BOB: Baseball cards and more on the Marlins

Upper Deck ends bid to acquire Topps

Baseball card manufacturer Upper Deck announced last week that it would end its hostile takeover attempt of rival card maker Topps. Upper Deck stated that Topps’ executives were withholding key information during the due diligence process, and the company felt that Topps executives were doing all they could to impede the takeover attempt.

This pretty much clears the way for the takeover bid headed by a group led by former Disney chairman Michael Eisner. The shareholders lose out though, because Upper Deck was offering $1 a share more than the offer made by Eisner’s Tornante Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners.

Construction on Devil Rays’ spring training facility begins

The Devil Rays broke ground on their new spring training facility last week. Beginning in 2009, they’ll begin play at the newly refurbished Charlotte Sports Park in Charlotte County, FL. From the descriptions of the renovations in the press release, it looks like the Rays will be moving into what will effectively be a brand-new complex. The renovations are being funded by a one-fifth of a cent tourism tax as well as contributions from the Devil Rays and the state of Florida.

University of Miami’s move out of Orange Bowl could open up Marlins move

Last week, I talked about how the rhetoric behind the Marlins and their new stadium had begun to heat up again. Now, sides are being drawn as the University of Miami announced its departure from the Orange Bowl to Dolphins Stadium. The question is whether the Marlins should make the Orange Bowl (or at least the site of the Orange Bowl) their new home; there have been stories showing the pros and the cons to the idea.

For now, the team is playing coy and the Marlins are leveraging UM’s move to Dolphin Stadium, where their lease runs out in 2010, more than they are the opening of the Orange Bowl site. For now, we’ll probably continue to hear about how the Marlins want something in downtown Miami.

Development near Fenway Park announced

The Boston Red Sox and John Rosenthal, a local developer, announced last week that they’ll partner on a mixed-use development near Fenway Park. The $400 million plan will include residential, commercial and office space near the Massachusetts Turnpike near the home ballpark of the Red Sox.

There were some changes to what the two parties initially envisioned. Because of financing, the residential portion of the developments will be all apartments with no condominiums. The four buildings will also be 17 stories or fewer, while the original plan called for towers as high as 30 stories.

More off days during the playoffs

As part of the new television deal with Major League Baseball and FOX, the World Series will begin play on Wednesday instead of a Saturday in an attempt to boost ratings. This will also lead to three extra days off during the playoffs that have some teams speculating whether it’ll help or hurt them. There will be an extra day off between games four and five of both the Division Series and the League Championship Series as well an extra day off between the League Championship Series and the World Series. It very well could make the difference between a team getting the ace in to pitch one more game or one of their top relievers who was used the game before.

The job duties of a clubhouse attendant

Lynn Henning at the Detroit News continued his series on the interior aspects of baseball, and this week, he took a look at the job duties of the clubhouse attendant. Jim Schmakel has been the Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse attendant for 29 years and he’s the spotlight of the story. It looks like food for the players is the primary responsibility, but ordering and laundering uniforms is definitely something that has to be taken care of as well.

The Lerner Road Show

The Washington Nationals’ principal owner, Mark Lerner, recently went on a road trip to visit other major league ballparks to come up with ideas for the Nationals’ new stadium which is set to open in 2008. The focus wasn’t as much on the design of the stadium as it was on concessions and in-game entertainment. It looks like the Nationals have already decided to go with a new concessionaire. Concessions company Centerplate, which runs the concessions for six other major league ballparks, is expected to replace current concessionaire Aramark.

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