Voters split on stadium-related elections
Last week we not only elected an incumbent President. Some voters also had to decide on stadium deals.
In El Paso, the voters approved an increase in the hotel/motel tax rate to pitch in $35 million for a new stadium to bring the Tuscon Padres to the area. The ballpark will cost $50 million and, as Field of Schemes reports, this wasn’t your run of the mill stadium deal. For one, the city is going to have to tear down its City Hall and when the dust settles, is going to have to spend almost as much money as it plans on raising from the hotel tax to pick up new buildings to house its employees. And then at the end of the day, how well the city fares is going to depend on how the lease negotiations.
The other stadium issue was in Wilmington, N.C., where the voters rejected a measure to spend $37 million to bring a Single-A Atlanta Braves affiliate to the city.
Lee MacPhail dies at 95
Longtime baseball executive Lee MacPhail spent 10 years working in the New York Yankees front office before he became the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 1959. He went back to the Yankees in 1967 and was their general manager until 1973, when George Steinbrenner bought the team and he became the American League president.
He was the AL president when the designated hitter was added and he was also there when the league expanded to Seattle and Toronto. Still, one of his more controversial days came when he overruled plate umpire Tim McClelland and crew chief Joe Brinkman by restoring George Brett’s home run in the infamous Pine Tar case. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998 as an executive 20 years after his father, Larry, was; they became the first father-son Hall of Fame pairing. Lee McPhail was the oldest living Hall of Famer. That distinction now goes to Bobby Doerr, who is 94.
Denver Post to divest minority stake in Rockies
Digital First Media, the company that runs the Denver Post‘s owner, MediaNews Group, said the newspaper wants to raise money to pursue a digital strategy and to help do so, is selling its minority stake in the Colorado Rockies. The Post owns 7.3 percent of the Rockies and at the moment, is looking for someone to take that off its hands. If you like the franchise value that Forbes magazine puts out, this puts the value of the Post‘s stake at around $30 million if you don’t take into account that it’s a minority interest.
General managers discuss rule changes
One possible change has to do with the September expansion of the active roster from 25 to 40 players. It seems more and more teams are waiting to bring players up in September depending on how their minor league affiliates are doing in the playoffs. This has resulted in match-ups between major league teams that have a different number of players. One idea is setting a fixed number of players—perhaps 28 or 30—who must be on the roster in September. This would have to be approved by the players as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The general managers also talked about expanding instant replay beyond checking on potential home runs. Commissioner Bud Selig is on board with this and it looks like everything from fair-foul calls to trapped balls could be analyzed via instant replay in the near future.