—any more than it mattered to the Yankees when George Steinbrenner's ship-building business went kablooey. And, indeed, the Madoff scandal didn't stop the Mets from throwing lots of money at Jason Bay in the hopes that he'd get Met fans dreaming of a World Series. (That Bay ended up reminding them of a different 1980s flashback is another story.)
Efforts to move the A's to San Jose are stalled, but will Commissioner Selig set his sights on a new landing spot?
It has been almost a year since I last checked in here on the Oakland A's long-running game of footsie with San Jose, where owner Lew Wolff has been dreaming of moving the franchise seemingly ever since he bought it in 2005. At the time, a three-man task force appointed by Bud Selig to decide the team's future was entering its 12th month of deliberations. Selig promised that their report "will be coming in the near future."
A's fans will be forgiven for wondering if Selig meant a near future in geologic time. The three men—former Arthur Anderson sports consultant Bob Starkey, ex-Giants vice-president Corey Busch, and MLB lawyer Irwin Raij--have now been at their task for 22 months, in which time they've produced absolutely zilch in the way of a resolution to the question of where the A's will be playing long-term.
The O's and Indians are among the teams looking at refitting '90s-era ballparks for a new economic future.
The New York Times' Ken Belson has been writing a lot on the stadium beat of late, not all of it good. But today's paper brings an interesting look at the Orioles' plans for upgrading Camden Yards, which is (gulp) 18 years old this season — a cause toward which they've brought back Janet Marie Smith, who was project manager for the park's original design.
The Tampa Tribune estimates that the Rays could bring in $40 million a year in new revenues from a new stadium. Does that make it a good deal?
For those of you who read the Tampa Tribune religiously — and who doesn't? — you no doubt saw the long piece yesterday running down everything that's wrong with Tropicana Field. Among the complaints: The luxury boxes have obstructed views of flyballs, the catwalks get in the way (whether of flyballs or of watching them, the author doesn't seem clear), and the food concessionnaire is crappy — which may be the first suggestion that a team should build a new stadium just to get out of a concessions contract since Tim Naehring declared Fenway Park to be obsolete for its lack of chef's salads.
Tickets too pricey? Blame the business-entertainment tax deduction.
Thanks to the Great Recession (official run now over, but still in extended performances), what seemed like a never-ending boom in baseball ticket prices has slowed to a crawl the last couple of years: If you don't live in New York or Boston, there's even a chance you're paying less for tickets now than you were two years ago.
This barely rises to the level of rumor, but this morning, former Oakland city economic advisor-turned-San Francisco Chronicle blogger Zennie Abraham reports that Bud Selig's Oakland A's stadium commission will report back within three days, and will recommend that the team be moved to San Jose.
Ah, MLB.com. It so really, really wants to be taken seriously as an independent news site — even going so far as to end every article carries the tagline "This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs," hoping to convince you that despite being owned by MLB, it's real journalism.
While the report, whenever the task force is done typing, will no doubt include an evaluation of the three main contenders to be the future home of the A's — San Jose, A's owner Lew Wolff's preferred new home; Fremont, which has a conveniently empty auto plant site to pitch; and Oakland, which upped its ante by proposing several new potential stadium sites over the winter — what everyone is waiting for is what it says about the Giants' territorial rights to San Jose, which the team acquired as part of its own abortive efforts to move to the South Bay 20 years ago, and haven't given up ever since. (Note to any readers tempted to compare this with the Nats-Orioles territorial dustup of a few years back: That was only over cable rights, not territorial rights, which are a whole different kettle of fish under MLB bylaws.) If Selig's boys come in with a low price for what it'd take to indemnify the Giants for loss of their territory, we're likely to see a full-on push for an A's stadium in San Jose; a high price, and it's going to be a tough nut for Wolff to crack.
The Yanks' old home could be all but gone by opening day.
A few hours before the Yankees won the World Championship last November, demolition finally began on the original Yankee Stadium, more than a year after they abandoned it for the ersatz place with the big scoreboard and flashing lights across the street. Until now, most of the demolition work has been to the inside of the seating bowl, but now the big work has begun, with cranes taking down chunks of the upper deck and ripping gashes into what's left so that it can be pulled down in pieces. With five weeks to go until Opening Dight, it's entirely possible that by the time fans arrive to see the 2009 World Champion banner raised, little will be left of the old place but a mound of rubble.
Checking out the new digs for the Bombers shows them to be impressive in some ways, but less so in others.
The new Yankee Stadium is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean... But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
The Yankees officially open their new $1.3 billion-or-so digs tonight, with the first of a two-game exhibition series against the Cubs (weather permitting), but yesterday 15,000 fans and curious onlookers got a peek inside the gates courtesy of the team, which handed out tickets to an open batting practice via the Bronx's community boards. (This was part of the team's "community benefits" strategy, launched to distract the locals from the fact that they were building their new home on top of a public park.) Since I work part-time in the Bronx and have friends there, I was able to tag along and see what we got for our $1.2 billion public subsidy.
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