Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
April 11, 2007
Indians to Play Angels in Milwaukee
By the time you’re reading this, the Cleveland Indians will have finally played their first home game. The problem is that it’ll be at Miller Park in Milwaukee as the snow storms that played havoc on a four-game series between the Indians and the Seattle Mariners last week are still causing the ground crew fits. And speaking of that four-game series, all four games were postponed, and makeup dates haven’t yet been announced.
This was definitely a scheduling issue. The Mariners play just one series in Cleveland and to have them play in early April when the chances of a postponement are definitely possible makes it extremely difficult to make these games up. One of the games between the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays was postponed last week and they won’t be making that one up until September. This is definitely something that has to be considered when the 2008 schedule is put together and it would make sense, with the unbalanced schedule, for teams to play opponents within the division the first month of the season so makeup games can be more easily determined.
MLB and In Demand Reach Agreement on Extra Innings
The machinations of the negotiations between MLB and cable consortium In Demand have been pretty interesting. First you had the exclusive deal between MLB and DirecTV. It didn’t seem like the cable companies were going to play ball but then Congress started throwing around a potential FCC investigation and MLB seemed more inclined to letting the cable companies in on the package. We’ll probably never know if it was the tail wagging the dog or vice versa with regard to MLB opening things up to the cable companies but as always, how we got to where we are was a lot more interesting then the end result.
Now we have what should be the end of at least the interesting part of this story as MLB and In Demand reached an agreement that will make Extra Innings available to cable subscribers. The cable companies, when combined with DirecTV, will make the new MLB Channel available in about 40 million households, which is unprecedented for a single sport network. And then the cost of the agreement will be split between In Demand and DirecTV since DirecTV will no longer be the exclusive provider.
So now, Congress can go back to dealing with whatever it is they’re dealing with and they won’t have to stick their nose in baseball’s business. Also, those of you who went without baseball for a while because you have cable can also sleep easier as you’ll be getting your baseball soon. If you want a more detailed analysis on the deal, be sure to check out Maury Brown's latest Ledger Domain.
Hennepin County to Start Eminent Domain Process on Land for Twins Stadium
As this goes to press, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners should have voted to begin the process of seizing the land that will be the foundation of the Minnesota Twins prospective stadium. Originally, the county was hesitant to begin the process because it looked like the land was going to cost them more then what they initially thought, or at least more then they had budgeted for. In the end, they went back to the Twins and it looks like the team is going to chip in a little bit more money for the non-land infrastructure costs. These would be things like the bridges and plazas that surround the stadium. There’s no word on how much the Twins will be kicking in.
As always, when you’re dealing with courts, the process can be slow. The eminent domain process will take at least two months and that’s if both sides can agree on a price for the land during the process, which is possible but unlikely. This could eventually end up going to a jury trial, which would drag things out even more.
Marlins Want Downtown Stadium
Right now, the Florida Marlins are looking at two options for a new stadium. The first would be something in downtown Miami and the second would be something near or on the location that the Orange Bowl currently sits on. Now Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is trying to narrow it down to just one option as he’s come out and said publicly that a downtown stadium would more beneficial for the franchise. Oh yeah, he also says it would be better for the fans too so his heart is in the right place.
Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro seemed a bit taken aback by the statement because they still have to work on getting funding from the state before they can even decide on a site. He would have been just as accurate if would have said something like “shut up and take what you can get.”
BizofBaseball.com Interviews Lew Wolff
Maury Brown at Bizofbaseball.com had a chance to talk baseball with Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff. There's a discussion on the state of the team and there's quite a bit on the new ballpark, Cisco Field, in Fremont, CA.
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.