Business of Baseball Report

Nationals Release Plan for Season Tickets at New Stadium

The Washington Nationals recently unveiled their plan for divvying up season tickets when their new stadium opens in 2008. In a mailing to season ticket holders, it appears that ticket holders who have stuck with the team since their first season in 2005 will have the first preference, with 2006 season ticket holders getting the next highest priority. Fans who bought partial season packages in 2005 will get first crack at comparable packages in 2008 ahead of full season ticket holders from later years.

The mailing to season ticket holders also talks about how they can improve their chances of getting better seats. How much would you like to bet it includes upgrading to a more expensive seat or a package with more games? With what looks like a mediocre 2007 Nationals team though, it looks like fans will have to sit through another rough season or two before pulling in the prize tickets to the new stadium.

Angelos Not Looking to Sell Orioles

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos squashed rumors earlier this week that he might be selling the team to a group controlled by former Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr. Word got out that Ripken had met with Angelos about buying the team and that a system would be set up whereby Ripken would get partial ownership in the team immediately, with an option to buy the entire team at a later date. Since then though, Angelos has vehemently denied that a meeting to sell the team took place.

Angelos has been on the firing line before since he purchased the Orioles in 1993. He voted against using replacement players following the 1994 strike and was also the lone dissenter when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. That bit did give him a prize in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) that fans hope will be used to help turn the team around. The Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 1997, and an influx of money from MASN might allow the team to more actively pursue talent and improve the team.

Devil Rays Will Host Rangers at Disney World

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays announced that they’ll host a three game series against the Texas Rangers in Orlando, Florida next May. The series will be held at The Ballpark at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, as the Devil Rays try to tap into a different regional market in Florida. Tampa Bay usually finishes near the bottom when it comes to attendance, and this is one way they’re going to try to boost that figure.

Astros Reach Settlement With Insurance Company

The Houston Astros reached an agreement with Connecticut General Life Insurance after the insurance company denied the team’s $15.6 million claim their Jeff Bagwell policy. The Astros were trying to collect on the claim prior to the 2006 because they felt Bagwell was unable to play due to a shoulder injury. The insurance company felt the claim was invalid because Bagwell had played in the 2005 World Series and his condition was the same then as when the claim was filed.

Since then, Bagwell hasn’t played a single game, and he’s now announced his retirement. The amount of the agreement between the Astros and Connecticut Life was not disclosed.

MLBAM and MLB PA File Appeal in Fantasy Stats Case

In August, United States District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the Major League Baseball Players Association could not force fantasy baseball companies to pay for statistics to run their leagues. According to BizofBaseball.com, MLBAM and the MLBPA have now formally filed their appeal and the case will now move on to the next step in the judicial process.

At issue is whether statistics are part of the public domain or if the use of statistics when tied to the players name violates his privacy rights. The appeal isn’t expected to be heard until the Spring of 2007.

Tiger Stadium Shown to Auctioneers

Companies that were ready to place bids to remove and auction off part of historic Tiger Stadium were allowed to come inside the ballpark this week. The plan is to auction as much of the old ballpark away in order to pay for it to be torn down. While the city has said it wants a mixed use commercial/residential structure to be on the site, it’s all still in the planning stages. Apparently, feasibility studies are being conducted as we speak.

There was some good news out of this. Apparently the city will open the ballpark to the public one last time before dismantling it. I’ve spoken out about the whole issue and while my attitude hasn’t changed, I’ll probably swing down there one last time to check out the old ballpark.

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