MLB News Round-Up: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Marlins, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox
The World Baseball Classic is coming back in 2013, and the United States venues were recently announced.
First-round games will be hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and games will take place both at Chase Field and their spring training home at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
The second round will take place at Marlins Park in Miami, and both the semifinals and the finals will be played at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
This will be the third straight year that the finals will be held in California. PETCO Park and Dodger Stadium were past final's venues.
Spring training homes cash in on naming rights
With all of the “newer” ballparks in the past several years, many teams were able to cash in big-time by selling the naming rights of their stadiums. Now spring training homes are cashing in by selling naming rights to their complexes, as well. The Boston Red Sox, who control their naming rights, are getting $150,000 a year for the next eight years. The Philadelphia Phillies, who are the only other team to control the naming rights to its spring training home, bring in a little more then $100,000 a year, and a third of that is pushed back to the city of Clearwater.
Now naming rights are a key part of a pending deal between the Minnesota Twins and Lee County at their spring training home. Boston's spring training home is also in Lee County, so the county may have to give up the rights because they try to treat the two teams as closely as possible.
Legal opinion could open up talks between Rays and Hillsborough County
St. Petersburg has been pretty adamant about anyone interfering with its lease between Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays. For now, it looks like it's been a deterrent to talks even starting between Hillsborough County and the Rays about potentially moving the team to downtown Tampa, but now a Hillsborough County lawyer has opined that talks are okay.
This is pretty grey, but his determination was that because Hillsborough County isn't subject to the terms of the lease, they're not bound to it, but there is an intentional-interference rule if they go from talking to causing damages to St. Petersburg. The attorney also said the talks should take place in a public forum, and the discussion should center around the Rays and their long-term goals and interests. We don't know where St. Petersburg stands on the opinion, so the next month or two will be interesting to see.
Diamondbacks looking for new stadium deal
The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't looking for a new stadium, but they are pressing for a control change of Chase Field. The team would like to see Maricopa County give up control of the ballpark to the city of Phoenix. The move would give the team more say in management of the park, and it would open things up for the Diamondbacks to hold more non-baseball events to boost revenue.
It would also allow the Diamondbacks to revisit how much rent they pay. Currently, they're playing $4 million a year for rent and maintenance. Of course, the downside for Phoenix is that they could be on the hook for renovations that are probably coming soon to the park that opened back in 1998.
Marlins attendance up, but ballpark not a big hit
The Miami Marlins are drawing almost 10,000 more fans per game than last season, but that still puts them at 18th out of the 30 MLB teams. According to Field of Schemes, it puts them on pace for 2.2 million, and that would be the worst attendance for a new ballpark since the Metrodome opened back in 1982. It'll be interesting to see if this total ends up being even worse since the Marlins have been big sellers at the deadline. And, of course, that's paid attendance, because—based on the picture in the article—not everyone who bought a ticket is going to the game.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.
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