BOB: Baltimore Makes Wholesale Changesby Brian Borawski
June 20, 2007
Out With the Old and In With the New In BaltimoreSam Perlozzo became the first managing casualty this year as he was fired by the Baltimore Orioles. While that wasn’t a complete surprise, the news that the Orioles hired Andy MacPhail to be the team’s Chief Operating Officer probably is. While the hiring isn’t supposed to be official until sometime today, the story has been reported by both Buster Olney and MLB.com.
The hiring isn't surprising because MacPhail isn’t qualified; it is surprising because of the job MacPhail could be potentially passing up. MacPhail was the architect of the 1987 and 1991 Minnesota Twins teams that won World Series and he also has quite the pedigree. His father, Lee MacPhail, was the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1959 through 1965.
The job that MacPhail could be potentially turning down by taking the Orioles job is none other than that held by MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Andy MacPhail was on a short list of potential candidates to succeed Selig when his term expires. Now the speculation is that Selig will be back for another term, which makes for an interesting discussion on its own.
Fantasy Stats Appeal BeginsBack in August, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) struck out in district court and lost their initial court battle with CBC Marketing and Distribution (CBC). The end result is that player names and stats aren’t the domain of the league and that companies who utilize baseball statistics aren’t required to pay the league a fee to use these statistics. MLBAM appealed the case and as Maury Brown reports, stage two of the legal proceedings has begun.
Don’t expect things to be resolved quickly. According to Maury’s analysis, a ruling by the appeals court might not happen for three to six months. For now, CBC, and everyone else for that matter, is able to use fantasy stats as they see fit but this appeals court decision will determine whether that lasts or not.
Tigers Lobby Against Luxury Tax on TicketsTicket prices for Detroit Tigers games may be going up, but not if owner Mike Ilitich has anything to say about. The reason is, he’s not the one raising the prices, it’s the State of Michigan. Apparently the state legislature is considering what’s being called a luxury tax on sports and event tickets and the Tigers are against it.
While I haven’t seen the bill, this could be just some negative semantics being applied to what the legislature is trying to accomplish. The state’s sales tax is six percent (as is the proposed luxury tax), and while I wasn’t able to find a sales tax exemption for sports tickets, I don’t remember paying sales tax when I’ve bought tickets to Tiger games. So what’s being called a luxury tax may just be an application of the regular sales tax to sports and entertainment tickets. I’m not sure if any other states tax sports tickets but I’d be interested to hear from readers from other states.
Jack Russell Stadium Set to Be DemolishedJohn Brattain already talked about the upcoming demolition of Tiger Stadium here in Detroit, but there’s another stadium that’s also going to be torn down. The city of Clearwater, Fla. has already hired a company to tear down Jack Russell Stadium, the former spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies moved to Bright House Networks Field in 2004 and Jack Russell Stadium hasn’t been used since.
A portion of the field will be preserved. The field, dugouts and an office building will all be used as part of a baseball academy.
League Park to Be RenovatedThe former home of the Cleveland Indians, League Park, is set to be renovated and used for youth baseball and high school games. The cost of the renovation is $8.5 million and this is one of those nice stories where a truly historic ballpark is being preserved. The Indians played in League Park from 1910 through 1946 and baseball had been played on the site as early as 1891.
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.