City approves funding to finish Yankee Stadium
The New York Yankees got their money late last week. They were looking for an additional $370.9 million in what was primarily tax-exempt bonds to finish the construction of Yankee Stadium. The New York Industrial Development Agency approved the funding by a vote of 11-1 with just one abstention. The money will be used primarily to finish all of the upgrades that the Yankees sought, including better security and a new scoreboard.
The Yankees weren’t the only winners. The New York Mets secured the $82.3 million they were looking for as well, although probably because of the smaller amount of money, there was less fanfare to that unanimous approval. The Yankees’ funding was contested by one board member who thought the vote should be postponed to renegotiate the terms of the bond issue so the Yankees would pay more of the infrastructure costs.
Bud Selig holds Fremont’s feet to the fire
MLB commissioner Bud Selig gave the Oakland Athletics permission last week to begin talking to other communities about a ballpark if the city of Fremont doesn’t move quickly to approve what’s hoped to be Cisco Field. Athletics owner Lewis Wolff expressed his frustration with the process and said that ground should have been broken over a year ago. Traffic congestion has been one of the primary road blocks that’s prevented the city from approving the deal despite the fact that no public money is being sought. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see. The team has invested a lot of time in the Fremont site, so there’s no plan to abandon it quickly, but that won’t stop the threats of looking elsewhere from cropping up.
Success in the minor leagues
In an interesting story, Benjamin Hill at Minor League Baseball talked about the top 10 biggest attendance jumps throughout the minors over the past three years. Topping the list were the Greenville Drive and their Fenway Park replica stadium from 2005 to 2006. They picked up a 178 percent increase from 2005 to 2006 when they moved into West End Field that sports its own Green Monster and Pesky Pole. The largest increase two years ago was from the Arkansas Travelers who moved into a new ballpark as well and sported a 71 percent increase from the year before. Last year, the leader was the Quad Cities River Bandits, who saw attendance increase 53 percent from the year before.
Owners adopt two new rule changes
In a never-ending pursuit to improve the quality of the game, baseball owners recently enacted a couple of new rule changes. Rule number one deals directly with the rain delayed/postponed game that happened in this past year’s World Series, and it basically solidifies the ruling made Bud Selig made. Basically, all postseason games will now be played to completion, regardless of the score and also regardless of how long the rain delay is.
The second rule change deals with home field advantage in a one-game playoff in the event of a tie for either the division winners or wild card. Before, home field was determined by the toss of the coin, but from here on out, it’ll be head-to-head record that determines which team gets to play on its home field.
Anaheim finally gives up
One of the first articles I ever wrote for The Hardball Times had to do with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and their name change. That was written four years ago to the day. Here we are, four years later, and the city of Anaheim has finally dropped its legal battle with the Angels over changing their name. This came after they finished 0-2 in the courts, including losing in the appellate court just this past month.
Cardinals drop plans to buy affiliate
The poor economy claimed another victim. The St. Louis Cardinals recently abandoned plans to purchase the Memphis Redbirds, the teams’ Triple-A affiliate. The team acknowledged last week that in the current economic environment, the transaction couldn’t be consummated. For now, the Redbirds will remain as a Cardinals affiliate through 2012.