BOB: Marlins and Mets stadium news

Marlins make stadium concessions in lieu of county vote

February 13, 2009 is a big day for the Florida Marlins. That morning, Miami city commissioners will vote on the stadium proposal and then that afternoon, it’ll be the county’s turn. In order to help push the legislators in their favor, the Marlins have sweetened the pot for the community.

One big concession is that the Marlins will be responsible for cost overruns both on the ballpark as well as the adjacent road work. In addition, the rent will gradually increase by 2 percent every year. (The initial rent is $2.3 million.) Also, if the team is sold within seven years, the amount of the county and city’s share of the profit has increased from 10 to 18 percent. Finally, the team is going to double the number of tickets available for free to youth and community groups from 5,000 to 10,000. We’ll just have to wait and see next week whether the concessions are enough.

Israeli baseball league mounts a comeback

There was professional baseball in Israel for just one year in 2007. The league eventually disbanded and up until recently, there was no word of a replacement league stepping in. Now, Marv Goldklang, who not only is a limited partner with the Yankees and the owner of several minor league teams, is looking to give baseball in Israel another try. Goldklang was on the advisory committee back in 2007, but he left because of his general displeasure at the operations of the league.

For now, he’s not rushing things and at best we’re looking at a 2010, if not 2011, restart. The biggest hurdle appears to be viable ballparks for a professional league and from there, Goldklang hopes to follow the lead that he has with his minor league teams in developing the league.

Citi rumored to back off from stadium naming deal

In 2006, Citigroup agreed to what was then the most lucrative stadium naming rights deal when it signed on with the New York Mets and their new ballpark. Now just two-and-a-half years later, with the banking crisis in full swing, there’s some noise being made about what many think is a frivolous purchase. While nothing formal has been announced yet, according to some rumors, Citi may try to back away from the deal and if that happens, it’s pretty safe to say that there’s a good chance that a lawsuit will follow.

Through the end of 2008, the demolition of former New York Mets home Shea Stadium had largely left the structure of the park alone. Now, since the end of the year as the work on Citi Field continues, the actual stadium structure has begun to come down. When it’s all said and done, 10,000 tons of steel and 2,500 tons of concrete will get pulled out of Shea Stadium and the recycled concrete will be used as the base for the stadium’s parking lot.

All of this work didn’t stop a small group of fans from saying goodbye to their team’s ballpark this past Saturday. More than 100 fans met up for an unofficial good-bye to the ballpark in order to commiserate with other Mets fans.

Player to front office

In a very interesting column by Benjamin Hill, a former player is profiled as to how he made the transition from playing to team executive. We get a look at Brady Raggio, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks and who is now a corporate sponsorship account executive for the Reno Aces. His career path is contracted to Joe Ausanio, who played for ten years and has now been in the Hudson Valley Renegade for the past 11 years.

Barry Bonds in the news again

This won’t help Barry Bonds’ chances of getting back on the field again. Federal prosecutors are now saying they have evidence that Bonds used more than just the cream and clear. Apparently a urine sample of Bonds contained anabolic steroids. Bonds stands trial on March 2 for perjury charges filed back in 2007.

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