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Monday, May 02, 2016

The Braves Play Taxpayers Better Than They Play Baseball

Over the last 15 years, the Braves have extracted nearly half a billion in public funds for four new homes, each bigger and more expensive than the last. The crown jewel, backed by $392 million in public funding, is a $722 million, 41,500-seat stadium for the major league club set to open next year in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. Before Cobb, the Braves built three minor league parks, working their way up the ladder from Single A to Triple A. In every case, they switched cities, pitting their new host against the old during negotiations. They showered attention on local officials unaccustomed to dealing with a big-league franchise and, in the end, left most of the cost on the public ledger. Says Joel Maxcy, a sports economist at Drexel University: “If there’s one thing the Braves know how to do, it’s how to get money out of taxpayers.”

The Atlanta Braves own most of their minor league farm system, including, along with a Double-A team, the Triple-A team in Gwinnett County, Ga.; the Single-A team in Rome, Ga.; and lower-level teams in Danville, Va., and Lake Buena Vista, Fla. It’s an unusual arrangement. Major League Baseball teams always manage their players at every level, but they usually leave the day-to-day operations of farm teams to independent owners. The Braves prefer more control. “We can create a seamless thread all the way through our system,” says Mike Plant, the team’s president of development. The teams are all named the Braves and wear near-identical uniforms. Even the “Tomahawk Chop” chant is the same from Atlanta to Rome. “We definitely extend that Braves brand through everything we do,” says Plant.

The Braves are similarly methodical about using other people’s money to build their ballparks. In 2001, for example, while trying to persuade Rome to build a $15 million, 5,105-seat stadium for the Single-A Braves, who then played 150 miles south in Macon, the Braves brought local officials to Turner Field for executive dinners and to watch games from the owner’s box. “It was hands down the highlight of my life,” then-Floyd County Manager Kevin Poe says. That November, Rome voters approved a 1¢ sales tax to pay for the stadium by a 142-vote margin.


Friday, April 08, 2016

Baseball’s warning track is useless

This is ridicules.

he warning tracks, however, that currently adorn every major league baseball field are essentially useless. (Did you see what happened to Matt Kemp on Tuesday night in Colorado? More on that in a moment.)

At Coors Field on Tuesday night, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp slammed into the wall, hurting his right knee and jaw.

We want to believe the warning track is this awesome alarm system that tells a speeding outfielder that the wall is coming up soon. But funny enough, there is no regulation size for a warning track—guess the 10-foot thing went out the window. In one stadium, you have enough room to rescue a beached whale on the track, but then you go to the next town on that same road trip and it may be too small for a guppie. So if you rely on standardization of safety features (which would make sense), you will be disappointed. Of course, if you get used to a larger track at home but find smaller ones on the road, you better get ready to call your dentist to get all green padding out of your teeth, because that one-foot shorter track is going to cost you your smile.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 08, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, stadiums

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Diamondbacks CEO: We might bolt Chase if not upgraded

I’ve had it with this type of baloney. The teams don’t need taxpayer money. Ever.

The county refused the team’s request in a letter Wednesday, saying taxpayers built the facility with $238 million in sales taxes. The letter also states the team, according to its contract with the county, is prohibited from trying to move until 2024.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2016 at 08:58 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: stadium deals, stadiums

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

City attempts to evict minor league baseball team from stadium

For all the issues the Raiders had with the city and Oakland and Alameda County, at least they were never evicted.

That’s what the High Desert Mavericks of the Class A California League are facing, with the city of Adelanto filing documents to evict the minor league baseball team from Heritage Field, The Sun News reported over the weekend.

Adelanto mayor Rich Kerr said in a release the city declared a fiscal crisis in 2013 and is ``still not in position to assume financial responsibility to pay for water, gas, electricity, landscaping and maintenance for the stadium for the next seven months to accommodate the team’s schedule.’‘

High Street Baseball LLC, which owns and operates the Mavericks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, contend the city is attempting to get out of a binding contract.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2016 at 12:37 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: high desert, minor leagues, stadiums

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

MLB should build a national stadium

I thought the Nationals already had a stadium?

All this has to make any American baseball fan think: What if our national pastime finally got a national venue?
What if a stadium was constructed somewhere in the United States to serve as the official center of baseball in America? How would it work? Where would it be built? Would it make the game even more popular than it already is? Would it create even more indelible history and hallowed ground in a game that’s been built on time-honored tradition?

Here are thoughts on how this game changer of an idea could play out:

A serious Series venue
The creation of this stadium would fit perfectly as the natural annual host to the World Series. That’s a good place to start for this idea. Establishing a neutral-field situation for the sport’s ultimate championship might be controversial, as colleague Anthony Castrovince recently pointed out in a piece examining the viability of that particular scenario, but it could work, too.

All-Star Games could be in play, too, with one advantage being that fans could plan for months, if not years, in advance to help optimize their experiences at baseball’s jewel events.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2015 at 10:36 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: stadiums, world series

Friday, November 20, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-20-2015

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 20, 1915:

That the Yankees will erect their new baseball stadium in Long Island City became almost a certainty yesterday afternoon when Capt. T.L. Huston declared that there are three sites over in Queens that appear favorable to him and Col. Ruppert, President and principal backer of the local American League club.
...
[Huston:] “There has been a lot of criticism heaped upon us for thinking of deserting Manhattan Island and locating in Queens. But we are ready to sink or swim in our investment and our ideas…With the money we can save by building elsewhere we can invest in new players for the team.”

Obviously, the House That Peckinpaugh Built never actually got built. The Yankees did eventually “desert Manhattan Island”, though that seems to have worked out fairly well for them.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 20, 2015 at 10:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, stadiums, yankees

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Jackson’s Janet Marie Smith a true baseball hero

In 2012, Smith accepted the position of senior vice president for planning and development with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a position she holds today. And once again she’s working for Kasten, president and part owner of the Dodgers. He called Smith “my best off-season acquisition.”

“I’ve worked for four teams but was hired by two people — Larry Lucchino and Stan Kasten,” she says. “Like I said, there has been a lot of luck involved.”

As the old saying goes, luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

In his book “A Nice Little Place on the North Side,” saluting the Cubs’ Wrigley Field turning 100 in 2014, author and baseball historian George Will writes, “The three most important things that have happened in baseball since the second World War was Jackie Robinson taking the field in Brooklyn in 1947, free agency arriving in 1975 and Oriole Park at Camden Yards opening in 1992 … Major League Baseball owes a debt to a willowy woman from Mississippi. To those who said, ‘You can’t turn back the clock,’ Janet Marie Smith said, ‘Well, we’ll just see about that.’ ”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 01:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: stadium renovations, stadiums

 

 

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