BOB: Spring Training is center stageby Brian Borawski
November 18, 2009
Spring Training newsThe Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies broke ground at their future spring training home earlier this week. The new shared facility will be in the Phoenix area on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Native American Community land; it’ll be the first ever facility on Native American land. Both teams will finish out their tenure in Tucson in 2010 before moving into their new facility in 2011. At one point in time, the Tucson area sported three spring training teams. The White Sox left last spring and now they’ll see things wind down with the Rockies and Diamondbacks moving.
The Chicago Cubs have also been shopping around for a potential spring training site. The team can buy out of its contract with Mesa, Ariz. after the 2012 season, so the Ricketts family has been looking around. The goal for the team would be to have a ballpark village setting; one of the spots on their radar is Naples, Fla. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the noise about moving to the Grapefruit League is really a negotiating tactic to get what they want out of Mesa.
The cost of divorceIt looks like the divorce between Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie McCourt is going to be a costly one. According to this New York Times article, Jamie McCourt’s legal fees are estimated to run at close to $2 million so neither side is pulling punches here. For now though, it looks like the team is going to be in semi-limbo.
The trial isn’t going to happen until after spring training starts and most everything will hinge on whether the postnuptial written agreement that has the team in Frank McCourt’s name holds up. With free agent signing season coming up, we’ll get to see whether it really is business as usual or not.
Zephyrs get lease extensionThe New Orleans Zephyrs and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District finalized a lease extension last week. The previous agreement kept the Zephyrs at Zephyr field through the 2012 season but now the team has committed to playing there through 2016.
Miami touts job benefits of new stadiumThe Florida economy is in shambles so it’s not surprising that the Florida Marlins are trumpeting the job creation aspects to their new stadium. Expected to open in 2012, it’s estimated that the ballpark will have upwards of 1,000 workers on site by mid-next year as they scramble to continue to get the ballpark built.
The Marlins are also hyping the fact that they’ve gone beyond what was expected by bringing in more local businesses. It was part of their stadium agreement that they have at least 35 percent local workers but it looks like that number is actually going to come close to 60 percent.
Red Sox raise ticket pricesWhen you sell out all of your games, it’s because you probably have excess demand and the Red Sox are taking advantage of that by raising some of their ticket prices by $5. Both field level seats and Green Monster seats will see the $5 increase. The team is touting that 12 seating areas won’t have an increase at all and that they were some of the lowest percentage increases in years.
Youth sports benefit from Twins Stadium taxHennepin County residents are seeing their sales tax go up to help pay for Target Field, the Minnesota Twins new stadium that’s set to open next year. One of the nice side benefits of this tax is that the county is going to dole out $2 million in grants to youth sports programs. In all, the grants will range from $10,000 to $400,000 and the potential projects include a wide variety of sports.
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.