BOB:  Mark Cuban’s Troubles and MLB Network News

Mark Cuban Charged For Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for insider trading earlier this week. It seems he got a tip from someone inside the company Mamma.com and sold his shares before the stock dropped nearly 10 percent the next day. In the process, Cuban avoided losing nearly $750,000 by getting out early.

Some of you may wonder what this has to do with baseball. Well, Cuban was one of the people bidding to buy the Chicago Cubs. My guess is that with the looming charges, Cuban is now out of the running. Word was that the league wasn’t going to let him buy the team anyway, but this provides a convenient excuse to push him out.

Coming This January

Baseball fans will get their baseball fix early in 2009 because on New Year’s Day, the MLB Network goes live on high-definition television. In an interesting interview the MLB Network senior vice president of distribution, affiliate sales and marketing talked about how the current economy would affect the network. He also discussed briefly how the network hopes to expand the number of televised games from the initial 26 it’s already got on its schedule.

I’m interested to see how the network does. The debut of the station will take place in over 50 million homes; that will be the biggest debut ever. There are usually growing pains as new networks weed out what works and what doesn’t, but I’m looking forward to how everything develops.

The MLB Logo Debate

Two years ago, a Wall Street Journal article gave credit to Jerry Dior, a 76-year-old graphic designer, for creating the current MLB logo. MLB has failed to confirm whether Dior was the man behind the design, but since the time the article ran, another person has come forward and taken credit for the design. James Sherman, a comic-book artist, has since said that the credit should go to him.

In an interesting interview at ESPN.com, Paul Lukas caught up with Sherman and Dior. In the interview, Sherman was taken out of the equation and confirmed that he didn’t design the current logo, but that he worked on something similar about 10 years after the logo was designed not knowing that the current logo existed. The discussion with Dior was a lot longer and while there’s no way for sure to prove he’s the designer, he definitely makes an interesting case.

Dodgers Reach For the Moon At Glendale

At historic Dodgertown, the team’s highest-priced spring training ticket was $20. Now that the Dodgers are moving into their new Glendale, Ariz. facility in 2009, they’ve decided to raise their prices a little. OK, make that a lot.

Of the top seats, 692 have a $90 price tag. Fortunately, you get more than just a great view. If you pony up for the $90, you get free parking which would normally cost $10, a $20 coupon for food, beverages and merchandise, a premium souvenir as well as complimentary sunscreen, water and fancy towels. The cheapest in-stadium seat is $18, but if you want to rough it and sit on the lawn, you can get in to watch the game for $8.

It’ll be interesting to see how many of these seats they sell with the state of the economy. While things could turn around before March, it’s not likely and my opinion is, spring training revenue is going to take at least a marginal downturn in 2009.

Salem Avalanche Changes Name

The Salem Avalanche recently became a Boston Red Sox affiliate and with the change in affiliation comes a name change. Now, the team will be called the Salem Red Sox and the hope is that the Red Sox brand gives the team a boost as far as revenue is concerned. Prior to their affiliation with the Red Sox, Salem was the Carolina League affiliate for the Houston Astros.

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