BOB: Astros ponder new lookby Brian Borawski
January 25, 2012
Selig’s extension finalizedBud Selig’s two-year extension as commissioner of MLB was finalized this week. There was one holdup because of the nature of the extension. Since the contract extension wasn’t on the original agenda for the owners’ meeting, there needed to be unanimous consent from all 30 owners. One owner, John Moores of the San Diego Padres, initially voted no because his sale of the Padres to Jeff Moorad wasn’t approved.
As a compromise, they convened and decided to do the vote conducted by return ballot, and Moores voted yes this time. Selig’s extension will make him commissioner through the end of 2014.
Astros’ owner looking at name and uniform changeJim Crane, the new owner of the Houston Astros, is looking into changing the team’s name and uniforms. Right now, he’s put it out to his consultants and staff members, but it’s looking like he’s targeting a 2013 date, which is when the Astros will enter the American League.
The announcement came at an event where several fan initiatives were unveiled. Other programs include a five-percent rebate on full-season and 27-game ticket packages if you buy by January 31, 2012. The cheap seats will see their price cut from $7 to $5, and kids can sit in those cheap seats for just $1. There’s also a newly discounted club-level ticket that costs $35 (formerly $46) and includes $15 in food vouchers.
Dodgers’ sale roundupThere’s not big news coming out camp McCourt, but a bunch of mundane things are happening that are slowly making the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers a reality. The Dodgers have filed a bankruptcy plan and McCourt put an April 30, 2012, deadline to sell the team.
This date coincides with the date Frank McCourt has to pay his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, $131 million out of the proceeds from the sale. The Dodgers are looking for the blessing from the bankruptcy court on Feb. 22, 2012, so they can move ahead with the sale.
In the meantime, the opening bids for the team are starting to come in. More than 10 opening bids were received from suitors like Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban and Peter O’Malley. These opening bids aren’t binding, so they appear to be more of a reflection of each person’s level of interest in the team.
Mets’ owners look for March resolution in Madoff caseMets’ owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz appear to be getting closer to finally resolving their financial woes. When spring training is heating up, they’ll be in court defending themselves against Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of recovering damages that resulted from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. Picard is looking for $1 billion from the two owners because he thought the two were complicit in the ponzi scheme.
Fortunately for the two owners, the amount the two will have to pay has been capped at $386 million, which is the amount they pulled from the fund. There’s also a chance the amount could be as little as $83.3 million, depending on how the proceeds are split up between return of capital and gains. Of course, all of this uncertainty hasn’t done the team any good as they look to be as bad on the field as they were last year.
Athletics must contend with expiring lease in stadium situationAnother month has passed without the league signing off on an Oakland Athletics move to San Jose. Without a stadium even in the works, it means the Athletics probably will remain in Oakland through 2015. The problem is, their lease is up with the city of Oakland and the county at the end of the 2013, which means the city has quite a bit of power in any lease extension negotiations.
For now, things are at a standstill. The Athletics sent a proposed lease extension to the city last year, but it got a mixed response. It’s just one more problem that will have to be contended with, and my guess is it won’t get resolved until the relocation issue is taken care of.
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.