Marlins stadium votes reset
Once again, it looks like the Florida Marlins can’t win. They appeared to have their stadium deal in the bag a few weeks ago, but when you leave things to the politicians, anything can happen. This time, the Marlins are caught in the middle as the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County are fighting over the particulars of the stadium deal. The county was supposed to meet March 9, but that got pushed back because the city is still examining some of its demands, and one vote is meaningless without the other.
At least now, the meetings have been reset. The city commission is set to meet on March 19, while the county will meet on March 23. If you want a nice, local, well written run down, be sure to check out Sarah Talalay’s blog at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Minor leagues go to Miller Park
The Milwaukee Brewers are going to help out their new Midwest League affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, by hosting one of their games at Miller Park. Billed as the Border Battle, the Rattlers will take on their Midwest League rival, the Peoria Chiefs, who are an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The game takes place on April 24.
This will be the third time the Rattlers will have played at Miller Park but just the first time as a Brewers affiliate. I’m always interested to see how these games do. I know Fenway Park has hosted minor league games before, but here in Detroit, to the best of my knowledge, the Tigers’ home ballpark has never hosted a minor league game. These kinds of games can also make a team’s attendance for the season. You figure even if the game draws just 10,000 people, that’s double the maximum capacity of a lot of Low-A minor league ballparks.
Tigers extend agreement with Mud Hens
The Toledo Mud Hens have been the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate continuously since 1987 and that affiliation has been extended through the 2012 season. More and more teams have tried to bring their minor league affiliates close to home; Toledo makes the most since it’s the closest International League team. It’s less than an hour’s drive straight up Interstate 75 (hence the Tigers’ minor league blog called Take 75 North).
Attendance down in Arizona
New stadiums abound in the Cactus League, but so far, attendance is down for the spring training baseball in Arizona. After years of sellouts, the economy appears to be taking its toll on spring training. The decline isn’t small either. Through the first 11 days of spring training, attendance is down from 5,719 in 2008 to 4,472 this year. You wonder if some of the effect could be a lot of the stars playing the World Baseball Classic, but there’s little chance that it’s full reason.
Roger Clemens hole gets deeper
The case against Roger Clemens appears to be building and the latest piece of damning evidence is some drug paraphernalia. Investigators have found performance-enhancing substances that supposedly Clemens’ former trainer used to inject Clemens. It had already been established that Clemens’ DNA was on the syringes because Clemens never denied getting shot up by Brian McNamee. He’s just said that the injections were painkillers or vitamins. At this point it seems like Clemens’ defense will be the chain of custody of the syringes as well as their authenticity.
Major league teams look to lower concession prices to keep fans
A major theme at a lot of ballparks this year will be the “deal.” With ticket sales expected to drop, the teams have to figure out more ways to bring fans into the ballpark, and if they can provide more reasonably priced concessions that could go a long way to bringing families into the game. Several teams are rolling out value menus and package deals like the San Diego Padres’ five-for-$5 deal that includes a hot dog, soda, popcorn, peanuts and a cookie, all for $5. You’ll also probably see a lot of smaller size, lower cost portions.
Will all this work? And will cutting the concession prices eat into the teams’ profits more than the increase in ticket sales will increase it?