BOB: Minor League News Galore

Reds begin packing for Arizona

It’s pretty much official now that the Cincinnati Reds will begin playing spring training ball in Goodyear, Ariz. in 2010. The Goodyear city council approved a $33 million memorandum of understanding to build a clubhouse and offices at the Goodyear facility for the Reds and that’s pretty much sealed the deal. The Cleveland Indians are moving in 2009; they’ll then share the facility with their cross-state rivals beginning in 2010.

The Reds are yet another team that’s abandoned Florida for greener pastures in Arizona. At this point in time, Florida just can’t seem to compete funding wise or facility-wise; most parks are becoming more and more outdated.

Catfish get a new owner

Art Solomon, who already owns the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, announced earlier this week that he had purchased the Columbus Catfish in the South Atlantic League. For the time being, the Catfish’s current front office will remain with the club, and it’s another instance of the growing consolidation in Minor League Baseball. More and more teams are being purchased by ownership groups that own multiple teams, and Art Solomon can now add his name to that list of owners.

Baseball teams up with hockey

The Chicago White Sox recently announced that they’ve partnered with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League. They’ll be collaborating with regard to both marketing and promotions. This will begin at U.S. Cellular Field where the home of the White Sox will provide a significant presence for their hockey counterpart.

The promotions include Blackhawk night, which will feature the appearance of several current and former players as well as an in-game “shoot the puck” competition atop the White Sox dugout. The two teams are also looking at getting together to cross promote the sale of tickets, and next hockey season, the Blackhawks will have a White Sox night.

Roger Clemens still makes news

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of hearing the names Roger Clemens, Jeff Novitsky and Brian McNamee. This all revolves around Clemens being implicated in the Mitchell Report and McNamee is still trying to get Roger Clemens’ lawyer disqualified because of a conflict of interest because of his representation of Andy Pettitte.

In the meantime, IRS special agent Jeff Novitsky is going to be looking up Jose Canseco. Investigators have a photograph Clemens that might have been taken at a party Jose Canseco threw back in 1998. The reason behind all of this is McNamee thought Clemens purchased steroids at that particular party and Clemens initially said he wasn’t there. He eventually backed off of that and said he might have stopped by the party. Canseco claims Clemens was never though. I’d say it’s a whole lot of nothing but I’m writing about it.

Mets extend affiliation with Binghamton

The Binghamton Mets will remain as the team’s Double-A affiliate through the 2010 season after the two teams agreed on an extension of their affiliation. Binghamton has been the Mets’ affiliate since the team’s inception back in 1992; their 17-year affiliation ranks as the fourth-longest in the Eastern League. The original agreement was set to expire at the end of this season.

Lansing Lugnuts open the clubhouse

Oldsmobile Park, home of the Lansing Lugnuts, has a new dining option. Now fans can eat at The Clubhouse, which is basically six suites combined into a suite level club that looks over the third base side of the field. Not only does it allow a fans a chance to dine in style with a full menu but it also offers fans a chance to buy single-game suite level tickets for the first time in the club’s 13-year history.

Late in the game

It seems like I wear many hats these days and one of them is my association with the newly formed Society of American Baseball Research Detroit chapter. The chapter is having its inaugural meeting the weekend of April 27, and since there’s a business of baseball slant, I thought it’d be worth mentioning here. The meeting is actually a symposium called “Late in the Game: The Tigers and Red Sox Road to Integration” at the Marriott Hotel in Detroit. In addition to the symposium, there will also be a brunch prior to the event that should let you mix it up with a few former major league players.

In addition to former players like Willie Horton, Gates Brown and Deacon Jones on the panel, we’ll also have former front office personnel like Don Lund and Mickey Briggs to talk about the mindset of their team when all of the ball clubs began integrating. We’re still lining up participants but if this is something that would be interest, you can register at the SABR store. We’re also still looking for both corporate and individual sponsors to help us with costs, so if you’re looking for a way to advertise to a bunch of baseball fans, this might be worth your while. Just drop me a line and I’ll go over the details.

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