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You are here: Major League News Archives: Feb. 5-11, 2006

Archives: Feb. 5-11, 2006

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Archives: Feb. 5-11, 2006
Archives: Feb. 5-11, 2006 | News

Anaheim strikes out in lawsuit against Angels
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Ending a yearlong dispute that sparked regional one-upsmanship and talk-show ridicule, an Orange County jury Thursday decided that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could keep their geographically awkward name. After deliberating just over four hours in a trial that pitted the city of Anaheim against its hometown team, jurors voted 9 to 3 that the Angels did not violate five words in the stadium lease that required that the team "include the name Anaheim therein." The city had asked for damages up to $373 million it said it would lose in media exposure and tourism revenue. The jury awarded it nothing. The city also may be on the hook for as much as $10 million in legal fees -- their own and the Angels' -- if the team seeks reimbursement. An appeal is not likely, said city officials.

New for 2006: the St. Joe Blacksnakes
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The new St. Joseph, Mo. team in the independent American Association will be known as the St. Joseph Blacksnakes. The team will play at historic Phil Welch Stadium, the former home of minor-league and summer-collegiate teams, as well as a regular stop for barnstorming Negro League teams.

Spinning an alternative to Yankees
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Lowell Spinners (short season; NY-Penn League) are offering to fund youth baseball teams who want to switch team names from the Yankees to the Spinners. Not a bad move in New England, where the Yankees moniker isn't always the most popular of names. In exchange for their cooperation the Spinners are taking on the cost of replacing the uniforms and allowing the youth Spinners team to play on the field before a game this summer. The Spinners have also agreed to work with each youth baseball organization and assist them in their fundraising initiatives. More from the team's Website.

Nationals ballpark spending document released
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Major League Baseball and the District's chief financial officer began separate reviews of the D.C. Council's Washington Nationals ballpark spending cap yesterday, with the future of the project along the Anacostia River hanging in the balance. The council released the final text of the four-page emergency legislation yesterday afternoon, and copies were distributed to council members, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. A copy was sent by the administration to Major League Baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig said league officials needed more time to review the document, which caps the District's investment in the ballpark project at $611 million -- all cost overruns, except for costs related to the purchase of ballpark land, will be borne by the team's owner, the federal government or private entities. Selig said the D.C. government's handling this week of the ballpark lease agreement was frustrating and unlike anything he has witnessed -- a rather astounding statement when you consider MLB has been fairly ruthless in its pursuit of a sweetheart deal in D.C. More from Thomas Boswell and the Washington Times.

Rock Cats sign 20-year lease to stay in New Britain
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) and the City of New Britain signed a long-anticipated 20-year lease for New Britain Stadium. The Rock Cats will pay more in rent and assume maintenance costs, and in return the city will add a new scoreboard and allow the team more fireworks displays. Both sides seem pleased with the agreement.

Norfolk session pleases Marlins
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Continuing to explore relocation, Marlins president David Samson met with Norfolk businessman Will Somerindyke Jr., at Dolphins Stadium and emerged encouraged about the region's ability to help finance a ballpark. The Virginia legislature previously approved a plan in which state income taxes, state corporate taxes and sales taxes generated at a ballpark would be used to pay the debt. The city earlier approved allocating tax money on meals and hotels toward a sports facility. One major deterrent for Norfolk is its close proximity (about 200 miles) to Washington, which lured the Expos from Montreal last year, but Marlins officials say they've received permission from MLB to explore the market. More from the Palm Beach Post.

South Bend's baseball future
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The local newspaper looks at the future of pro baseball in South Bend, Ind., now that there's the likely chance the South Bend Silver Hawks (Class A; Midwest League) will be moving to Marion, Ill., in the future. There's little doubt the town and Covaleski Stadium will be without baseball for too long should the Hawks move: a group has already announced its intention to move an independent Northern League team to South Bend when the Hawks move, and we'd assume the Frontier League would be there in an instant. A wild card is the availability of another Midwest League team: we've heard one might on the lookout for a move should efforts for a new ballpark fall through.

Advice to Twins: Play ball with the taxpayers
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Pseudo-populist Nick Coleman takes issue with the Minnesota Twins and their recent lawsuit seeking to clarify the terms of their Metrodome lease, criticizing the team for seeking some political leverage. A point of background: Coleman's father was a legendary Minnesota political figure who ruled the Minnesota Legislature with an iron hand. Of all the people on this planet, Coleman should know the power of political leverage and its necessity at times, which makes this column fairly hypocritical given his family background. How dare they!

Knot whole affair
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
A meeting with the media this week revealed some new twists on the renovations this offseason to Wrigley Field. To wit: the open "knothole" space in right field won't offer a view from Sheffield Avenue during games, that the Batter's Eye Suite in center field won't be accessible to regular ticket-holders and that the reserved "bleacher box" seats in the right-field corner will be priced at $60. The knothole space will be open when the ballpark is not being used and then closed off once the game starts. However, fans inside the bleachers, walking through the area on their way to concessions, will be able to view the action through a chain-link fence.

Baseball Notes
Posted February 10, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Mike Church is returning as manager of the New Haven County Cutters (independent; Can-Am Association) for the 2006 season. Church, a Berlin, Conn. native and resident, led the Cutters to a 46-46 record, which included the Cutters' first-ever postseason appearance....John Harris is the new manager of the Coastal Bend Aviators (independent; American Association). He replaced Murray Wilson, who had previously been announced as Aviators manager for 2006....Gus Sampras is the new GM of the Long Beach Armada (independent; Golden Baseball League). The older brother of tennis star Peter Sampras, Sampras is a graduate of Long Beach State and has been involved in running tennis tournaments for IMG for the last 13 years....Brad Kullman, who was interim GM of the Cincinnati Reds up through a few days ago, was fired by the team.

D.C. ballpark lease leaves questions
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Despite some early indications that MLB officials could live with the lease for a new Washington Nationals ballpark passed yesterday, it's clear now they are withholding final judgment until they can analyze the new lease. For some reason D.C. officials had not sent a copy of the lease to the commissioner's office as of late yesterday, and there were some clauses that could cause MLB concern: for instance, Under the council's measure, any cost overruns would be paid by the Nationals' owner, federal sources or other private entities, capping the District's contribution at $611 million -- a prime goal of ballpark opponents. Even if baseball were to endorse the council's legislation and the lease becomes final, city officials face a tight timetable to finish the ballpark by March 2008, as required in the ballpark agreement; you're now realistically looking at a mid-2008 completion, with the most likely outcome a 2009 opening. The uncertainly leaves the team's front office in limbo as well. More from the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, Marc Fisher and the Baltimore Sun.

Weigel named new Northern League commissioner
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Northern League announced the appointment today of James W. (Jim) Weigel as league commissioner, effective immediately. Weigel, a 25-year veteran of major-league and minor-league baseball management, replaces Mike Stone, who had previously announced his intention to retire from baseball. Weigel was elected to the position by unanimous vote of Northern League owners. He began his career in 1971 with the Tulsa Drillers (Class AAA; American Association) and moved a year later to the San Diego Padres before serving as VP/GM of the Oklahoma City 89ers (Class AAA; American Association) and the Lansing Lugnuts (Class A; Midwest League).

Possibility of Marlins ballpark deal called remote
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
More on the memo sent by County Manager George Burgess to Miami-Dade officials outlining a handful of options that could keep the Marlins in Miami-Dade. Most are little more than long shots, with the big issue being funding. The Marlins have kept quiet about the memo, but team officials have made it clear their first preference is for keeping the team in Miami despite visits to San Antonio and Portland.

Senators unveil new logos, uniform designs
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Harrisburg Senators (Class AA; Eastern League) announced today that the team will incorporate new logos and uniform designs for the 2006 season. The new set of monikers will include a banner logo, new cap logo, and for the 2006 season only, a 20th anniversary logo. The new primary logo features a stylized "Senators" with a patriotic flag and a swooping baseball. The "H" cap design uses similar elements, in red, blue and gold in keeping with the team’s Washington Nationals affiliation. The just-replaced "Uncle Slam H" was introduced prior to the 1995 season. The Senators will wear red caps for home games and blue for road contests this season.

Angels name case Is in the hands of the jury
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The lawsuit over the renaming of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is now in the hands of the jury after both sides made their closing arguments. An attorney for Anaheim said the Angels were technically in compliance with the terms of the lease for Angel Stadium -- calling for the word "Anaheim" to be in the team name -- but was breaking the spirit of the lease; after all, "Angels of Bush League Anaheim" and "Phoenix Angels Formerly of Anaheim" also technically comply with the lease clause that requires the team to "include the name Anaheim therein." The city, which claims Anaheim has virtually disappeared from the team's name, is asking for as much as $373 million in damages over the next 23 years from lost exposure through television, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

Ballpark opening date up in air, Sounds say
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
After winning approval for a new downtown ballpark from the Metro Council, officials from the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) say they don't know if they can make a 2007 opening date. After pushing for speedy council approval so the ballpark could open next year, Sounds GM Glenn Yaeger said the Sounds couldn't get started in earnest on the project until the council signed off, and now they'll have to talk to architects and builders about "whether we can achieve the time line." There are meetings scheduled for today to discuss the issue, but given the fact there's prep work and design work that needs to be started, 2007 may be overly optimistic.

New Fenway, little by little
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The owners of the Boston Red Sox continue their extreme makeover of Fenway Park: this season with see more rooftop seats and the addition of the open-air EMC Club as the enclosed .406 Club bites the dust. With the additional seats added to the roof, which has been raised by about 10 feet, Fenway's capacity has increased from 36,298 to 38,805. By the park's 100th birthday in 2012, capacity could be up to 39,968. Speaking of Fenway:

Council awards Point Stadium contracts
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Looking to push the massive Point Stadium renovation forward, Johnstown City Council on Wednesday awarded three contracts valued at more than $3.7 million, with the total cost of renovation now approaching $11 million. A Johnstown contractor already has begun foundation work on the ballpark’s third-base side. Demolition work ended late last year, and crews will have to spend much of this year rebuilding most of the ballpark from the ground up. Point Stadium was once home to various minor-league teams; the independent Frontier League is reportedly interested in placing a team there as well.

Global affair won't become instant Classic
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Yet another article expressing great skepticism about the World Baseball Classic, scheduled to begin next month. In recent days five other stars -- the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins and Brett Myers, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, the Dodgers' Eric Gagne and the Twins' Joe Mauer -- withdrew from the tournament, and you can expect other stars to do the same over the new few weeks. Very few in baseball are actually in love with the idea of the WBC, and you can expect a lot more complaining once a major leaguer or two gets hurt when playing against South Africa or Italy.

Wrigley's winds of change
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
More on the addition of 1,800 seats to Wrigley Field. The top price for these seats is $60 -- quite a change from when the Tribune Company bought the Cubbies and bleacher seats ran a whopping $2. Early indication is that the taller bleachers will block some in-blowing breezes in both right and left field. Mark McGuire, the Cubs' executive vice president supervising the project, said he already noticed the new right-field structure had cut down some of the icy winds off Lake Michigan when he went out to inspect construction. A certainty is fewer baseballs leaving the ballpark totally and thus fewer souvenirs for the "ballhawks" on Waveland and Sheffield avenues. The new seats will bring Wrigley Field's capacity to more than 41,000 -- which makes Wrigley Field now larger than US Cellular Field.

Baseball fans could get to new park, with map, compass and guide dog
Posted February 9, 2006 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Ray McAllister isn't too impressed with the site being proposed for a new ballpark for the Richmond Braves (Class AAA; International League): he says there are no major roads leading to the site, no scenic views, and other to recommend the site other than availability. His solution: build a new ballpark at The Diamond site, the team's current home, where there is at least freeway access.

The future of Ray Winder Field under debate
Posted February 9, 2006 (fe