All Star Game watched by record low
This year’s All Star Game was the least watched on record. It garnered a 7.5 rating and a 13 share and this was well down from last year's 8.9/15. It’s also down from the previous record set in 2005 when it picked up an 8.1/14. The rating represents the percentage of people watching that have televisions and the share is the percentage of people who have televisions that were on at that time.
There are plenty of reasons why the All Star Game isn’t the television draw it once was. There’s plenty to do in the summer and the fact that baseball is on every night in most places makes the game less meaningful. Growing up as a Detroit fan, the All Star Game was a big deal because it was your one chance (outside of a random Saturday game of the week) to see players from the National League and we got to watch 30-40 games a year on television. There are plenty of other reasons as well including increased competition from the hundreds of cable stations out there as well as the general attitude toward the game where it seems like some players can take it or leave it.
Rangers sale update
There are plenty of tidbits related to the pending Texas Rangers sale. Over the weekend, J.P. Morgan Chase filed their own lawsuit arguing the Hicks Sports Group made some changes that effectively transferred the Rangers' ballpark lease directly to the team without asking for the bank's required consent. In short, Chase is saying they have a lien on the lease, the sale won’t go through without a ballpark lease, and a portion of the sales proceeds that’s allocated to the lease should go directly to Chase.
In other news, Mark Cuban threw his name into the hat. The Dallas Mavericks owner said he’s considering purchasing the team or at least getting in on the auction. This is important because he could be one of the few parties to bring a bona fide offer to the table before the Aug. 4 date. Of course MLB has intimated they wouldn’t like him as an owner so he might find some stiff resistance in getting owner’s approval. There’s also the chance Cuban could get in with one of the other groups and start from there.
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Finally, the whole Aug. 4 auction is being called into question by the creditors. A judge could rule this week on whether the auction will go as scheduled. It should be an interesting next couple of weeks as the first-place Rangers head into the trade deadline without a real owner, although this doesn’t seem to be stopping them because they pulled the trigger on a big deal that landed them Cliff Lee.
McCourts’ divorce could lead to team sale
Last week, the judge presiding over the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt said that he might order the Los Angeles Dodgers to be sold if the two can’t stop bickering over payments to each other. Their trial is set for Aug. 30 and as Bill Shaikin mentions in his piece, the court could decide to liquidate the team, the very thing both parties are fighting over, just to foot the bills both McCourts are racking up.
It’s also interesting that the team is in a freefall despite being tabbed as preseason favorites by many. Payroll probably isn’t going up, so there’s probably not much help on the way.
Lew Wolff lobbies A’s fans
Lew Wolff recently released a letter to Oakland Athletics fans. In the letter, you pretty much have a state of the stadium situation although a lot of it is a plea in which he appears to give up on both Oakland and Fremont as potential sites. He mentions San Jose only in passing but he does bring up the San Francisco Giants and AT&T Park as an example of what he wants to accomplish.
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At this point in time, the A’s are in limbo. San Jose is probably their top choice but it’s going to be a tough sell with San Jose being considered part of the Giants' territory. He doesn’t mention moving out of the Bay Area, but he also doesn’t rule it out.
Minor League moves
With it being an even numbered year, you’re going to see a lot of this but the West Virginia Power extended their player development contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates through the 2014 season. They became the Pirates Single-A affiliate beginning last year.
The Minnesota Twins extended their player development contract with the New Britain Rock Cats for another two years through the 2012 season. The Rock Cats have been the Twins Double-A affiliate for the past 16 years.