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You are here: Minor League News Archives: Oct. 22-28, 2006

Archives: Oct. 22-28, 2006

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Archives: Oct. 22-28, 2006
Archives: Oct. 22-28, 2006 | News

Columbus ballpark to be delayed until 2009
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
The new home of the Columbus Clippers (Class AAA; International League) won't be game-ready until 2009. Franklin County commissioners and team officials originally wanted the team to move to Huntington Park stadium during the 2008 season. But Don Montgomery, of Nationwide Realty Investors, said construction won't be finished until the end of 2008; at one point the county had anticipated moving into the ballpark in the middle of season (something that's just not done anymore in the minors and only twice in recent decades in the majors), but a new schedule would preclude that possibility as well. County Administrator Don L. Brown said environmental cleanup at the site, once home to a gas station, will take longer than anticipated.

St. Louis, Cards reach accord on Ballpark Village
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
The mayor and a developer working with the St. Louis Cardinals have reached an agreement for financing Ballpark Village, ending months of negotiations on a downtown project that could rival the new Busch Stadium in size and scope. The complex deal would provide more than $100 million in public funds to help build a $387 million development. The proposal must be approved by other city and state officials. The plan calls for six blocks of stores, condos and restaurants next to the new ballpark. Highlights include a grocery store, a pair of "celebrity chef" restaurants, a Cardinals museum, boutique shops and a bowling alley. More on the Cards' development partner, Cordish Company.

Harrisburg to sell Senators
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Mayor Stephen Reed will announce today that the Harrisburg Senators are officially on the market to be sold. It's not a surprise: the city once tried to sell the team to David Hersh and then again last year in anticipating of landing a Class AAA International League team. Both efforts fell short. The sale price is expected to be around $10 million, given past sales in the Eastern League, and Reed says he'll work to keep the team in Harrisburg. That remains to be seen: the team has been consistently profitable, but promised ballpark renovations are now at least a few years away. There have been a few rumblings of another Eastern League team on the market, but that talk seems to have died down.

Three groups, family pledge $200K for maintenance of new Cobb Field
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Three organizations that use Cobb Field and a Billings family have pledged a total of $200,000 toward a permanent maintenance fund for a new ballpark. The pledges will apply only if a bond issue for construction of a new park is approved by Billings voters on Nov. 7. Pledges of $50,000 each, payable in $5,000 annual increments over 10 years, from the Billings Mustangs (rookie; Pioneer League), Billings American Legion Baseball, Montana State University-Billings and anonymous donors were announced Thursday afternoon at Cobb Field.

York ballpark opening slated for May 15
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
The last professional baseball game played in York, PA occurred in 1967, when the York White Roses (Class AA; Eastern League) played their final game. Nearly 40 years later, the next game is scheduled to be played in York on Tuesday, May 15, 2007, when the York Revolution (independent; Atlantic League) are slated open their inaugural season at Sovereign Bank Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. -- weather and ballpark construction permitting. The 2007 Atlantic League schedule was released on Thursday and the Revolution will begin their inaugural season on the road against the Bridgeport Bluefish with a three-game series beginning Friday, May 4. After three more games in Camden and three in Somerset, the Revolution is scheduled to open their home schedule in York for the first three of 72 home games.

Demolition of McDermott Field begins Monday
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Demolition of McDermott Field, the home of the Idaho Falls Chukars (rookie; Pioneer League), will begin Monday after the Idaho Falls City Council approved a plan for a $5 4 million renovation. Team and city officials have been working on a plan for a new facility for several years; it now appears all the details, including financing, have been worked out. One big change. The new facility will have a new name courtesy of the magic of naming rights: Melaleuca Field.

New grass field, fixing leaks are ballpark priorities
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Right now, grass is the only big thing Lackawanna County is looking to buy for Lackawanna County Stadium, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Class AAA; International League). But a $500,000 expenditure on replacing the ballpark’s AstroTurf with natural grass in time for next season likely won’t be the only major expenditure for the county and Mandalay Baseball Properties, the California-based firm contracted to manage the franchise. Just what projects will need to be tackled, and when, is a matter that could take many months to sort out.

Audit of Dutchess Stadium finds outstanding monies
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
An audit of the year 2005 conducted by Dutchess County Comptroller Diane Jablonski’s office found the county is owed more than $38,300 and the Hudson Valley Stadium Corp. has uncollected revenues of more than $15,000. The audit of the corporation found that it continued to rely on Hudson Valley Renegades (short season; NY-Penn League) calculations for rents due and some of those calculations were incorrect, she said. The Hudson Valley Stadium Corporation had a loss of over $2,600 for 2005, Jablonski said.

Cougars' revenue dips in '06 season
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
A planned $5 million renovation of Elfstrom Stadium, home of the Kane County Cougars (Low Class A; Midwest League), gets a boost from an annual baseball and parking income report released Thursday to Forest Preserve District officials. For the fourth time since 1991, when the Cougars minor-league baseball moved into the district-owned ballpark, revenue from concessions and souvenirs this past season has declined.  The team's 2006 revenue figures overall, despite a year-to-year increase in ticket sales, also was down from the previous year, for only the third time in 16 seasons. The district's chief financial officer said the 5 percent drop in concession revenue, compared with a 1 percent increase in ticket sales, is telling.

Swing likely will be getting new owners
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
As we reported yesterday, the Swing of the Quad Cities (Low Class A; Midwest League) is being sold by its owner, Seventh Inning Stretch LLC, to Main Street Baseball, which also owns the Columbus Catfish (Low Class A; Sally League). There's nothing new in the local media reports that we didn't present yesterday, save information about the extension of the team's lease. The Swing will be paying less yearly, but the lease has been extended to 25 years. It's not a cheap lease: the Swing will pay the second-highest rent in the Midwest League, but under the new terms the Swing will receive parking and naming-rights revenues.

Ball rolling on 'Bull Durham' festival
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Imagine a festival with international appeal, with events large and small at Durham's two most famous ballparks, as well as at the American Tobacco Complex, the Carolina Theatre and venues all over town. It could be the biggest long-term event ever held in the city, connecting special-event baseball games with movies and celebrity appearances attracting tens of thousands of people to downtown for much of 2008. Such a festival could be the result of two brainstorming sessions this week by people interested in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of "Bull Durham." The centerpiece of the plan would have to be the timely refurbishing of historic Durham Athletic Park, which long ago was known as El Toro Park and where most of the game scenes in "Bull Durham" were filmed.

Peddler says she's selling Rogers shirts in defiance of MLB
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
A St. Louis woman claims Major League Baseball threatened to sic the feds on her for selling images of Kenny Rogers' stained hand on a T-shirt. Amy Spetner, 34, a nurse, has been selling the shirts at a bar near Busch Stadium since Tuesday. They bear the words: "The Cards brought the heat. Detroit had to cheat." Spetner said Day and another man claimed MLB owns the photos of Rogers' hand and that they planned to contact the FBI if she didn't stop selling the images. She said they seized other shirts she sold that read "Go Cards," telling her that MLB owns the rights to the Cardinals' name. We're not entirely sure MLB has a leg to stand on here: the point of trademark law is to prevent competitors from insinuating their work comes from you and prevent confusion in the marketplace, not to crack down on any usage of a trademarked term. Plus, fair use allows a comment on a trademarked or copyrighted work, and this is definitely commentary. Are there counterfeit products that deserve attention? Absolutely. Are heavy-handed tactics like this counterproductive in the long run? Absolutely.

In memoriam: Edward Kenney Sr.
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Edward F. Kenney Sr., who was in charge of the Boston Red Sox farm system when it developed Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice, has died, the club announced Thursday. Kenney, who spent more than four decades as a baseball executive with the team, died Wednesday of complications related to diabetes. He was 85. He joined the team's minor league operations and in 1949 became assistant farm director. When that office was divided into two departments in 1966, Kenney became director of minor-league operations. He was promoted to vice president in 1978 and spent his last three years with the team as vice president of baseball development before retiring after the 1991 season.

In memorium: Erik Walker
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
The body of minor-league pitcher Erik Walker was found yesterday, days after he was reported missing on a canoe trip. Walker was last seen Saturday with a female companion, who made it safely ashore after their canoe tipped in a swift stretch of rapids filled with underwater logs, boulders and ledges on the New River. Hundreds of people helped in the search for the 23-year-old Walker, a relief pitcher with the Hudson Valley Renegades (short season; NY-Penn League) and a former standout with the Madison Mallards (summer collegiate; Northwoods League). His body turned up in the same stretch of river where the canoe capsized.

Dunn's Baltimore roots run deep with Orioles
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Most people don't realize Jack Dunn IV is a minority owner of the Baltimore Orioles, but then again most people probably don't know how important the name Jack Dunn is when looking at baseball history. Dunn's great-grandfather, Jack Dunn, was the father of the original International League Baltimore Orioles, the man who put exciting teams on the field and perfected the fine art of scouting and selling players, including a young Babe Ruth. Today Jack Dunn IV is chief executive officer of FTI Consulting in Baltimore, a company that provides corporate finance restructuring, crisis management, forensic, litigation and economic consulting. It’s a company that has won top industry awards and grown dramatically over the years.

Swing of the Quad Cities sale underway
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
David Heller, the owner of the Columbus Catfish (Low Class A; Sally League) and Bob Herrfeldt, former vice president of the Sacramento River Cats (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), have a purchase agreement to buy the Swing of the Quad Cities (Low Class A; Midwest League). Terms of the deal was not released. As part of the purchase, the new owners have renegotiated a new lease for John O'Donnell Stadium, extending the current lease to 25 years. During the first two years of the lease the team will pay $273,000 annually and $385,000 after that; the team will retain all revenues from the ballpark, including parking and naming rights. The purchase must still be approved by the Midwest League, MiLB and MLB. The franchise was owned by Kevin Krause.

 

Focus in Miami turns to new ballpark for Marlins
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
With a labor deal completed and the World Series underway, MLB officials are turning their attention to a new Florida Marlins ballpark -- or, rather, going back to the plans on the table. MLB has options on several parcels of land in downtown Miami that would be suitable for a new ballpark; local architect Roney Mateu was brought in to evaluate the site. The Marlins would prefer a suburban location, but in the end they'll go wherever the better deal is. It's really unprecedented for MLB officials to interject themselves into local negotiations for a ballpark, but they really do view Miami as being a key market in baseball's future: it's a very trendy market and well-suited to being baseball's gateway to Latin America.

United League Baseball announces winter league
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
United League Baseball officials announced the inauguration of the Winter League, the only winter professional baseball league in the continental United States. "United League Baseball will move winter baseball from offshore to the United States, and for the first time in memory to a place within easy reach of baseball fans, scouts and players throughout the country," said ULB Commissioner John Bryant.
    ULB CEO Byron Pierce said there will be four ballclubs (Brownsville, Harlingen, Edinburg and Laredo) in 2007, with play to begin Jan. 19 and end on Feb. 19, a span of 24 games. All games will be played in Harlingen.
    Field managers will be from the ULB -- Eduardo "Eddie" Dennis, Rio Grande Valley; Buddy Biancalana, Amarillo; Howard "Doc" Edwards, San Angelo; and Ricky VanAsselberg, from Alexandria, the 2006 ULB championship club.  Pierce will be in charge of the winter league, assisted by Craig Brasfield, ULB executive general manager, and Lizette Moreno, winter league administrative assistant. More from the Brownsville Herald and the Valley Morning Star.

 

Baseball decides not to fool with Mother Nature
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
If two rainouts during the first three days of the World Series isn't a clue that the current baseball season is too long, nothing else will. Yes, it's very hard to retreat once you've extended a season from Feb. 15 to Halloween, but across most of the country the last 10 days of October simply aren't suitable for outdoor baseball. The beginning of October is another matter, however, and perhaps the regular season should end a little earlier to allow the playoffs to begin in late September; otherwise more folks will argue for the World Series to be played at a warm-weather neutral site. Late October is football weather, not baseball weather. More bad weather is projected for Detroit when the Series shifts to Comerica Park; players are warming to that idea.

Prescott Council receptive to ballpark
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
While the concept of bringing Single-A baseball -- presumably for a High Class A California League team -- into the heart of Prescott, Az., got a thumbs-up from the City Council this week, officials have yet to get into the crux of the matter: how to pay for it. After hearing a presentation on plans for a $25 million to $26 million ballpark Tuesday, a majority of the council members offered support for the idea. That was enough to send the discussions onto the next phase, but things like new ballparks are great ideas until someone needs to step up and write a check.

Yankee Stadium/parks exchange underway
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
As part of the agreement for a new Yankee Stadium next to the current ballpark, the city set up a parkland swap: In exchange for removing 22 acres of parkland (Macombs Dam Park and part of Mullaly Park) from public use, the city has committed to spend $160 million over the next four years on 24.5 acres of new recreational facilities and open space. Construction of the ballpark is on schedule, but the building of the promised interim and replacement parkland has gotten off to a slower start. Now residents are wondering when -- and if -- the new parks will be built. Those fears may be a little premature: the promised completion date for the park land is 2009.

Designing the experience around the Twins ballpark
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
More on the design process for the new Twins ballpark. The ballpark site is extremely small -- only eight acres -- and the ballpark itself will take up almost all that space. The issues will be integrating the ballpark into the surrounding neighborhood. There's no doubt Twins games will impact the neighborhood and force fans to park farther away than some would like: nearby parking ramps can hold 6,000 cars, but that won't be enough. What will change: the Warehouse District -- the area west of Third Avenue -- will be transformed by higher levels of foot traffic. A advisory board has been set up, but it's filled with developer types, not ordinary folks.

Israel Baseball League working towards opening day
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
We're run several stories on the startup Israel Baseball League, and it looks like organizer Larry Baras has a date for the first game: June 24, 2007. Although not set in stone, that game will take place at Kibbutz Gezer, which has a field that Baras predicts will be the face of Israeli baseball. IBL games will feature barbecues and between-inning entertainment aimed at young children. Premium seating sections not only will offer fans food delivered directly to their seats, but also in-seat haircuts and massages.

Fans recall Tigers' poor race relations
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
While the Detroit Tigers' World Series run has fans cheering, it also has some local blacks remembering some unpleasant history. Richard Bak, in a Metro Times interview, said that Walter Briggs, who became the club's owner in 1938 and renamed Navin Field after himself (it later became known as Tiger Stadium), was not the "most socially advanced person when it came to race relations." Bak wrote "A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium." While African-Americans were allowed into the ballpark, they often were sold the worst seats, Bak said.

Fall Classic too much of a crapshoot
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
We're not quite sure what the point of this article is. It starts with recognition that ratings for this year's World Series are way down, but then it goes on to say most baseball fans wanted to see the New York Yankees anointed World Champions without the benefit of the playoffs. It then suggest the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals are not worthy participants in the World Series because they didn't have the best records in their leagues. Detroit did make the playoffs as the wild card, which isn't a bad place to be -- ask the 2005 Houston Astros about that. (Indeed, we're guessing wild-card teams have an above-.500 record the last six seasons in the playoffs.) Basically, the argument here is that parity is overrated and that everyone wants to see the same few teams in the World Series every year. Actually, as we noted yesterday, the same few teams do dominate the playoffs each season.

Baseball writers ask MLB to put St. Louis All-Star Game on hold
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
The Baseball Writers' Association of America moved Wednesday to request that Major League Baseball withhold awarding the 2009 All-Star Game to the Cardinals until significant improvements are made to a press facility the organization considers unacceptable to host a special event. The Busch Stadium press facility has been criticized by media since the park opened this April. During construction of the ballpark, Cardinals officials rejected architect HOK Sport's standard design, opting for a less costly, exposed press box offering neither air conditioning nor heat. The club originally intended to locate the press facility down the right-field line until Major League Baseball mandated that it be situated behind home plate.

The spirit of St. Louis
Posted Oct. 26, 2006
The current Busch Stadium is actually the third Busch Stadium in St. Louis ballpark history. The first, originally called and known by most fans as Sportsman's Park, was built for the St. Louis Browns and was used by both teams for a stretch until the Browns were sold by Bill Veeck and moved to Baltimo