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Friday, July 11, 2014

CCB: Cubs Wind Landmarks OK for Wrigley Redo

The team finally got the news they’ve been aiming to hear for years.

Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:39 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Calcaterra: The first Derek Jeter Publishing title is available for pre-order

Last fall we learned that Derek Jeter was starting his own publishing business in a partnership with Simon & Schuster. The first book is coming out in September. You can pre-order it now. It’s called “The Contract” and it’s for middle school readers. This is the description:

As a young boy, Derek Jeter dreams of begin [sic] the shortstop for the New York Yankees. He even imagines himself in the World Series. So when Derek is chosen for the Little League Tigers, he hopes to play shortstop. But on the day of the assignments, Derek Starts [sic] at second base. Still, he tries his best while he wishes and dreams of that shortstop spot. And to help him stay focused on school, his parents make him a contract: keep up the grades or no baseball. Derek makes sure he always plays his best game—on and off the baseball field!

Good! Kids need to learn that it’s okay to try things and fail, and that it’s natural to have limitations. You can’t necessarily expect to achieve your wildest, most unrealistic dr…

Wait, he ends up playing where?

The District Attorney Posted: July 10, 2014 at 09:00 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: books, business, derek jeter, yankees

Monday, July 07, 2014

Maury Brown: The Biggest Media Company You’ve Never Heard Of

YR is not amused.

But what if I told you there was a company nestled in New York’s Chelsea Market near the Apple Store and across the street from Google’s offices that will see revenues of $800 million in 2014; with targeted revenues of $1 billion by 2016. That this company engaged in streaming live video of 18,000 hours in 2009 and is expected to hit 400,000 this year. That not only are they providing that, they’re a key company for online ticket sales, but isn’t StubHub. That key brands in corporate America hire them for content infrastructure, and not content with that, are a data analytics firm that rivals Bloomberg . The company has mobile technology that makes them one of Apple’s key partners and has been used at keynotes for their product launches.

This company is one that you know, right? It’s got to be someone whose logo is plastered across tech publications and a place in the forefront of the business section.

Think again.

The reason you may never have heard of this company is because when you think of it, you think baseball. Yes, that game that your dad or grandfather likes, the sport whose commissioner doesn’t even use a computer at the office, is the place where the biggest media company you’ve never heard of was started.

 

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 09:54 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: bud selig, business, mlbam

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jim Bunning: Cubs’ sale at odds with MLB antitrust exemption

Jim Bunning: “You can’t fool the people that long.” Sweet fuctwa! Bunning’s been winning elections since 1977!

If anyone in the U.S. House or Senate decides to bring another challenge to Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, the Cubs’ sale to the Ricketts family could become part of the case, former lawmaker Jim Bunning said.

Bunning, the baseball Hall of Famer who later led multiple threats and challenges to MLB’s exemption as a seven-term congressman and two-term senator, isn’t convinced there’s anyone left in Washington willing to take up that issue.

...“That’s where you could get something,” Bunning, who was in Philadelphia for a throwback weekend, said of a challenge to the exemption. “If somebody like Mark Cuban wants to buy a team and offers something like $2 billion, and they tell him he can’t. If they made an exception for a specific sale, it would be against the antitrust laws [and spirit of the exemption].”

Multiple sources confirm the open secret when it comes to Cuban and baseball: MLB wants no part of an outspoken, deep-pockets owner who might drive up player salaries and challenge the establishment.

The impact on the Cubs was a highly leveraged partnership purchase by a secondary bidder that has crippled the team’s short-term spending ability because of the biggest debt burden in the game, along with spending restrictions through related bank covenants.

...However, the actual business practices of the team — which include sacrificing seasons to stock the farm system while charging the third-highest ticket prices in the game — don’t rise to actionable levels, Bunning said.

“If you want to buy tickets to a baseball game and go to Wrigley Field and see a Double-A or Triple-A team, that’s your choice,” he said.

But the fact that skyrocketing media-rights deals allow some teams to ignore fans and make winning a secondary concern — because attendance is no longer the top-line revenue source — has the potential to stir outrage if it becomes a trend, Bunning suggested. Especially for an industry that expects to cross the $9 billion mark in revenues this year.

“That’s bad for the Cubs, it’s bad for baseball, it’s bad for the league as a whole,” Bunning said.

Outrage often has been the catalyst for lawmakers to examine ways to threaten a 92-year-old exemption that was the dubious result of a lawsuit by the defunct Federal League and has survived only through MLB’s acquiescence when challenged by the likes of Bunning.

It was the hammer lawmakers used to push for steroid-testing reform in baseball a decade ago.

“I’m not sure there’s anyone in the Senate or Congress left who knows baseball has an exemption,” Bunning cracked.

Much less outrage over what’s going on in places such as Chicago.

“You can’t fool the people that long,” he said. “If the Cubs don’t become competitive, they might as well close the doors.”

Repoz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs

Monday, June 02, 2014

Astros, Singleton Create Sign & Promote Model

For the last year or so, the Astros have reportedly been offering various long-term deals to some of the young players in their organization, using the carrot of guaranteed millions to try and buy out a couple of free agent years. Up until now, no one had signed the offer, and Evan Longoria remained the record holder for fewest number of days of service before signing a long-term deal. However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package…Singleton’s deal is for $10 million guaranteed over the next five seasons, beginning in 2014, with three team options that could push the total value of the deal to $35 million. By getting seven more years of team control after this season, the Astros are essentially buying one free agent year in advance — they would have owned the rest of 2014 anyway, plus six full seasons afterwards — and signing this deal now allowed Singleton to get promoted without worrying about the Super-Two deadline.

Tricky Dick Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:14 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

10 Degrees: As MLB looks for Bud Selig’s successor, Jerry Reinsdorf makes power grab - Yahoo Sports

The Game of Thrones: The Boys of Summer Edition

Truth is, Manfred represents much of what owners have come to value in a commissioner. He grabbed ahold of the changing power dynamics in labor relations and returned them to MLB after the union spent decades wiping the floor with the league. He is exceedingly bright and devilishly funny. He will fight and, in keeping with the tack of MLB past, fight dirty. He knows the game, the people. He wrote the labor agreements that have kept peace for nearly 20 years.

His sin in Reinsdorf’s eyes is two-fold. Manfred recognizes the large markets ultimately run the game because they’re the ones that generate massive revenue. That one is forgivable because, well, it’s true. More egregious is this: Manfred calls Reinsdorf out on his politicking. And the only thing more dangerous than a powerful man is one who tells the truth about how he lassoed that power.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: business, commissioner

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reuters: Abe’s new plan to beat deflation: more baseball teams

WHIP deflation now?

A set of recommendations to lift growth in Japan’s economy drafted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party seen by Reuters calls for slashing corporate taxes, reforming public pensions, and—in a curve ball—increasing the number of professional baseball teams to 16 from 12.

“Prosperous baseball teams could strengthen attachment to regional cities and help local economies thrive,” said the report, which cited the success of U.S. Major League Baseball in nearly doubling from 16 teams to 30 since the 1960s.

 

Greg Franklin Posted: May 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: business, expansion, international, japan, politics

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MLB.com:  Succession committee formed for next Commissioner

Commissioner Bud Selig, who plans to retire in January, announced the formation of a succession committee Thursday as the quarterly Owners Meetings concluded at Major League Baseball headquarters.

The committee will be chaired by Cardinals chairman and chief executive officer Bill DeWitt Jr. and will include six other owners: Dick Montfort of the Rockies, Dave Montgomery of the Phillies, Arte Moreno of the Angels, Bob Nutting of the Pirates, Jim Pohlad of the Twins and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox.

“It’s a committee that really represents, I think, the constituency [of baseball],” Selig said.

Swedish Chef Posted: May 15, 2014 at 03:18 PM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball operations, business, politics

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Smullens: Don Draper and the New York Mets: 1969, A Year of Miracles

Those Madison Avenue types could Frisella _____ to a _____.

Now here comes the optimistic foreshadowing—the year for Don and his Mad Men (and Women) is 1969, the Mets’ eighth season in the Major Leagues. In the seven preceding seasons the Mets had never finished higher than ninth place in the ten team National League and had never had a winning season. Records show that they lost at least one hundred games in five of the seasons.

Now stay with me, and yes, prepare to hoot and holler! The Mets got their act together when the Chicago Cubs suffered a late season breakdown, finishing the season 100-62, eight games ahead of the Cubs. They then defeated the National League West champs, the Atlanta Braves, three games to none in the League Championship Series. On a roll, they proceeded to defeat the American League champs, the Baltimore Orioles, in five games (I remember this well, as my home town was Baltimore!!), and win the World Series.

By the way, do you recall the first baseman who was named the series most valuable player (on the strength of his .357 batting average, three home runs, and four runs batted in)? His last name is Clendenon; his first, Donn.

And there is more foreshadowed hope symbolized by the formerly rumpled Mets pennant, now neatly attached to its new home, front and center! Casey Stengel, who managed the Mets from their inaugural season to 1965, called his team the “Amazin’ Mets.” Others refer to them as the “Miracle Mets.” Well, you and I know that miracles can happen if you believe they can and will yourself to turn your life and luck around.

Yep, I join those wholeheartedly who are not giving up on our Don. He’s got many a home run in him, and it will be thrilling to see what he does with them.

Repoz Posted: May 11, 2014 at 08:46 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, media, mets

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tigers’ Max Scherzer upset with SI over cover

Foray into stardom. Max goof?

Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer said Sports Illustrated’s cover story on him wasn’t what he expected.

“To be on the cover is a very special moment, but I’m also frustrated that they chose to put the contract stuff on the cover,” he said Sunday.

“When they approached us, (Tigers media relations) and I, we specifically asked not to make the story around the contract. ... They assured us it wasn’t going to be like that. They chose a different route, and we felt like we were lied to and misled.”

The cover headline was “Mad Max’s $144 million bet” and asked “did he make a dumb wager on his future?”

“I didn’t want it to be about that,” Scherzer said. “I’m a baseball player. I want to talk baseball. It’s frustrating when you get lied to about that.”

...Stephen Cannella, SI assistant managing editor, said Monday he knew of Scherzer’s feelings but no promises were made.

“We were aware Max didn’t want to discuss his contract situation in detail, but at no time did we make any promises how we would mention it in the story or how we wouldn’t, or where we would use it, whether it would be on the cover or whether it wouldn’t.”

Repoz Posted: April 29, 2014 at 10:15 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: business, tigers

Friday, April 04, 2014

Facebook Fandom Map

This map displays Facebook fans of all of the MLB teams across the U.S.  Each county is color-coded based on which official Facebook team page has the most likes …

Apologies to Canada, first off :)  There are some obvious patterns here and some surprises.  And some awkward and counterintuitive color choices: the Delaware Valley, for instance, seems to have slud into the ocean.

BDC Posted: April 04, 2014 at 09:20 AM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: business, fans, history, social media

Friday, March 14, 2014

AZ Republic: Mesa Riverview center bends on parking for Cubs games

At least three times already this year, crowds at the new Chicago Cubs stadium have smashed all-time Cactus League attendance records. But not everyone seemed eager at the outset to cash in on those fans and their money.

Kimco Realty, which owns the tax-subsidized Riverview shopping center across from the stadium on Dobson Road, created some bad vibes among baseball fans and Riverview Park patrons by initially banning non-customer parking at the center. At the same time, a competing center in Tempe offers free parking and game-day shuttle service.

Mesa businesses, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:32 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: business, chicago cubs, cubs, spring training

Monday, March 03, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 2/27/14 - 3/2/14

Don Coffin was originally intended to manage Kane the Undertaker.

Hey, Bill, would you agree with me that HOF voters have spent a lot of time debating Jack Morris’ candidacy to the Hall and because of that they have overlooked more qualified candidates?  I am talking about Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell or Edgar Martinez. Look, I don’t believe that Morris belongs to the HOF, but who am I? Fact is, I have read every argument on behalf of Morris while I haven’t heard the bandwagon for more legitamate candidates. And when Jim Kaat or Tommy John were in the ballot, I didn’t felt the same passion in the arguments of their supporters…

The arguments about Morris are fueled by the other side, and we can’t do anything about it if they keep pouring gasoline on the fire. They have the right to do so. Traditionalists have come to see Jack Morris as “their” guy, who is being kept out of the Hall of Fame by us people over here. We’d like the discussion to move on, yes, but what are you going to do?

In 1956, every National League team had an outfielder of historic greatness on the team, ranging from among the best ever to the merely stellar. Let me lay it out: Giants - Mays, Dodgers - Snider, Braves - Aaron, Reds - Robinson, Pirates - Clemente, Cardinals - Musial, Phillies - Ashburn, Cubs - Monte Irvin. Was this a unique occurrence (the AL that year, for example, had only 3 outfielders who had top flight careers)? Is it something that has become more difficult to sustain as the number of teams have grown?

Are you saying that Bob Cerv is not a player of historic stature? Pretty interesting. I would think it was historically unique, but. . who knows?

Hey, bill. For something I’m working on, I noticed that the rate of hit batters per game (per team) in MLB is now about 0.35—one hit batter per team every three games, roughly. As recently as 1980, it was 0.14, or one every 7 games. The last time the rate of hit batters was this high was in 1910. (Data from Baseball Reference.) Is this something we should be more worried about than we apparently are? (I’ll admit it worries me.)

I hadn’t looked at it in a few years. It’s related to the increase in strikeouts. If you’re trying to hit homers—and EVERYBODY now is trying to hit homers—one of the things you do is crowd the plate to increase your pull zone. One of the things that could (and probably should) be done to reduce homers is to move the hitters off the plate an inch or two.

Hey, Bill- Am I right to recall that you once questioned whether athletes who are represented by agents should also be able to form a union? If not, I apologize for the misattribution. But if so, I was hoping you could elaborate some on that. I applaud the work unions have done to by and large improve the work conditions for athletes, notably the MLBPA under Marvin Miller. But is this form of dual representation still a good idea? It seems like they can work at cross-purposes, in that what individual agents seek for their players can be hampered by membership in a union that includes both, e.g., Mike Trout and 12-year journeymen—and vice versa. Anyhow, I don’t have any strong views on the issue, but just note that it seems like an odd arrangement, and one that is only prevalent in sports and entertainment (SAG vs. the William Morris Agency, e.g.). Thanks.

Yes, it is my opinion that dual representation by an agent and a union is. . ..an odd situation presenting some issues about what is appropriate. I don’t know that I want to elaborate on it. MAYBE it’s appropriate; I just have some questions about it.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WashPost: New pitch would make baseball’s opener a holiday

The following question came before the American body politic Tuesday: Should Congress designate baseball’s opening day as a federal holiday?

To which fans responded: You mean it’s not?

The first day of the baseball season is already a day of mass miracles, when hundreds of thousands of invalids who call in sick at 8:30 a.m. are healed in time to be at the ballpark by the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Maybe it should be a religious holiday….

Like many great ideas, the movement to create Opening Day Day seems to have been hatched over a beer. Or rather, a beer company. Budweiser — which is now owned by a corporation in Belgium, where they play soccer, not baseball — launched a petition drive and advertising campaign using Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith as a pitchman….

 

Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: business, general

Thursday, February 20, 2014

St. Petersburg’s Kriseman, Rays’ Sternberg meet for ‘great conversation’

Hmmm…wonder if John Rocker and Mayor de Blasio will ever meet for ‘great conversation’.

Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and new St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman met Tuesday afternoon to talk baseball, their first official session since Kriseman took office.

“It was nice,’’ Sternberg said Wednesday morning at the Rays spring training site. “We had a great conversation and I’m very confident in his ability and his vision in leading the city.’‘

Sternberg said it was a productive discussion, but general in nature, with “nothing at all” decided and few specifics about the stadium situation.

...On Wednesday, Kriseman’s office issued a statement: “Mayor Kriseman and Rays leadership met on Tuesday to discuss the future of baseball in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area. Both parties agreed that such talks, based on mutual trust and respect, should remain private and not distract from what is sure to be another exciting season of Rays Baseball.’‘

Like previous Mayor Bill Foster before him, Kriseman has said he’s interested in keeping the Rays in St. Petersburg. On Wednesday, Sternberg said he is willing to discuss anything.

“Everything is an option, absolutely,’’ he said. “Our stance remains the same: that we’d like to explore opportunities that would enable the franchise to stay here for generations. And the way to get there is to find the best spot for the team and where it’s going to be for the next 50 or 70 years.’‘

Repoz Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cameron: On Craig Kimbrel and Committing to a Closer

But how likely is it that the Braves will still want to pay Kimbrel $13 million four years from now? It’s no secret that the shelf life of relief pitchers is shorter than players at other positions, and Kimbrel would hardly be the first dominant reliever to show up, dominate for a while, and then hang around as a shell of what he once was. Can we really forecast, right now, that Kimbrel will still be one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017?

...However, it must be noted that Kimbrel’s track record is far superior to the ones we’re looking at here. He’s not Gabe White, a career mediocrity who had one great year. Even guys like K-Rod or Lidge weren’t as good as Kimbrel is now. Kimbrel has further to fall than the rest, and could decline a lot while still remaining an excellent pitcher. In that way, he’s not that different from Papelbon, who is worse than he was but still quite good.

Is this a risk for the Braves? Absolutely, and I’m not entirely sure that the upside of potentially having him around for one or two extra seasons at $13 million per year is worth the extra money they guaranteed him going forward, but it should also be clear that this isn’t an obvious mistake. As much as relievers are fickle, a significant portion do sustain success for long periods of time, and Kimbrel is good enough that he can get worse and still be worth $13 million in 2017 dollars.

Like the Freeman deal, there’s an argument to be made that perhaps this deal costs Atlanta too much without providing a ton of upside, but like the Freeman deal, the Braves have ensured that they get to keep a high quality talent through his 20s without having to commit to his 30s. Every long term deal has a risk, but the Braves are taking risks on player’s prime years, and that’s a strategy I can’t argue against too strongly.

Thanks to Hip, Hip, Hippauf!.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 05:57 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, business, history

David Samson sits down with MLB.com to address the state of the franchise

Goes into a blank-faced Gale Sonderungaarded moment to channel Brattain…

MLB.com: Obviously, you rebranded in ‘12, and it didn’t go the way you wanted. You restructured in ‘13, and endured a long season. How are you rebranding, and what do you need to do to reconnect with the fan base?

Samson: I think what our fans are looking for is stability, and what they’re looking for is better performance. The good news is we have a great ballpark, and that 10-year struggle is over with. The people who come to our ballpark really do love coming here. We want to show them a better product that wins more games. That’s what we’re definitely trying to do, and we feel we’re on the upswing.

MLB.com: Regarding your homegrown players, when you’ve identified your core, how important is the next step—to do what the Braves just did and sign some of those guys to long-term deals?

Samson: It’s interesting if you look at teams and who their core is. Let’s talk about the Yankees, they had a core of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. They were only that team for a very long time. But if you look around at other teams, it’s getting more and more rare to have players spend careers on the same team. That’s just how the world of baseball is right now. So the tough part is choosing, which players you want that to be and then being right. What you don’t want to happen, if you are the Marlins or about 28 other teams, if you choose wrong, that can stop your team from winning for a sustained period of time. The key is to figure out which players you think will be the best over a long period of time. I’m happy to say we have a lot of choices right now.

What our baseball people do is they look, and they scout, including at the Major League level. They make decisions, then they come to us and say, ‘Listen, this is who we can build around. This is someone who could be a forever great player, and he will help your team win.’

MLB.com: What do you think is a realistic, sustainable payroll?

Samson: It’s hard to know what a realistic, sustainable payroll is because we have to see what revenues are. That’s what it’s based on. We’re certainly looking forward to more TV revenue. We want to win. We want to be able to have the players who can help us win. We want to be able to afford a mistake, which happens in baseball, in terms of signing a player who may not be helping you win. That’s not where we are right now, but it’s where we’re trying to get to.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: business, marlins, media

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Berri: Why Masahiro Tanaka’s Yankees Contract Is Good for Baseball

As Professor Lavoof said: “There has to be a world off the books”.

So baseball people have thought large salaries are a threat for more than 130 years.  Despite this sentiment, Major League Baseball – unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL – does not have a salary cap.  Consequently, baseball – relative to these other sports – has substantially more disparity in payroll.  In sum, there does appear to be a difference in baseball between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

At least, that is the payroll story.  Payroll disparity, though, isn’t really the issue from the perspective of the fans.  What really matters is disparity on the field. And on that count, baseball – relative to other sports – doesn’t really have a problem.

...In sum, losing talent to another league tends to worsen competitive balance.  And likewise, expanding your talent base makes it better.

Of course, all of this might still leave you thinking that the Yankees buying a winner is bad for baseball.  Perhaps the following might make you feel better:  Variation in payroll in baseball explains less than 20 percent of the variation in winning percentage. One reason why spending doesn’t match outcomes is that forecasting the future in baseball is difficult. We can look at the stats and know who was “good” or “bad” in the past, but the future – especially for pitchers – is hard to predict.  Consequently, it is hard for the richest teams to simply spend money and win.

So if you don’t like the Yankees (and I share this sentiment), do not despair.  The Yankees cannot simply buy a title.  But if the money in Major League Baseball can get more great players to come to the North America, then that is good for the game. At least, the game in North America.

Repoz Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:01 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Bleacher Report: Finding the Best Consumer Value

One of those annual comparisons of stadium prices and experiences that crops up in the sleepiest season for baseball news. 

The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are three of the most iconic teams in baseball, but given their inflated ticket prices, it’s hard to call any of them a bargain.

BDC Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Card collector accuses USPS of losing mint Mantle

Has anyone thought of checking Bob Costas’ swollen ass pocket?

Anthony Johnson is suing the agency, claiming it lost his jewelry and card collection valued at $329,000. He says the valuables were stolen in 2009 by a house guest and shipped to California.

Johnson says he alerted the Postal Service, which intercepted the goods. But the Grosse Pointe man says he’s only recovered cash that was taken, not the collection. The memorabilia include mint cards of DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron.

Johnson tells the Detroit Free Press it’s been a “three-year runaround.” The Postal Service has denied any negligence. Johnson says the collection was sent to an Atlanta postal site where it sat for months.

Today’s whereabouts? Unknown.

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 09:44 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, memorabilia

Friday, January 20, 2012

WSJ: Houston Astros Owner Mucked Up in JeffCo Bankruptcy

We release things drip by drip…and when I have my sewer bonds settlement statements ready for this year, I’ll release them!

Stuck at the unfortunate end of the debt-clogged sewer system of Jefferson County, Ala., you’ll find Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Fresh into his takeover of the Texas baseball team, Crane has been ordered by a bankruptcy judge to reveal details of his settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over $35 million worth of sewer bonds that he bought from the investment bank four years ago—a personal investment that quickly turned to, er, garbage.

Those dirty details, which are not public, are what Jefferson County attorney are seeking amid their own fight with the bank over the complicated series of dealings that, with a little help from a corruption scheme that ensnared the county’s top elected leaders, left the county swimming in a pool of toxic debt.

Ultimately, the county—Alabama’s most populous with roughly 658,000 residents—filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Crane said he got stuck with a bum deal, too, according to court documents filed in Texas state court.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Shaughnessy’s Faux Rage: I’m Not Buying It

Firebrand Joe Morgan-like.

If you heard a loud thumping noise a few minutes ago, that wasn’t your imagination.  It was me bashing my head against the desk as I was reading Dan Shaughnessy’s latest opus.  Like all Shaughnessy articles, he channels his most emotional nerves to convince us that the Red Sox ownership (or whomever his target du jour might be) is wronging us. That their “cheap” ways are depriving us of a championship that we’re entitled to experiencing.  Clearly, he does it for attention and notoriety, and perhaps we should all be immune to his shtick by now.  For some reason, I can’t let go.

...Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Jonathan Papelbon, and Heidi Watney are all gone, and we just learned that Carl Crawford had surgery on his wrist, which isn’t going to make things easier for his big bounce-back season.

I can live with all of the above – even if we won’t have J.D. Drew to kick around anymore – but I can’t stand talk about payroll limits and luxury tax obligations.

While Heidi Watney’s presence will be missed, I’m not sure how this will impact the team’s on field performance.  If anything, I think the horny old baseball writers, like Shaughnessy, will be the ones missing her most of all.

Crawford’s wrist injury probably won’t make his bounce back season any easier, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be successful.  The good news is that only the cartilege was torn in the wrist.  Had he broken a bone, the outlook on his season would’ve been much less rosy.  Recovery from such a procedure typically lasts 6-8 weeks, which would put him about 2-4 weeks behind in terms of Spring Training readiness.  He seems to be a pretty quick healer, so he could be back even sooner.  I don’t see any reason to panic until we’re given an actually reason to do so.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:01 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, red sox

Tampa Bay Rays re-sign first baseman Carlos Pena

Big time rush…to sign him!

The Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed first baseman Carlos Pena, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

Pena has seemed a good fit to return to the Rays throughout the off-season, as we’ve written and talked about repeatedly.

Pena played for the Rays from 2007-10, then moved to the Cubs last season. Agent Scott Boras told the Tampa Bay Times last week that Pena was open to a return to the Rays, where he had success and enjoyed the experience, and Pena told MLB Network Radio last week he was considering several options. He made $10-million last season with the Cubs.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:30 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Thom Brennaman says he’ll broadcast ‘multiple’ games with his HOF dad on the radio this season

RETURN OF THE BRENNAMANSTER! (flee good people…flee!)

Bren

All the Reds trades to bolster the roster sure are nice, but here’s another reason for Reds fans to smile about the upcoming season:

Thom Brennaman promises that he’ll do some games on radio this year with his father, Marty Brennaman. They didn’t do any last year.

“Yes! Write it down in your notebook! We will do multiple games,” said Thom during a “Reds Hot Stove League” commercial break with his father Tuesday at the Holy Grail downtown.

The more he talked, the more he promised.

“I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to do three or four series together on radio,” Thom said.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, business, media, reds

The Biz of Baseball: As 2012 MLB Season Approaches, Blackout Policy Likely to Remain

Adds Maury…“Pass the popcorn. The static’s on (again)”

File this one in the “broken record” department: prepare for yet another season of MLB’s blackout policy remaining in place.

The reason for the broken record? This story has been written repeatedly for years. A source at MLB said that for all practical purposes, the matter will likely not be addressed for the upcoming season.

For the uninitiated, the question is, “Why should I be concerned?” That depends on whether you are, or planning to, purchase MLB Extra Innings or subscribe to MLB.TV.

In a nutshell, there are two ways you can be hit with the “blackout blues”. National broadcast partners FOX and ESPN have exclusivity agreements in which no matter where you live, games are blacked out on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV.

...And about the national blackout policy, any chance that happens soon? In speaking with sources close to the matter, when asked if the possibility it won’t be considered until contracts are renewed with ESPN and FOX, the reply was, “Probably.”

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, television

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