Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
May 10, 2006
Senate Approves Twins Stadium Bill
The Minnesota Senate approved a metro-wide sales tax increase yesterday that will help fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Twins. While it sounds like a positive, it presents some significant problems. The first problem is that the House passed a different bill, so now they have to put together a reconciliation package to settle their differences. Another problem is that the Senate bill provides for a public referendum, so if their version wins out, the various counties affected by the increase will get their say in the November elections. Finally, the Minnesota governor has said that he wouldn't approve of a metro-wide sales tax increase, so there's always the chance that the bill gets vetoed.
Regardless, things are getting very interesting. And in case you missed it last week, John Krapek, who works for the Minnesota legislature, has been blogging about what's been happening on the floor of the Minnesota Senate the past couple of weeks. You can check it out at at his blog, The Friendly Confines.
Florida House Ends Without Marlins Stadium Bill
It’s a tough time for baseball owners who are trying to get their municipalities to pay for their baseball stadiums, and for the Florida Marlins, the fifth time wasn’t the charm. The Florida Senate approved a bill that would have allowed a county or a city to use half of a cent of its local sales tax to help a baseball team build a stadium. Unfortunately, the midnight deadline this past Friday came and went without the Florida House voting on the proposal.
As it stands, it appears that the Marlins are still hoping to work a deal to build a new stadium in Hialeah, Florida. The Marlins are also still going through the motions with San Antonio, although Bexar county officials have imposed a deadline of May 15 for them to decide whether they’re going to relocate. It will be interesting to see what happens to that deadline. If it comes and goes, then you know the Marlins were bluffing to a certain extent, which will also cause them to lose some negotiating power. If they ask for an extension of time, it will be interesting to see if Bexar County shows weakness and gives in to the chance that San Antonio can still land the club.
Royals Owner Set to Clean House
Over the past five years, the Kansas City Royals have lost 486 games. In three of those five years, they lost at least 100 games. On top of all that, the Royals haven’t made the playoffs since 1985, when they won the World Series for the first and last time. Now, after an 8-22 record this season, Kansas City Royals owner David Glass has had enough, and he’s vowed to make some changes.
His major point of contention is the fact that he increased the team payroll by $25 million over last season. Obviously he now feels that money wasn’t well spent because the team is on pace to do just as poorly as it did last year. And all indications point to GM Allard Baird being first on the chopping block. If Baird lasts into June, he’ll have been the general manager for the team for the last six years and he’s been in charge of the team for the full seasons in each of those previous five poor seasons.
MLB and the Players' Union Begin Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations
It’s the very early stages of negotiations, but MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association began cursory negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides only discussed what they want to eventually talk about in the early rounds of negotiations; this was more like a pre-meeting to the upcoming labor agreement meetings.
Last time around, the league and the union dodged a bullet, and for the first time since the union started, there wasn’t a work stoppage. According to Maury Brown at the Baseball Journals, revenue sharing will be the big-ticket item this time around, and I tend to agree with them. You might see more fighting among owners than between the owners and the players to see how the revenue pie gets sliced up and distributed.
Athletics Set to Leave Oakland
While it's not official yet, the Oakland Athletics are close to a deal that would secure themselves a stadium in Fremont, California, just 30 miles south of Oakland. The primary reason for the move is that the city of Oakland doesn't appear to be stepping up to help the team secure a stadium, whereas in Fremont, it already appears that the location has been chosen. Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente isn't giving up the fight though. He sees some problems with the Fremont site, and he said that he'll be working on keeping the A's in Oakland.
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.