Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
August 16, 2006
D.C. Mayor Approves Stadium Parking Plan
As construction on the Washington Nationals' next home continues, the bureaucrats continue to work on the surrounding area. Despite protests from the Nationals, it appears that the city is set on allowing local developer Herb Miller to build two 13-story towers that will border the outfield of the stadium. The towers would be a mix of parking, commercial and even residential use (think condominiums). Washington, D.C. mayor Anthony Williams once again reiterated that he was on board with the development plan despite the fact that financing hasn’t been approved. The current plan has D.C. selling the land to Miller, then contributing to the cost of the parking portion of the development. The problem is that the city doesn’t quite have the money at this point in time, so discussions are ongoing on how to pay for the whole thing.
Neither fans nor the team are really on board with the plan. The Nationals are worried that this development will negatively affect the stadium's timetable for opening in 2008. Fans don’t like it because the two towers are going to be an eyesore for what would have been a nice outfield view.
Mitchell Investigation Still Wants to Talk to Dusty Baker
While Dusty Baker might not be a fan favorite in Chicago these days, it appears the people working for former Senator George Mitchell in his performance-enhancing drug investigation really want to have a sit-down with the Chicago Cubs manager. The coach of Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, Baker was supposed to talk to investigators, but the interview was cancelled because of a dispute over Baker’s legal representation. It seems that the investigators didn’t really want the lawyers there to look out for the best interest of their clients, and Mitchell had asked MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to dole out some discipline if nonuniformed employees demanded to have their lawyers present.
Since then Selig and Mitchell have backed off of this, so now they want to bring Baker back in for a chat. He’ll not only be allowed personal representation but he’ll also be allowed to bring a lawyer from the baseball union with him.
Dodgers Look to Break Attendance Record
The Los Angeles Dodgers are on pace to sell 3.7 million tickets this year. Assuming they keep up this pace, they should break the attendance record they set back in 1982 (3,608,881), the year after they won the World Series. This is an impressive mark considering that the team is coming off a pretty bad 2005 season, but at the moment they’re the hottest team in baseball and sit atop the National League West Division.
This isn’t an isolated incident. The New York Yankees are averaging 51,113 fans a game (all numbers from ESPN on 8/13/06). This is over 600 more fans a game than last year when the Yankees became only the third franchise to draw 4 million. The Detroit Tigers have moved all the way up to 14th in the majors with 30,768 a game. That puts them on pace for almost 2.5 million, which would top their 2000 attendance when Comerica Park opened. The franchise record was set in 1984 when the team drew just over 2.7 million and won the World Series.
Dayton Moore Continues to Pillage Braves' Front Office
The new general manager for the Kansas City Royals, Dayton Moore, filled in a couple more pieces of his staff. J.J. Picollo will become the team’s farm director and Rene Francisco will become Moore’s special assistant for international operations. Both came from the Atlanta Braves organization where Moore left his post as assistant general manager to come run the show in Kansas City.
The Braves had to approve both moves because the Royals agreed not to raid the Braves' staff for at least two years. Once Braves general manager John Schuerholz gave the go-ahead this past weekend, everything was finalized.
More on the Battle for Fantasy Baseball Stats
Last week I touched on the victory that CBC Marketing, Inc. received when it was granted summary judgement in its court battle with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). At issue was whether CBC could use the stats along with the players' names without paying for a license with MLBAM. For a much more detailed and thorough look at the ramifications of the decision, as well as what could happen going forward, I recommend you check out Maury Brown’s latest Ledger Domain in which he talks about the history and the decision laid down last week.
Marlins' Front Office Saves Girardi’s Job
A lot was made of the dugout confrontation between Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi and his boss, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. Girardi has denied that anything took place, yet it appears that, according to this story, there was an argument and that only the team's front office convinced Loria from firing Girardi. It seems like Girardi never got off on the right foot with Loria, and this has fueled speculation that Girardi might bail for a job in Chicago or New York if either Dusty Baker or Joe Torre decides not to come back to their respective jobs.
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.