Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
March 30, 2006
Insurance Company Denies Astros’ Claim on Jeff Bagwell
The Houston Astros didn’t want Jeff Bagwell to even show up at spring camp, because they had filed their $15.6 million claim in January and effectively said that his career is over. Bagwell didn’t like this, thought he still had some gas left in the tank and reported anyway. Now it looks like the team was right and Jeff Bagwell’s headed for the disabled list and even admitted his career might be over.
The insurance company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, is saying it all doesn’t matter. Because Bagwell played as late as October and his condition really hadn’t changed since the insurance claim was filed in late January, the insurance company is denying the claim. The team is giving the insurance company two weeks to reconsider and if they don't, it's headed to court.
Without a copy of the policy, it’s hard to say who’s right in this case. Doctors have deemed Bagwell totally disabled to play baseball, but it is a little skeptical that three months of inactivity since the playoffs would have changed Bagwell’s condition that much.
Bonds Investigation Almost a Certainty
Maury Brown at the Baseball Journals wrote about how, based on an interview that MLB commissioner Bud Selig gave at the World Baseball Classic, it’s almost a certainty that the league will investigate the Barry Bonds alleged use of steroids. The question will be, how wide the investigation will get? It could just center around Bonds, but it could also expand and deal with players like Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, who are also talked about in the book “Game of Shadows.” Maury also questions whether the commissioner is able to “just” investigate Bonds. And if you haven’t made Baseball Journals a daily read yet, you should if you’re interested in the business of the sport, because there’s some great content and he’s been posting pretty much on a daily basis.
Congress Could Intervene in Nats' TV Problems
It must be nice having your team located in the nation’s capital. If a senator isn’t able to watch the home team play on TV, he just sticks his nose into the issue, threatens to pass legislation and then everything’s taken care of. Comcast, which has 1.3 million viewers in the area, is still at an impasse with the Baltimore Orioles and their ownership of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). The net effect is, only 40 of the 162 games will be shown to Comcast subscribers.
Rep. Thomas M. Davis III spoke out and warned that he could hold hearings if Comcast doesn’t lighten up and show more games. Comcast is sticking to its guns, and the company said it would have paid more to MLB for the rights to air the Nationals games than Orioles' owner Peter Angelos and that the current schedule is the result of the league giving the rights to Angelos in the first place. A spokesman for MASN said that four separate offers have been made to Comcast and that the cable giant hasn’t even agreed to come to the table.
Cablevision Agrees to Deal With Mets’ RSN
SportsNet New York, the New York Mets’ regional sports network, came to an agreement with Cablevision in time for the team’s games to be aired by opening day. The deal nearly doubled the amount of local residents, to 6 million, that will be able to see Mets’ games. The Mets are still talking with satellite owners DirectTV and Dish Network, but the team is optimistic that it’ll get deals done with them before the season starts.
The All Star Game is Coming to Kansas City, Maybe
Bud Selig announced that Kansas City’s Kaufmann Stadium will get the All-Star Game some time between 2010 and 2014. The catch is that it’s contingent on the passage of a sales tax bill that will be used to fund improvements to the stadium. The sales tax bill is expected to raise $425 million of the $575 million in renovations that will include wider concourses, additional restrooms and suites as well as a new scoreboard.
Right now, there’s an ad campaign running on both radio and TV bringing the message to voters that if the sales tax referendum doesn’t pass, the city will most likely lose the Kansas City Royals. Royals owner David Glass has already used the phrase “we would have to examine our options” in the event the sales tax doesn’t pass so the implied threat is there. It’ll all be decided by the voters this coming Tuesday, April 4, 2006.
New Yankees Stadium Bill Set to Be Decided Next Week
Hearings were held yesterday regarding the proposed new Yankee Stadium deal, and the proposal for the 51,800 seat stadium will be put to a vote next Wednesday, April 5. If the Bronx city council gives the deal a thumbs up, the city will spend $135 million to replace parks and infrastructure that will be destroyed in the wake of the new stadium. The state will also pony up $70 million for parking.
The main opponents of the plan feel that the replacement parks will be too far away from the neighborhood and that they’ll also be too spread out. An increase in traffic is also a concern of local residents, and as always in stadium issues like this, there’s the argument that the money spent to help the Yankees would be put to better use by say, maintaining a library or spending it on the schools.
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.