When Stadium Financing and the Recession Collide

This is the third in a series featured at The Biz of Baseball, written by FOTB and Canadian baseball correspondent Pete Toms. (For more see Part I and Part II of this series)

Here’s a snippet, but if you are into the stadium financing issues and problems, you’d be better off reading the whole thing.

The combination of job losses and declining tax revenues in NYC, the publishing of emails which revealed the mayors office had vigorously lobbied the Yankees for a luxury suite at the new stadium, the Yankees free agent spending spree and record ticket prices at the new stadium made public financing/funding of the stadium a hot political issue. ( The mayors office eventually forfeited the luxury suite ) City Comptroller William Thompson was very public in his criticism of mayor Bloomberg’s role in the financing/funding of the stadium. Mr. Thompons’ [sic] critics ( the mayor’s office and the Yankees ) pointed out that Mr. Thompson had voted in 2006 to issue approximately 1$ billion in bonds for the stadium and that his opposition to the latest round of financing might stem from his expected run for mayor of NYC this year.

The unprecedented attention brought to the issue of “public dollars for private stadiums in the political and media battle over the new Yankee Stadium might be remembered as the tipping point in this debate. Is public financing/ funding of stadiums for billionaire owners and millionaire players now too politically contentious to risk? (There is much debate as to whether the new Yankee Stadium is publicly built or publicly financed)

Pete’s other work on Biz of Baseball can be found here. Continue reading When Stadium Financing and the Recession Collide

Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights

For the opening Commish For A Day salvos, I bring you a two-barrelled approach. Each of these share a common theme dealing with the elimination of territorial rights in the game. There is some other discussion on other topics, but I put these two together to get us started.

Leading off is the esteemed Keith Law of ESPN/Scouts, Inc. fame. Keith’s personal blog, meadowparty, is a stew of baseball, movies and all things culinary. Keith’s baseball blog on ESPN can be found here, as you probably already know. Says Keith, the lead-off CFAD:

I’d eliminate the territorial rules, both for TV and relocations. Then I’d open up the process to two expansion franchises once the economy is turning around, and if someone wants to put a team in Brooklyn or New Jersey or in the Inland Empire, by all means, let them.

FWIW, the salary cap/floor thing would require a renegotiation of the CBA. Even if you were named Commissioner for a day, you couldn’t push that through unilaterally, whereas I don’t believe expansion requires union approval (nor would they say no if asked).

Batting second is Thomas White, aka “Chipmaker”, sole proprietor of the blog Chipmaker Coherent. The Chipmaker begins with the territorial rights issue, then attacks the World Series HFA issue:

Team territorial rights are abolished, 8:01 am. If the A’s want to move to San Jose, go right ahead. If some team wants to move to northern New Jersey, go right ahead. Damned relic from the early 20th century and well overdue to be cast aside.

If that’s a bit esoteric, we modify the World Series homefield method. Three points, two points wins homefield:

  1. All Star Game result.
  2. Seasonal interleague play result.
  3. Aggregate intraleague winning percentage of the four playoff teams per league.

It rewards in-league play as well as interleague play, and doesn’t require waiting until Oct. 20 to find out where Game 1 will be played, like it might if winning percentage between the two league champions was the third point.

(The current method really doesn’t bother me in the least, and I don’t understand why it does get up the noses of so many fans, but I recognize that as a real thing. This method would be more interesting, not too complex, and maintain some suspense until late in the season.)

Thanks to Keith and Thomas for their contributions. I’ve got a bunch more to roll with this week so barring any crazy “real” baseball news, I’ll devote much of this week to you guys and your opinions. Chat it up, guys. Continue reading Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights

Rice is steamed

Is this the same guy who ignored the media and was generally a miserable SOB to most of the public? Of course, this is just my Yankee bias, no doubt. So Rice blames Steinbrenner for not getting over the hump during his career. Steinbrenner surely had a hand in that Mookie Wilson dribbler.

“During that time, Steinbrenner spent more money than the Red Sox,” Rice said. “He had more free agents. So when you get the best free agents, and you get the superstars from other ballclubs, that’s what made you have a better team. The more money you can spend, the better you should get.”

Even now, Rice remains annoyed by the Yankees’ habit of throwing money at their problems. Not surprisingly, he lauds Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein for doing things the right way. “If you look at the Red Sox now, you see them bringing guys up in the organization,” he said. “That’s why Theo has been the person he’s been over the last couple of years. He’ll bring young kids up and stay within the organization.

“The Yankees haven’t won in the last eight years. What do they do? They go out and buy high-priced players in the hope to get back the winning percentage they had 10 years ago.”

Oh please, the cannonization of Theo is just so blecccch. I know Theo has done great things for the franchise and I’ve complimented their moves as I see them. But enough with the sainting and “Yanks overspend” drivel. I’ll stop here as I’ve had to delete several rants already.

UPDATE: Because I am late getting started today (no work for me!), I missed Shysterball’s take on the subject. And he took a strikingly similar approach:

Fine, the ball went between Buckner’s legs because Steinbrenner signed Don Gullet. We get that.

Continue reading Rice is steamed

You ain't never met Martin Luther, the King

Back for a 3rd straight year!
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In a twisted honor of MLK day, the dialogue from one of the great barbershop scenes from Coming To America:

Eddie Murphy: “Ya know, Sweets, I met Dr. Martin Luther King once.”

Clint Smith: “You lyin’! You ain’t never met Dr. Martin Luther King.”

Murphy: “Yeah, I met Dr. Martin Luther King in 1962 in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m walkin’ down the street, mindin’ my own business, just walkin’ along, feelin’ good. I walk around a corner. A man walk up, hit me in my chest, right? I fall on the ground, right? And I look up, and it’s Dr. Martin Luther King! I said, ‘Dr. King!’ He said, ‘Oops, I thought you was somebody else.’ “

Smith: “Aw, man, you lyin’. You ain’t never met Martin Luther the King!”

Murphy: “Knocked the wind outta me! Yes, he did!”

Smith: “No, he didn’t!”

Murphy: “Yes, he did!”

Smith: “No, he did not!”

(click through to the video, with not-so-nice language)

Continue reading You ain't never met Martin Luther, the King

"Commish for a day" Challenge

If nothing else, I try to include you guys as much as I can in this silly little blog. I don’t want to be the lone voice here all the time, so I try to concoct ways to get you guys involved. Sometimes it’s for a good cause like we did with the Charity Challenge. Other times, it’s via a good rambling rant emailed to me. So now it’s time for another one. This came from the quick, almost scarily instantaneous response I got from FOTB –friend of the blog– Ron Rollins about what he wants to see changed in baseball.

Here’s the topic: You are commission of MLB for one day. You can make one major move. What would you pick and why?

Some suggestions:

  • Eliminate the DH/Expand the DH to the NL
  • Eliminate the Wild Card format
  • Change the arbitration process
  • Eliminate draft pick compensation for Type A/B free agents
  • Increase the # of teams making the post-season
  • Allow for the trading of draft picks
  • Change the amateur draft (no slotting suggestions, include other countries, etc.)
  • Eliminate the “All star game winner determines W.S. home field advantage” gimmick
  • All playoff start times on weekdays are 7:30pm EST
  • Salary cap/floor (remember, must have one with the other)
  • Make mandatory all new stadiums must have retractible roofs; must be entirely team-funded
  • Pick the next commissioner after Selig is gone
  • You cannot: Eliminate any teams; Change the BBWAA rules

Email me your best ideas by Monday Tuesday and I’ll run the best of ’em next week. Depending on how many I get, maybe one a day for as many worthwhile ones I get. {email: jnr98 (at) yahoo (dot) com}

If you have your own blog, make sure to provide the URL and any other goodness you want listed (bio, picture, etc.). I can’t promise a landslide of hits to your site, but whaddya expect for free? Continue reading "Commish for a day" Challenge

If your wife ain't happy, you ain't happy

…and if she’s unhappy long enough, you’ll be without half your stuff. Remember that, single guys.

Some mocked Teixeira because he gave credit to his wife for helping him decide on which team he wanted to play for. Even the manly BoSox dude Youkilis noted that his wife’s happiness was instrumental in him signing a long term deal:

“It’s a great thing knowing that I’ll be here for hopefully the next five years,” the 29-year-old said. “My wife is from Boston and her family’s from here and that’s a major factor in us staying here.”

Smart dude. Continue reading If your wife ain't happy, you ain't happy

Get well soon, Zim!

I hope he keeps pushing forward with his recovery!

Don Zimmer is recovering from a small stroke suffered last month and hopes to join the Rays in spring training for what would be his 61st season in the game.

Zimmer, who turns 78 today, said Friday he is regaining the speech and mobility he lost.

I never felt bad,” he said. “I never had anything bother me except that I’m a little wobbly and I’m slow taking a step. A week and a half ago, there’s no way I could talk to you.

”But I’m getting better.”

Continue reading Get well soon, Zim!