BOB: A Minor League Slantby Brian Borawski
August 13, 2008
Minor League Baseball’s continued successThe Toledo Mud Hens are one of several minor league teams that are having success at the box office. The Hens announced that they had sold out their record 12th straight game this past Monday. The sellout also pushed them over the 500,000 mark in attendance, which is a baseline that the team has met since their current home, Fifth Third Ballpark, opened back in 2002.
The Hens aren’t the only team selling tickets at a record pace. The Omaha Royals are another team that has reported success selling tickets and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox look like they're going to break an attendance record. Minor League Baseball as a whole is just three fans below its record-setting average attendance from last year. In total, 33.3 million tickets have been sold to date for minor league games through the end of July and that averages out to 4,165 per game.
Finally, Forbes did a report on Minor League Baseball which is well worth checking out. There’s a top 20 most valuable minor league franchises section (the previously mentioned Toledo Mud Hens made the cut) as well as a discussion on how the list was compiled.
Columbus Clippers looks for new bloodColumbus Clippers general manager Ken Schnacke recently announced that, after the 2008 season, the team will look for a new minor league affiliate. Prior to 2007, the Clippers were a long time New York Yankees affiliate but the Yankees bailed in favor of Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The past two seasons, the Clippers have been an affiliate of the Washington Nationals, but with several contracts expiring in the International League after the 2008 season, the hope is that the Clippers can find an affiliate closer to home. The Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate is currently in Buffalo, which is the coveted location for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Clippers' ideal situation would be the Indians then turning around and signing an agreement with Columbus.
In other minor league affiliate news, the Kansas City Royals extended their relationship with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals for another four years. The Naturals have been the Royals' Double-A affiliate for the past 14 years.
Pirates expanding spring training complexThe Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they’ll be adding a multipurpose practice field at their spring training facilities in Bradenton, Fla. The new field is set to be completed in time for the 2009 spring season, and it’ll be located in what’s now a vacant lot on the southeast corner of the complex. The total cost of the new field is estimated at $250,000.
Mets line up kosher concessionaire at Citi FieldThe New York Mets signed a multi-year marketing agreement with Kosher Sports, Inc. to be the team's exclusive Glatt Kosher concessionaire at Citi Field. The agreement has Kosher Sports involvement in various Mets publications as well as in game programming. As part of the agreement, the two parties will also donate 250 tickets to various Jewish charities each year.
Billy the Marlin hopes to follow in Goose Gossage’s footsteps
Florida Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin is one of five mascots who’s been nominated for induction into the Mascot Hall of Fame. You can check out Billy the Marlin’s credentials and you can also visit the Mascot Hall of Fame website and vote for your favorite. Billy the Marlin joins fellow baseball mascots Slider of the Cleveland Indians, Globie (Harlem Globetrottrers), Hugo (New Orleans Hornets) and Rocky (Denver Nuggets) on the ballot.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.