Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
March 21, 2007
Peter Angelos Speaks Out
Pete Angelos showed up for a Baltimore Orioles Spring Training game, and while he played hard-to-get at first, he eventually spoke on a variety of issues. He went on about how he won’t be selling the team anytime soon and how the Montreal Expos' relocation to Washington, D.C. did cut into his profits. Probably the most interesting statement he made was that he thinks a salary cap is in order. With the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement in place though, he’s going to have to wait a while to even get that on the table.
He closed things up by saying he’s been unfairly criticized, but it’s hard to argue with the nine straight losing seasons. It was the first time since 2004 that Angelos had showed up for one of his team’s spring games.
Marlins Still Waiting for a New Stadium
It just seems like the Marlins can’t catch a break. Last week, a new plan to build a stadium on a nine-acre plot of land in what’s now a parking lot near Miami’s Government Center never got off the ground. There were concerns from within the county that a proposed children’s courthouse and a new Miami police training academy would be delayed, and if moved, be more costly than originally planned. With that in mind, it seems like the plan is to once again build something next to the Orange Bowl. The problem there is, not only do they have to contend with the monetary issues but there’s also the fact that they could alienate the University of Miami, who currently plays their home games in the Orange Bowl.
In a more recent development, two state legislators are looking to give the voters a chance to decide the stadium issue. While it’s unclear whether this would kill the Marlins’ chances of getting their new stadium, it would certainly throw a wrench into the current plan. It appears that the chance of this happening is pretty slim though, because leadership in both the Florida House and Senate seems to be on board for the $60 million sales tax rebate that’s currently on the table.
If you want a nice rundown on the Marlins stadium issue, be sure to check out Neil deMause’s latest column over at Baseball Prospectus. He also touches on the latest issues surrounding the Oakland Athletics’ move to Fremont, Calif.
MLB and DirecTV Announce Extra Inning Deal
I had to do a double take because this seemed to happen so long ago but then I remember that I skipped a week to do my Tigers preview. Anyway, MLB and DirecTV finally formally announced their deal that would make DirecTV the exclusive provider of their Extra Innings package. They also unveiled the plans for the new MLB Channel, which will be provided on the basic package if you’re a DirecTV subscriber. Most importantly, they may have dodged all of the scrutiny the deal was getting by saying that they’ll give cable operators until March 31, 2007 to match the deal so they can get in on the action. The trick is, it’s pretty well known that it’s not going to happen.
InDemand, a consortium of cable operators, still feels it’s getting blocked out. InDemand's president spoke out negatively on the deal because there’s really no way the cable companies will be able to match the deal. Putting the MLB Channel on basic cable would be a slap in the face to the National Football League, who has its channel on a premium package. For a great read on the ins and outs of the deal, be sure to check out Richard Sandomir’s column over at The New York Times.
Rangers Cut Ties With Ameriquest
The home of the Texas Rangers, formerly Ameriquest Field, is now going to be called the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington after the Rangers cut ties with Ameriquest Mortgage. This is an interesting move because the Rangers had only collected $9 million of a 30-year, $75 million deal with Ameriquest. It sounds like the mortgage company held out until late 2006, but with the current problems in the subprime mortgage market, it seemed like as good of a time as any for them to get out of paying for the naming rights. The good news for the Rangers is that they hope to recoup as much as $1.5 million of the $2.5 million they were getting from Ameriquest by selling the signage that was given to Ameriquest as part of the long-term deal.
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.