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Archives: Nov. 12-18, 2007

Archives: Nov. 12-18, 2007

BoSox raise ticket prices 9 percent
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
When you’re defending World Series champs and control one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball, you can get away with raising ticket prices by an average of 9 percent. The Boston Red Sox announced 2008 ticket prices yesterday, and suffice it to say attending a game at Fenway Park will be a more expensive proposition next season — if you can get tickets. While you can still get in the ballpark for $12 in the Upper Bleachers section, a Field Box seat (the best in the park) will run you $125, and a Loge Box seats now goes for $90. In some ways the pricing is academic anyway: The BoSox have sold out 388 consecutive regular-season games, and most tickets are not available through the team, but rather through aftermarket resellers. Will the market care? Probably not. The market perhaps cares more about the announcement that the Red Sox will be breaking spring camp early and eliminating a few games from their Grapefruit League schedule; locals in Fort Myers weren’t too happy with the news.

Reading Phillies unveil new logo, uniforms
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Reading Phillies (Class AA; Eastern League) unveiled their new identity program on Wednesday at Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center. The new identity is part of a six-month creative overhaul of the franchise.
    "Today marks the next era in Reading Phillies Baseball," Reading Phillies General Manager Scott Hunsicker said. "Our new look is part of our continuing effort to embody the spirit and heritage of Reading, while paying tribute to our 42-year affiliation with Philadelphia."
    A dynamic, modern evolution of the current Phillies identity, the new look features a titled polished "R-Phils" Primary Logo. Fans will also enjoy a new Dynamic Star and the Reading Pagoda makes its way into the R-Phils identity program.
    Phillies Red, Light Blue, Dark Navy and "Bubble Gum" make up the club’s new official colors, paying tribute to their Phillies heritage. The R-Phils are the first professional sports team to use Bubble Gum in their identity.
    The redesigned home uniforms replicate Philadelphia’s pinstriped uniforms featuring "Reading" across the chest with Bubble Gum highlights, and the Reading Pagoda on the left sleeve and the Phillies “P” on the right sleeve. Two alternate jerseys — one red, one light navy — feature “R-Phils” across the chest. The light navy alternate will be worn for home games once a week. The red jersey is primarily for batting practice but could see its way into games as well.
    The R-Phils new game cap is Phillies Red featuring an "R" with a star inside. One alternate cap is light navy featuring the same "R" with a star inside, the other features a dynamic light Blue and light navy Star on a Phillies Red cap and will be worn primarily for batting practice but could be worn for games.
    In 2008 the R-Phils will also sport a powder blue Retro Uniform based on the 1980 World Champion Phillies Uniform with a modernized R-Train cap logo. The powder blue uniform will be the club’s road uniform and will also be used once a week for home games.
    The R-Phils makeover is the work of Plan B Branding, a San Diego-grown creative ideas company specializing in storytelling and branding ideas. Partners Casey White & Jason Klein dreamed up fresh looks for the Cincinnati Reds, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Clearwater Threshers and other prestigious Minor League Baseball clubs.

Team touts new survey as proof Fremont wants A’s
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Nearly two-thirds of Fremont residents support the Oakland A’s ballpark village project, according to a telephone survey commissioned by the ballclub. Team officials Wednesday released a portion of the 66-question poll of 400 registered Fremont voters conducted in September. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they favored the project, compared with 34 percent who opposed it. The A’s organization was viewed favorably by 69 percent of respondents, and A’s co-owner Lew Wolff was viewed favorably by 44 percent of respondents and negatively by 18 percent. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percent. Team officials trumpeted the findings as evidence that most Fremont residents support their ballpark plan despite fears of game-day gridlock.

Goodyear OKs contract for work on new ballpark
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Goodyear City Council has approved a $4.2 million construction contract with Barton Malow Co. for work on the spring-training development complex near Estrella Parkway and Yuma Road. The contract, approved 6-0 Tuesday, comes on the heels of a separate agreement by the council last month that will pay Barton Malow $10.7 million for other ballpark work, including excavation, grading and underground utilities of the fields. The company is based in Southfield, Mich., and has an offices in Tempe and other U.S. cities. The total costs of the ballpark and player development complex will be $74.8 million. Half of the bill will be paid by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. Here’s one way to get a team to move spring-training operations from Florida to Arizona: wine and dine them.

Rays ballpark plan kept secret for months
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Sports fans frustrated by the secrecy surrounding the Tampa Bay Rays’ proposal to build a new waterfront ballpark could soon get a few answers to their questions. St. Petersburg city leaders will release some of the details about the plan "in a couple of days," said David Goodwin, the city’s economic development director. Officials also will release the terms of their confidentiality agreement with the Rays’ owners, which Goodwin agreed to in March. The team is expected to make a formal ballpark proposal in the next month. St. Petersburg residents are likely to vote on the plan in 2008. The plan is to build a new waterfront ballpark on the site of Al Lang Field using the proceeds of the sale of Tropicana Field along with $150 million from the team. More on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s wholehearted support of the plan. More from the St. Pete Times.

Border Cats sold
Posted Nov. 15, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Thunder Bay Border Cats (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) have been sold by John Wendel to local entrepreneur Brad Jorgenson, who will also serve as the team’s GM. Wendel launched the team when the league expanded several years ago; he’s also a former owner of several minor-league teams. The Border Cats have not really taken off at Port Arthur Stadium: the team‘s attendance fell from a record 1,254 fans per game in 2006 to just 941 in 2007. On Jorgenson’s agenda: coming up with a new, fiercer logo and lowering ticket prices. More from Thunder Bay’s Source.

Nats to open new ballpark March 29
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Nationals Park, the new home of the Washington Nationals, will host a dress rehearsal March 29, an exhibition game against the Orioles. The Nationals want to find out whether they will be able to use the new ballpark for real the next day. Tickets won’t be sold for the exhibition game against the Orioles. Instead, people with season-ticket packages will be admitted for free and other tickets will be given away, perhaps to ballpark workers or city schoolchildren. Nationals president Stan Kasten said yesterday that the team is awaiting word from the commissioner’s office on whether the first regular-season game at Nationals Park will be played March 30 or April 7. The Post’s Thomas Boswell gives the new ballpark a big thumbs-up.

Sale of Swing of Quad Cities approved
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Main Street Iowa’s Dave Heller joined with Davenport Mayor Ed Winborn at an afternoon press conference to announce that the sale of the Swing of the Quad Cities (Low Class A; Midwest League) from Seventh Inning Stretch to Main Street Iowa has been approved by Major League Baseball. MLB was the last group to put their stamp of approval on Main Street Iowa’s application to purchase the Swing of the Quad Cities, following in the footsteps of the Midwest League and Minor League Baseball.
    "We have been working towards this day for quite some time and I couldn’t be happier," said Heller, Managing Partner of the new ownership group. "We have so many new and exciting changes planned for next season and we are eager to get started."
    Former President and General Manager Kevin Krause, who headed Seventh Inning Stretch and has operated the club since 1998, said the past 10 seasons have been a time that he will always look back on fondly. "We’ve laid the foundation and created one of the country’s premier minor league baseball organizations and stadiums," Krause said. "Main Street Iowa is going to inherit a phenomenal fan base, and I wish the team all the best in the future."
    Now that the transaction has been approved at all of the necessary levels, Main Street Iowa and Seventh Inning Stretch have 10 business days to close the deal and make the transaction official. More from the Quad Cities Times.

Red Sox, A’s to open season in Japan
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
It’s official: the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s will open the 2008 season on March 25 and 26 at the Tokyo Dome. As part of Japan Opening Series 2008, both MLB Clubs will also compete against to-be-determined Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) teams in day/night doubleheaders scheduled for March 22 and 23. After these games, the two teams will return to finish spring training before launching the homeland regular season in April. One issue for fans is how these games will affect spring training: we now know the Red Sox and the A’s will have an abbreviated spring training. The spring-training schedule will also be upset by the Padres and Dodgers playing exhibition games in Beijing, China, on March 15-16; these games have not been formally announced. Japan Opening Series 2008 will mark the first MLB season opener in Japan since the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays played in front of sell-out crowds at the Tokyo Dome in 2004. Over the past decade, eight MLB Clubs (Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays) have experienced international openers.

Lawmakers amend budget to include funds for Moosic ballpark
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Pennsylvania senators added $35 million in funding for a new Moosic ballpark on the site of PNC Field, the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League). The total cost of the project is expected to be $50 million; the remainder of the funds will come from the sale of the team to Mandalay Sports Entertainment. This is merely the first step in what is expected to be a long and contentious process for ballpark funding; Lackawanna County commissioners are expected to take a close look at the sale of the team.

Land under the Trop is a developer’s dream
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
One reason why the financial plan for a new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays may work: the land underneath Tropicana Field is a developer’s dream and potentially the largest urban redevelopment project in Pinellas County history. The Rays want to be part of the action; the owners foresee a major mixed-use development with retail, office and housing. The current plan calls for the proceeds of this development, combined with a $150 million payment from the Rays ownership, to pay for the new ballpark; no public assistance would be needed. The Rays have told elected officials they would like to include affordable housing in the project, which could help sway voters and local leaders on the plan. The team also said it wants to keep 5,000 parking spaces — presumably in garages — for fans heading to the new downtown ballpark. Gov. Charlie Crist, who used to office next to Al Lang Field when he worked for Minor League Baseball, says he’s inclined to have the state help both the Rays and the Florida Marlins on new-ballpark proposals. More from the Tampa Tribune, which is quite incorrect when it asserts "stadium financing experts said they have never seen a team try to use the money from sale of public property to build a stadium for a pro franchise." Probably should have talked to us: the proceeds of the sale of the land used for Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., was used to help fund the Metrodome. (Specifically, according to Bill Lester of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the proceeds of the land sale — $25 million — was used to pay off Metrodome bonds in 1998.)

Islanders file plan for new Long Island ballpark
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The owners of the NHL’s New York Islanders submitted a plan for an ambitious new development surrounding a renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum that would include a new Class AA ballpark. The ballpark is really a small part of the $300 million proposal, and the future of the whole thing will rest on how local residents feel about such as ambitious project.

IronPigs unveil mascot
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveiled their mascot Wednesday at Seiple Farms in Bath, Pa., and announced that they will be holding a "Name the Mascot" contest in conjunction with The Morning Call. The IronPigs mascot is described as a portly, affable IronPig wearing the IronPigs home uniform and jersey number 26 – the atomic number for Iron (Fe).
    "We searched far and wide for our mascot before discovering a pig that personified ‘fun,’" stated Kurt Landes, general manager of the IronPigs. "Now that we have found our pig and given him a home, he needs a name!"
    Fans may submit their name suggestions online through noon on November 25. The winner will be announced in The Morning Call on December 2.
    The fan submitting the winning name will receive a prize pack featuring 10 tickets to a future IronPigs game, select merchandise, the opportunity to throw a first pitch and a chance to meet the new mascot. In the event that more than one fan submits the same name a winner will be chosen randomly. Complete rules are available online.
    The IronPigs mascot design was created by Plan B Branding, a San Diego-based creative ideas company specializing in storytelling and branding ideas, and produced by Sugar’s Mascot Costumes, a leader in the mascot production industry. More from the Allentown Morning Call.

Reds likely to remain in Florida for training
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Despite some early enthusiasm, the feeling in Arizona is that the Cincinnati Reds are unlikely to shift spring-training operations from Florida, despite the defeat of a referendum last week calling for the renovation of Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium. Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall will be meeting with Reds ownership tonight about the prospect of moving to Tucson, but he’ll have a hard sell: there are no direct flights between Cincy and Tucson, and two teams need to move, not just one.

Miller Park may get upgrades
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Milwaukee Brewers have plans to upgrade Miller Park’s sound system and replace the main scoreboard in time for the 2010 season. The plans and timetable could still change. But in discussions between team officials and the Miller Park stadium district, a master plan maintained by the district calls for millions of dollars to be set aside from an account that is jointly funded by the Brewers and the district. That fund, a creation of the existing lease between the district and the team, was set up to pay for ballpark improvements. The district board must approve each project and, in some cases, officials have rejected projects that should not be supported in part by taxpayer money. It has been estimated that a sound system upgrade would cost at least $1.5 million. The cost to replace the scoreboard could run between $8 million and $10 million.

Fisher Cats to add Sam Adams Bar & Grill
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) announced that construction will begin soon on the all-new Samuel Adams Bar & Grill at Stadium. The Samuel Adams Bar & Grill, which will overlook the playing field above the left field wall, is slated to open on Opening Night, April 10, 2008. The Samuel Adams Bar & Grill will feature table top and bar seating for over 300 people. There will be multiple flat-screen televisions, an indoor mahogany bar and an extensive menu to complement the menu items offered at the ballpark.

Pope to make abbreviated ballpark tour
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at two ballparks next year as part of his first visit to the United States as pontiff. He’ll celebrate Mass on April 17 at Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals, and on April 20 at Yankee Stadium. Tickets to both events are expected to be free and distributed through the local archdiocese; you can expect the scalpers to be involved in a lively aftermarket, however. More from the Examiner, which explains how the Lerner family — which owns the Nats — were personally involved in arranging the visit.

Fahey says ballpark review commission making progress
Posted Nov. 14, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Immediately following his announcement Tuesday that he will not run for U.S. Senate, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey got back to business on one of the biggest issues of his political career: the future of the College World Series in his city. The unresolved ballpark question is one major factor Fahey cited when he said he has too much city business to deal with to pursue a Senate seat. Omaha now has until the end of April to present a recommended ballpark site to the NCAA. But Fahey didn’t offer much information to the group at the Press Club to indicate what that recommendation might be. Instead, he said the city’s ballpark review committee is making steady progress in its review of eight possible ballpark plans. The committee is considering five sites for a new downtown ballpark and three options to renovate Rosenblatt Stadium to serve as a long