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Archives: Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2006

Archives: Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2006

Red Barons will stay, Mandalay vows
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
Mandalay Baseball Properties made its most potent statement yet on keeping the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Class AAA; International League) in Northeast Pennsylvania. And that was exactly what Luzerne County commissioners wanted to hear. Richard W. Neumann, Mandalay’s vice president of development, minced no words Wednesday when asked if the team might be moved. The terms of Mandalay’s deal to possibly buy the team would seem to preclude a move, Mandalay, which will run the Red Barons under a management contract with Lackawanna County, will have the right to buy the team for between $13 million and $16.4 million, depending on when the purchase takes place. If Mandalay decides to buy the franchise, it will be required to negotiate a minimum 20-year ballpark lease, which would give the county the right to re-purchase the team at the end of the lease. Indeed, it would seem Mandalay is interested in setting up operations in Pennsylvania: we’ve heard the corporation approached Harrisburg officials about a possible purchase of the Harrisburg Senators (Class AA; Eastern League), where Mandalay would purchase a part-interest in the team (presumably to sidestep the league’s ownership rules, as Mandalay already owns the Eastern League’s Erie franchise) and then manage the team. Harrisburg is proving to be an interesting situation: some suitors say they’re put off by the ballpark situation (improvements may not happen for a couple of years), and some say the team’s value is diminished by the move of the independent Atlantic League into nearby York. We may have a situation where the bottom-feeders are looking for a bargain. More from the Times Leader.

Oakland City Council grants A’s extension
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The Oakland City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a lease extension to keep the Oakland A’s at McAfee Coliseum through at least 2010 and possibly longer. The deal will mean $2.8 million in additional revenue for the city of Oakland and Alameda County. But several council members acknowledged the lease extension is a stop gap measure as team owners look for a new home, perhaps in Fremont. Councilman Larry Reid said he hoped Mayor-elect Ron Dellums and the council could convince the A’s to stay in Oakland, but doubted it was possible. A’s officials still continue to put together a ballpark deal in Fremont; the lease merely ensures the team has a place to play until the inevitable move.

USC ballpark project moves forward
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The University of South Carolina is one day away from ending more than six years of ballpark uncertainty. The university will assume possession Friday of the 29-acre tract of riverfront land on which it plans to build a 6,800-seat ballpark scheduled to open in time for the Gamecocks’ 2008 season opener. USC will acquire the land along the Congaree River from the Guignard family, which agreed to sell 26 acres to the university in December. A legislative joint bond review committee — made up of five state senators and five state representatives — approved a $20 million portion of the project Wednesday morning, USC spokesman Russ McKinney said.

Eminent-domain effort begins for Twins ballpark land
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
Hennepin County filed a condemnation notice Wednesday to begin acquiring property for the new Minnesota Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, but it emphasized that the move is largely procedural and stated that it still expects to negotiate a sale with the property’s owners. But the 26-page document, filed in Hennepin County District Court, began a process that could give the county title to the property within 90 days. The filing lists 10 defendants, including Land Partners II, the firm that the county identified as the fee owner of the project site in the downtown Minneapolis warehouse district. Other defendants include Hines Northstar Crossings, Minikahda Ministorage IV and Investment Management, which have option, easement or tenant interests on the property.

Ballpark still "The Joe"
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
An attempt to sell naming rights to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, home of the Tri-City ValleyCats (short season; NY-Penn League), apparently has fallen through. The ballpark is located on the Hudson Valley Community College campus, and some local legislators want to offset the county’s $3.1 million yearly contribution by telling the community college to sell naming rights to the Joe. Trouble is, if the college does sell the rights, it would offset state aid and could not be transferred back to the county. In addition, naming rights are estimated to be worth $275,000 — and that doesn’t come close to what the county pays in a year.

Giants to get $6 million tax refund after settling tax dispute with city
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The San Francisco Giants will be getting $6 million dollars back in a tax refund, thanks to a settlement over a tax dispute between the city of San Francisco and the team. The settlement announced yesterday comes after a ruling by the city Assessment Appeals Board that agreed with claim by the Giants that the valuation of AT&T Park for tax purposes had been calculated too high. The favorable ruling could have turned into a tax refund of nearly $10 million dollars. But the team agreed to take the $6 million dollar in exchange for the city dropping a court challenge over the appeals board ruling.

Kernels unveil new logos, uniforms
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low Class A; Midwest League) unveiled their new identity to a group of local media and fans in a press conference at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. "We feel this logo is a good representation of the Kernels and helps to bring home the fun we have here at Veterans Memorial Stadium every game," said Jack Roeder, Kernels General Manager. "We are very proud of our classic logo but felt as an organization it was time to move forward." The new identity is a shift from the Kernels navy, red and silver as the new colors will be primarily navy blue and Kelly green with yellow and red accents.

West End Field to host concerts, festivals
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
West End Field, the home of the Greenville Drive (Low Class A; Sally League), will be the site for musical hits as well as home runs, as the result of a new partnership between the team’s management and Main Street Events, the organization that produces festivals and outdoor music series in the city. The management partnership, announced Wednesday, will give the city another venue for concerts, with a seating capacity between 2,000 and 6,000 people, said Byron Rucker, executive director of Main Street Events. Main Street Events will work with promoters who want to schedule concerts at the baseball stadium and will manage production elements such as staging, scheduling and logistical concerns. The Drive will take charge of ticket sales, security and concessions, Rucker said.

51s release 25th-anniversary logo
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will celebrate their 25th season in Las Vegas during the 2007 campaign. The 51s organization have the distinction of being the longest enduring franchise in the history of professional sports in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas Triple-A baseball was born on April 10, 1983 before a crowd of 10,622 at Cashman Field. The team will use a special logo to commemorate the 2007 season. The team began life as the Las Vegas Stars, and the commemorative logo recognizes that history.
    "We are excited about the 25th PCL Season Logo and we wanted to incorporate both the Stars and 51s in the logo," 51s President & General Manager Don Logan said. "This franchise has a very proud tradition with all of the great players that have been a part of this organization as members of the Padres and Dodgers."

Freedom baseball prepares for next season
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
Florence Freedom (independent; Frontier League) baseball team owner Clint Brown addressed Florence City Council on Oct. 22 to thank council for its support last season and give them an update on plans for next season. Brown said there no major renovations are planned for the stadium during the off-season, although some changes would continue to be made to make the facility more group-friendly. Popular post-game fireworks will be held after every Friday game and more bands will be recruited to perform after games on "Super Saturdays." Brown also said that popular entertainers familiar to Freedom games would continue to perform on Sundays.

Keys announce promotions
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League) have promoted Shaun O’Neal and Deanna Davis to co-Assistant General Managers, effective immediately. O’Neal will be the Assistant General Manager of Sales, and Davis the Assistant General Manager of Ticketing & Operations.
    In his new role, O’Neal will oversee the entire sales operations for the Keys. Davis will continue supervising ticketing and expand her role in overseeing all aspects of stadium operations and the total fan experience. Both will be responsible for creating new and exciting opportunities for both the Keys and their fans.
    O’Neal continues his tenure at the Keys with over ten years of employment. A native of Richmond, Virginia, O’Neal graduated from James Madison University with a B.A in Sport Management in 1996. The former Dukes’ pitcher interned with the Keys that same year and was quickly promoted to Director of Public Relations. In 1998 O’Neal moved into an account manager position, which he held before being elevated to the Director of Advertising Sales in the fall of 2004. As Director, O’Neal successfully managed his staff and achieved all departmental goals set for the 2006 season.
    Davis joined the Keys in 2002 after spending time as the Assistant Promotions Coordinator for Jillian’s Entertainment in Cincinnati. During her first full season, she was quickly promoted from intern to group events coordinator. In 2004, Davis graduated from Mount St Mary’s University with a B.S. in Business and Accounting and was promoted to her most recent position Director of Ticket Operations. As Director, Davis trained and maintained a sales staff while increasing new group ticket business during the 2006 season.

Klein purchases interest in Indians
Posted Nov. 2, 2006
The Spokane Indians (short season; Northwest League) announced that Otto Klein, the team’s Senior Vice President, has acquired a 1 percent ownership interest in the team.
    "Otto has been a big part of the success of this franchise," said Indians Managing Partner, Bobby Brett. "This ownership interest is a reward for Otto’s past service to the team and an acknowledgement of the key role he plays in the continuing success of this franchise."
    Klein has been a key member of the Indians staff since 1993. As Senior Vice President, Klein oversees all sponsorship sales, promotions, radio, advertising and public relations for the team.
    "I’m excited and grateful to the Brett Family and the entire ownership group for this new opportunity," said Klein. "They have allowed me to fulfill one of my lifelong goals."
    Klein’s ownership acquisition has already received Northwest League approval. The transaction will be complete upon receipt of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball approval, which is expected shortly.
    The Indians also announced other front-office moves. Josh Roys has been named the Indians Vice President of Ticket Sales; Sarah Cislo has been promoted to Director of Group sales; Matt Almond has been promoted to Director of Promotions and Patrick Donovan, who played for the Indians during the 2006 season, will spend his off-season as an Indians Account Executive.

County puts $2.6M in play to upgrade Space Coast Stadium
Posted Nov. 1, 2006
Brevard County will pay at least $2.6 million to fix leaking roofs, peeling paint and flood-prone dugouts at Space Coast Stadium before the Washington Nationals return for spring training in February. That’s about five times more than the county had budgeted for upgrades this year on the 12-year-old ballpark, but $1 million less than new team owners requested last month. The county is responsible for capital improvements under the terms of a lease that expires in 2017, while the Nationals handle operations and maintenance. So far, the county has agreed to replace canopies over seats, repair leaky roofs and improve field and dugout drainage. Plans for spring training are well underway, with several teams — mostly in the Cactus League — announcing schedules. (You can read all the details at The ballpark is also home to the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League).


South Coast League announces Anderson franchise
Posted Nov. 1, 2006
It’s final: the independent South Coast League has reached an agreement to bring professional baseball back to Anderson, S.C. The formal announcement will be made at the ceremony on Thursday, November 2 at 4 p.m. at Anderson’s Memorial Stadium. Officials from the City, the South Coast League and Anderson University will be on hand.
    The Anderson club will play a 45-game home schedule beginning in May 2007. League officials have reached an two-year lease agreement with the City of Anderson for the lease of Anderson Memorial Stadium. Anderson becomes the second SCL South Carolina market, joining the nearby Aiken franchise. The two South Carolina clubs will join Albany, Ga., and Macon, Ga., as well as Charlotte County, Fla., and Bradenton, Fla., to compete in the 2007 inaugural season of South Coast League play.
    "We project Anderson to be a tremendous market for independent professional baseball," said SCL Chief Executive Officer Jamie Toole. "We have enjoyed working with Mayor Terrence Roberts, City Manager John Moore, Anderson University Athletic Director Bobby Beville, and Anderson University Head Baseball Coach Joe Miller to bring this agreement together."
    The Anderson club will call Anderson Memorial Stadium home. Legion Field, which was later to become known as Anderson Memorial Stadium, was built in 1970 to replace Nardin Field. With a seating capacity of 2,500, Anderson Memorial has been home to various teams including major league affiliates of the Braves, Mets, Senators, and Tigers. After the Braves left following the 1985 season, the stadium continued to host many amateur baseball leagues as well as the Anderson University Trojans (NCAA Division II) baseball team. More from the Anderson Independent Mail.



Poll: Tax-funded downtown Fort Wayne ballpark is unpopular
Posted Nov. 1, 2006
A proposed downtown ballpark for the Fort Wayne Wizards (Low Class A; Midwest League) strikes out with the public — especially if they’re going to have to help pay for it. Just 36 percent of Allen County residents say they favor using at least some taxpayer dollars to build the ballpark, which has been touted as one of the centerpieces of downtown revitalization. Forty-three percent oppose the idea, according to The News-Sentinel/News Channel 15 poll. Significantly, however, 21 percent are undecided – not surprising, since a specific project, cost and funding plan have not yet been proposed. Those and other still-to-be decided details ultimately could determine whether the public embraces or rejects the planned replacement for Memorial Stadium.