BOB:  Clemens Goes to Court and Minor League Baseball News

Roger Clemens strikes back

Roger Clemens has begun his push to clear his name with regard to his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. Last week he said that while former trainer Brian McNamee did inject him, it wasn’t steroids. Clemens claims it was a painkiller and vitamin B12. Clemens has now taken this a step further and after an interview on 60 Minutes and a press conference on Monday, he has filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee for his allegations after Clemens and McNamee talked over the phone.

The phone conversation was played at Clemens’ press conference on Monday, and McNamee continually asks Roger Clemens what he wants him to do. Clemens has also alleged that McNamee was threatened by the Mitchell investigators if he didn’t give up Clemens’ name during questioning.

In the meantime, the league has decided to enhance clubhouse security as was recommended in the Mitchell report. This will involve background checks on current and future employees in the clubhouse and a more careful monitoring of mail and packages that come to the team’s clubhouse.

Quad Cities make whole changes after ownership shift

Less than two months after Main Street Iowa purchased the minor league team in Quad Cities, the ownership group has attempted to make some major changes to help bring fans into the ballpark. They’ve changed the name of the team back to the River Bandits after having a “Rename the Team” contest. Former Jacksonville Suns general manager Kirk Goodman is running the show, and he’s said his goal is to get attendance back into the 250,000 that the team was drawing in the 1990s.

Bronx still waiting after Yankee Stadium construction continues

As part of the deal that allowed the New York Yankees to build their new ballpark, the team was supposed to contribute $1.2 million a year, beginning the year construction began, to a special panel as part of a community benefits agreement. Then the panel was supposed to distribute the money to various community groups in the area. To date, no money has left the building and the special panel has yet to meet. In addition, the panel has yet to choose a permanent chairman or register as a charity.

In the meantime, several local elected officials have complained about being in the dark as to what will happen next. The Yankees have said that they have no problem sending the panel the money, just not until the panel meets; in the meantime, the money is sitting in escrow waiting for just that day.

Cubs get approval to add 70 seats

The Chicago Cubs received approval from the city’s department of planning and development to add 70 seats along the third base line at Wrigley Field. The team needed approval to make the changes because Wrigley Field has landmark status. The Cubs also received approval to extend their digital signage on each side of the grandstands. This is all in lieu of the Cubs awaiting a decision as to whether or not the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority will acquire the ballpark.

Pulaski lures a new minor league team

Just a year after the Toronto Blue Jays left the city of Pulaski hanging by leaving the city for greener pastures in the Gulf Coast League, the city has managed to draw a new minor league affiliate. The Seattle Mariners agreed to use the city as their Appalachian League affiliate; it’s the seventh major league to roll through town.

The good news is, the Appalachian League can now normalize its schedule because it’s back to 10 teams. Last year provided some logistical problems because with an odd number of teams, at least one team had an off day every day.

Pirates fans to pay more for beer in 2008

Pirates fans will still be able to drown their sorrows; they’ll just have to open up their wallets a bit more because Allegheny County has instituted a 10 percent tax on alcoholic beverages. To make matters worse, the concessionaire is rounding up to the nearest quarter so the price increase will probably run closer to 12 percent.

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