BOB Report:  New Year’s edition

Minor League Baseball has record number of suspensions

There were plenty of high-profile suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs in 2012 but an overlooked story was that a record 104 minor league players were suspended, with more tests given last year. There were only 69 players suspended in 2011.

Maury Brown breaks things down nicely in his article. Of the 104 suspensions, 26 were for drug abuse. One of the more interesting tidbits Brown writes about is the case of Dustin Richardson, who tested for a laundry list of banned substances. Another 41 players were suspended for “steroids” and 12 were suspended for amphetamines.

Tampa Bay residents like Tropicana Field

The city of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays have yet to resolve their differences but local residents have given their opinion. While this would fall under the “small sample size” category, a poll of 521 Pinellas and Hillsborough county residents said that their most popular stadium option is to keep the team at Tropicana Field.

Fifty percent of those people polled are opposed to using public money for a new stadium and that was even if their own taxes didn’t go up. Sixteen percent of Hillsborough county residents want a new stadium in downtown Tampa with the primary drawback being horrible traffic. Of course, the fact that the Rays don’t draw well is probably more telling than a phone survey.

A’s close to moving spring training to Mesa

The spring training shuffle continues. The Chicago Cubs are going to get a new spring training facility after the 2014 season and that means their current home at HoHoKam Stadium is going to be vacant. After the city of Mesa gives that facility a face lift, it’s pretty much a done deal that the Oakland Athletics will make that their new spring training home.

The Mesa City Council approved a memorandum of understanding that outlines an agreement that will bring the A’s to Mesa for 20 years with a couple of options that could eventually make it 30 years. The renovations to HoHoKam Stadium will run about $20 million, with the first $15 million coming from Mesa and the rest split between the city and the Athletics. Anything over $20 million will be paid by the A’s. Their current home is in Phoenix, where they’ve played since 1984. The lease expires in 2014 and the team and the city couldn’t come to an agreement to keep the team there.

Minor league wrap

First, we have Summerlin, Nev. trying to pull in a minor league team. The Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC is in negotiations to buy the Las Vegas 51s and if that happens, you might see the team move to Summerlin, though the 51s’ lease doesn’t expire at their current home at Cashman Field until 2022.

The Augusta Green Jackets are getting a new home on the other side of the Savannah River in North Augusta, S.C. It’s projected that the stadium will cost $165 million, of which $43 is going to be paid with tax money. The ballpark is expected to open in 2015.

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