Front office veteran Pat Gillick elected to Hall of Fame
Wherever Pat Gillick goes, success seems to follow and he was the lone candidate elected to the Hall of Fame last week by the Expansion Era Committee. Gillick has built winning teams for the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies and his teams have won three World Series and made 11 playoff appearances. He’s currently a senior advisor for the Phillies and throughout his career, he’s spent 27 years as a team’s general manager.
The other big news was that former union chief Marvin Miller and the late Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner, weren’t voted in. I could see Steinbrenner being pushed off because of his controversial past (although I firmly believe he’ll eventually get voted in) but Miller’s shunning is more and more befuddling. In fact he’s losing his patience and he lashed out at the Hall of Fame in general. It’s difficult for me to understand why Miller isn’t in the Hall of Fame because of the impact he’s made on the sport.
Divorce judge awards Dodgers to both McCourts
We saw the latest chapter in the whole McCourt divorce saga come to a close as the judge in charge of the case threw out a property agreement and awarded ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers to both Frank and Jamie McCourt. For now, this means the team is once again (or still) in limbo and it looks like Jamie is pushing for a settlement where the team is sold.
For now, Frank McCourt is holding his ground and it looks like he’s going to fight the ruling. That hasn’t stopped former Dodger Steve Garvey from putting together a group to buy the team. McCourt is saying the team isn’t for sale but it’ll be interesting to see how long he has the choice to rebuff potential suitors.
MLB average salary tops $3 million
For the first time ever, the average salary of a major league player topped $3 million at the end of the year. The average sat at $3,014,572 in September and this was 0.6 percent more than last year. That marks the smallest increase in salaries since a 2.5 percent drop in 2004. The highest average salary was the New York Yankees at over $7.5 million. The Philadelphia Phillies came in second with more than $5.5 million. The Pittsburgh Pirates had the lowest average payroll with a little more than $1.1 million.
First basemen topped the positions with $9.5 million. The lowest paid position wer relief pitchers at $2.11 million.
Cal League clubs fight stadium stagnation
Ben Hill’s latest is about two California League clubs that have some pretty tough stadium situations. The High Desert Mavericks play at city-owned Stater Brothers Stadium and after past ownership tried to move the team and failed, they were eventually sold to Main Street Baseball. The team has the option to get out of their lease after 2011 and you wonder if this will give the new owners some leverage to help improve things in their current city of Adelanto.
The other team Hill writes about are the Bakersfield Blaze. Their home at Sam Lynn Ballpark is 70 years old and it has the shortest center field fence in all of baseball at only 354 feet. The current ownership plans to continue to play in the old ballpark but they hope to come up with some fresh ideas to give attendance a pop.
iPhone apps a hit for baseball fans
Baseball fans spoke loud and clear with their wallet this past year and they made MLB.com’s At Bat application the top grossing Apple app in 2010. The iPhone/iPod Touch app was the highest grossing application across the board while the iPad application was the top selling sports app.
Teams are beginning to jump on the application bandwagon as well. The Sacramento River Cats recently unveiled an application that allows fans to buy tickets through their phones. This marks the first time a Minor League team has made such an application available.