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MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OWNERS, ATTORNEYS NOSH AND CHAT
Published June 14, 1996
The DC Bar hosted a brown bag lunch yesterday entitled "Behind Home Plate: The Rise of Minor League Baseball in the Washington Area." Panelists included: NAPBL VP and Brand, Lowell & Ryan attorney STANLEY BRAND; MLB and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius attorney FRANK CASEY; MD Baseball Limited Partnership Chair PETER KIRK; and Prince William Cannons Owner & President ART SILBER. Washington Post Minor League Baseball Editor ROBERT FACHET moderated the event. Topics of discussion ranged from the symbiotic relationship between minor league baseball franchises and their MLB affiliates to why baseball has "insulated itself from scandal" with regard to youngsters playing pro ball directly out of high school. HIGHLIGHTS: Silber noted minor league baseball is on a "tremendous growth trend" because of new state-of-the-art facilities, a high quality of play and the realization that the game needs to be marketed as a night of "total family entertainment" -- a business with "70 shows a year." Casey reviewed principal points of negotiation for the current Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which expires in '97. He also predicted that the "continued escalation in cost of obtaining players" will be a major element in negotiations. Insisting that MLB and minor league baseball do not compete for the same fans, Kirk discussed the perceived threat to established minor league franchises presented by newly awarded or relocated MLB clubs. Noting the effect a potential Northern VA MLB club could have on minor league teams in MD and VA, Kirk said, "If I owned a Major League team, I would want as many minor league teams around me as possible." Brand noted the limited amount of franchise movement on the minor league level, stating baseball's antitrust exemption should be kept as a "necessary" means of "stabilizing" teams and "commitments" in communities (THE DAILY).