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MLB’s Vital Signs Look Strong As ’05 Regular Season Ends
Published October 3, 2005
|Adding High-Priced Talent Does Not
Lead To Playoffs For Some Teams
AROUND THE HORN: With the season coming to a close, THE DAILY presents a round-up of news from MLB franchises:
ANGELS: USA TODAY’s Jorge Ortiz writes of the Angels, “What used to be an undistinguished club forever in the shadow of [the Dodgers] has become a model franchise.” Angels P Jarrod Washburn said signing big-name free agents and having a stable coaching staff and owner “really opens players’ eyes around the league and they say, ‘Hey, looks like a place where I want to play’” (USA TODAY, 10/3). In a separate piece, Ortiz notes the city of Anaheim, which is suing the Angels over their name change, is “manifesting support for the team in message boards and banners, issuing a proclamation and encouraging employees to wear red,” though a city news release on Friday “repeatedly referred to the team” as the “Anaheim Angels” (USA TODAY, 10/3).
|City Of Anaheim Supporting Angels
Despite Pending Lawsuit
D’RAYS: In St. Petersburg, Marc Topkin reports the agreement for D’Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli to hand control of the team to General Partner Stuart Sternberg “has been finalized.” Naimoli “will retain a title and perhaps an office.” One of Sternberg’s first moves “is expected to be the dismissal of” GM Chuck LaMar (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3). Also in St. Petersburg, John Romano writes, “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this transaction. ... For the first time in years, there is a chance for reconciliation between a franchise and a community” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3). Meanwhile, the D’Rays finished last in MLB in attendance this season for the first time, drawing just 1,141,669, the third-smallest figure in club history. The D’Rays were last in the AL for the fifth straight season (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3).
GIANTS: The Giants’ final attendance of 3,181,023 was their lowest in six seasons (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/3).
MARINERS: In Seattle, Bob Finnigan reports the Mariners, despite a 69-93 record, ranked fourth in the AL in attendance with 2,725,459, or 33,648 per game, trailing only the Yankees (50,502), Angels (42,033) and Red Sox (35,167) (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/3). But also in Seattle, Larry Stone notes average attendance has fallen 10,000 per game, or nearly 25%, since ’01. Season tickets have dropped from 21,000 to 17,000 (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/3).
|Loria Declines To Discuss
Marlins’ Financial Losses
METS: The Mets’ final attendance of 2,829,929 was their largest since ’89 (Adam Rubin, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/3).
PIRATES: Pirates Managing General Partner Kevin McClatchy in a letter in newspaper ads and on the team’s Web site stated the club’s ’06 payroll will increase to the “upper $40[M] range,” and in Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic noted that would represent an increase of $11-14M. McClatchy said that the decision “was based mostly on the 15[%] rise in attendance” from 1.58 million to 1.8 million. He added that the unspent $5M from the club’s self-imposed limit of $40M this season “is being counted” toward next year. McClatchy: “Anybody who’s out there saying we intentionally tried not to spend money, quite frankly, has no idea what they’re talking about” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/2).
RANGERS: In Ft. Worth, Kathleen O’Brien reports the Rangers’ attendance this season was 2,525,221, up from 2,513,685 in ’04. However, average attendance was down because the club had 80 home dates with one double-header in ‘05 compared to 79 home dates with two double-headers last year. Rangers Owner Tom Hicks said that revenues “were up marginally,” while President Jeff Cogen added that it was “a profitable year” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/3). In Dallas, Richard Durrett notes the Rangers’ season-ticket and group-sales numbers were up in ’05. Cogen: “We lost the momentum from last season starting in July. You have to sell tickets a certain way whether the team’s winning or losing. We didn’t do a good enough job” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/3).
REDS: In Cincinnati, John Fay reported the Reds’ attendance of 1,943,157 was down 344,093 from ’04 and was the lowest since ’02, the year before the team moved into Great American Ball Park. With the “drop in attendance and [$15.2M] rise in payroll, [the Reds] are likely to lose money this year.” The team’s payroll was $61.8M at the beginning of this season, and GM Dan O’Brien said of ’06, “Early indications are it will be in the neighborhood of where we are now” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/1).
YANKEES: In N.Y., Murray Chass noted Yankees VP & Special Advisor to the General Partners Gene Michael has been “shut out of personnel and scouting matters” in favor of VP/Scouting Damon Oppenheimer. The “prevailing view” is that Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner gave Oppenheimer the assignment “because Oppenheimer wanted it and because the Tampa office, where friction has developed with Michael, believed that it could do a better job. In addition, Steinbrenner was more comfortable with his Tampa people and had grown uncomfortable with Michael” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2).