MLB Analysis: Beer Sponsorship, Cubs, Athletics and More

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MLB and Anheuser-Busch come to an agreement

This has been a recurring story for me the last couple of weeks but it has now come to an end as MLB and Anheuser-Busch have finalized a sponsorship agreement. Things got dicey because MLB and Anheuser-Busch appeared to be on the same page before the beverage company threw a bunch of money at the NFL. This caused MLB to take a step back; Anheuser-Busch eventually filed a breach of contract law suit.

The terms of the deal weren’t announced but, for now, Anheuser-Busch will remain as the official beer sponsor of MLB as well as 26 of the 30 major league teams. This one would have been interesting had it gone to trial and probably would have put mud in the face of both parties, so I’m not surprised they were able to resolve things.

Mesa business want piece of Cubs spring training stadium pie

The city of Mesa is building a new spring training home for the Chicago Cubs and, while the city wants to make sure that the facility is built as inexpensively as possible, local businesses want to make sure they get a piece of the action. Right now, the city is picking out a design team and the decision on a general contractor will be decided in the near future.

This brings up an interesting dilemma for cities doing such major projects. With municipalities strapped for cash, do they go with the lowest cost provider regardless of where they’re located? Or do you pick a local business, knowing they’re a part of your tax base and that you might get some of that money back? Both can be politically popular to the right group so finding out where the middle ground is can be tricky.

Oakland not giving up on Athletics?

Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff has pretty much slammed the door on Oakland with regard to the Athletics staying in the city, but that’s not stopping an effort to try to keep the team. Just before Christmas, the Oakland City Council voted to spend an amount that won’t exceed $750,000 on an environmental study for a new ballpark. They’re looking at a site southeast of Jack London Square, and the funds will come from a parking garage project.

It appears the city is betting that the Athletics are just posturing when they say Oakland is no longer a viable option. There were some interesting quotes in the story from an opposing councilmen who feels it’s foolhardy to spend money on a ballpark for a team that’s going to move anyway.

Al Land Field Hosts International Baseball

This spring, Al Lang Field will host baseball for the first time since the Tampa Bay Rays moved their spring training home to Port Charlotte after the 2008 spring season. Canada, The Netherlands and South Korea will all play there in the middle of the spring training schedule and the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies as well as a few local colleges will all make a stop a there as well; 13 games are on the slate.

Of course Al Lang Field is one of the sites the Rays are looking at to build their new ballpark. For now, this will give local fans a nice taste of spring baseball that they’ve missed the past couple of years.

Former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff passes away

Former Arlington, TX mayor Tom Vandergriff passed away just before the New Year. Vandergriff’s claim to fame was the fact that he lured the then Washington Senators away from the nation’s capital and brought them to Texas back in 1972. Vandergriff was elected mayor at the young age of 25 and he left office in 1977, when he served as a Texas representative.

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.

Read more great baseball stuff at The Hardball Times.


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