BOB: Minor league news galoreby Brian Borawski
June 17, 2009
Baseball looks to get back into Olympics in 2016The worldwide baseball community recently made a pitch to the International Olympic Committee to get baseball reinstated into the Olympics by 2016. As part of their pitch, Major League Baseball agreed to not broadcast major league games during the 2016 baseball competition and also pledged to allow its best eligible players to play, as well as to provide a strong marketing effort to help pitch the sport. In addition, MLB agreed to not play any games on the final medal round day of the Olympic tournament. MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy headed the contingent.
The final decision will be made in mid-August. You’d have to think the IOC would be hard pressed to turn them down with the full marketing efforts of MLB as a carrot. What wasn’t talked about was what would happen to the World Baseball Classic if baseball is put back into the Olympics. At this point, it wouldn’t be too much of a concern because if the WBC sticks to its every three year format, there won’t be conflict with an Olympic event until 2024.
Pirates and curve extend PDCThe Pittsburgh Pirates and their Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve, announced earlier this week that they have extended their player development contract (PDC) for another four years. The current agreement wasn’t set to expire until after the 2010 season, so this will make the Curve a Pirates affiliate through 2014. The Curve have been in existence since 1999 and since their inception, they’ve been an affiliate of the Pirates.
Fisher Cats most veggie friendlyThe People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) unveiled their top 10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks not too long ago and at the top of the minor league list were the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. This is the second straight year the Cats were given the number one ranking and they’ve done it by sporting a menu that includes a portobello mushroom salad and a grilled vegetable sandwich. At the top of this list for major league parks was once again the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the third straight year that the Phillies were given the honor.
Rays rain on Thrasher giveaway paradeThe Clearwater Thrashers, the Philadelphia Phillies minor league affiliate, came up with what they thought was a solid marketing effort. In order to celebrate their parent team’s World Series win last year, they produced a set of bobbleheads of each of the Phillies starters. After giving away two of the bobbleheads, the Tampa Bay Rays cried foul and now the whole campaign has been squashed.
The issue stems around each MLB team’s marketing rights, and in the case of Clearwater, they’re in the Rays marketing region. That means no major league team is allowed to have its team marketed in the region other than the Rays. The teams in Dunedin and Lakeland also fall within the Rays region. Clearwater has done similar things in the past; the team has just never been called out before. The bobblehead slated for the first giveaway? Pat Burrell, who is now a Ray.
Federal funding for Tiger Stadium may still be in playI have to give some credit to Senator Carl Levin in his use of words. He had earmarked $3.8 million to help with the renovation of Tiger Stadium. Now that the ballpark is being dismantled, it was thought that money was lost. Guess again because Levin (or whoever he had write the earmark) was vague enough with the wording of the earmark to where the Corktown neighborhood, where Tiger Stadium stood, could still now use the money. There wasn’t specific mention of Tiger Stadium in the legislation, but that the earmark was for the preservation and redevelopment of a public park and related business activities in the Corktown neighborhood.
What exactly happens with the money and whether it even gets spent is still up in the air. Still, at least the area, and possibly the site where Tiger Stadium stood, might stand to benefit from the federal funds.
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.