Rangers sale update
It’s funny how some stories can keep me busy for weeks. When I started writing this column, it was the Montreal Expos relocation/Washington Nationals stadium issue that provided me with soundbites for weeks on end. Even earlier this year, we had the Los Angeles Dodgers owners’ divorce going on and now that it’s cooled down, the Texas Rangers sale has taken center stage.
In this latest update, the creditors have struck back. Unnamed creditors have filed a petition to force two affiliated entities into the bankruptcy mess. Rangers Equity Holdings, L.P. and Rangers Equity Holdings GP, LLC were the name of the two entities and while their specific roles haven’t been revealed (they’re holding companies, which means they could hold just about anything, abd it turns out they’re owned by HSG Sports Group, LLC).
In other Ranges news, there were some rumors that the team had a hard time making payroll this past week. They were close to $4 million short and there’s no further details as to how (or if) that $4 million was made up.
If you want some interesting legal reading, be sure to check out the page Maury Brown created at Biz of Baseball. He has several documents related to the bankruptcy filing that are available.
Two months of the season are in the books and after another month, the Philadelphia Phillies still top the list in average attendance with 45,114 tickets sold per game. Right behind them are the New York Yankees at 45,046. The overall leader in tickets sold is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with 1,142,132 although they’re fifth in average attendance. The bloated number is because the Angels have played 29 home games already while no other team ahead of them has played more than 24.
If the current trends hold, it’ll be the second straight year where we won’t have a team with at least 4 million in attendance. A lot of this has to do with the Yankees’ cozier and more expensive stadium. The Houston Astros still lead in road attendance with 36,319 tickets sold per game. I’ll have to check their schedule to see why this is because it’s pretty counter intuitive.
The Cleveland Indians are still at the bottom as their struggles continue. It’s hard to believe this team is just three years removed from their ALCS appearance. It just goes to show you that in a down economy, you need wins to keep things going. The Detroit economy is still in shambles but the Tigers are holding strong with just under 30,000 tickets per game. This is partly due to the fact that they’ve been at or near the top of the standings the past two years.
MiLB signs preferred partner agreement with turface
Ever since I interviewed Pat Day, the general manager of the Lansing Lugnuts, I’ve been fascinated by the business of Minor League Baseball. In some ways, it’s the same as MLB but in other ways, how a minor league team is run is vastly different than the way a big league club is run. There’s also the whole Minor League Baseball net that captures all of the teams and which gives them a unified voice.
Which gets us to the latest news in that MiLB signed a three-year preferred partner agreement with Turface Athletics. Under the terms of the agreement, Turface Athletics will be the official infield coordinator of the Durham Athletic Park as well as the official sponsor of the park. Turface Athletics specializes in products and services that maximize sports field safety and performance, and their bread and butter is a soil conditioner that relieves compaction, helps prevent rainouts and minimizes bad hops on skinned infields.
Rays stadium news
While details are still a little light, it looks like a group that was charged with assessing the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium needs has come up with five potential sites for a new ballpark. Two of those sites has the team in downtown Tampa, which many feel would give the Rays’ perennially low attendance a boost because it’s a bigger area than its current home in St. Petersburg.
There are still a lot of things to work through. Another group, BuilditDowntown Tampa, has said they’ve put some money together to buy the land to move the team to Tampa. Of course there’s also the question of how the Rays can get out of their Tropicana Field lease, which runs for another 17 years. And if history is any indicator (i.e. the Marlins), we could be talking about this issue five or 10 years from now before anything is really resolved.
Marlins selling Halladay perfect game tickets after the fact
Want a piece of history? There have only been 20 perfect games in baseball and you can say you went to one by coughing up face value for an unused Florida Marlins ticket for Saturday’s game. The team announced that they’ll be selling the tickets in coordination with MLB at face value. Three-thousand tickets were sold in the first four hours and I guess this isn’t new because the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics did the same thing for Mark Buerhle and Dallas Braden when they pitched their perfect games.