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Marlins, Pierre On The Move?
RELOCATION: Two sources said that the Marlins “plan to talk with officials” in Las Vegas, Portland and Charlotte about relocating (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23). In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reports Oregon Sports Authority CEO Drew Mahalic’s organization made the first call to the Marlins on Tuesday. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said through a spokesperson that he is “aware of the Marlins’ situation and that he’s ‘going to play it by ear’” (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark: “People who know Loria continue to predict that if Vegas builds it, the Marlins will come.” Samson said the team expects to make a trip to Las Vegas within the next two weeks. Stark put the odds of the Marlins moving to Las Vegas at 2:1; Portland 25:1; New Jersey 2.9 Trillion:1; and staying in South Florida 5:1 (ESPN.com, 11/22). In Newark, Matthew Futterman reports New Jersey officials contacted Loria about the Marlins moving to the Meadowlands. NJSEA President & CEO George Zoffinger said, “We think New Jersey is a viable market for baseball. If we can keep the Giants, Jets and horse racing, build Xanadu and add baseball, we’ll really have something here” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/23).
MOVE ON? Also in Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes under the header, “Loria Not To Blame If Marlins Forced To Leave South Florida.” Loria has “spent money. He built a winner. He kept the World Series champions mostly intact these past two seasons, offered to dig deep to help fund a stadium and now becomes the third Marlins owner in eight years to reach the same distressing conclusion: Leaking money is no way to survive” (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). In N.Y., Murray Chass writes while he advocated folding Florida’s MLB teams when contraction “was the hot topic in baseball” a few years ago, the CBA now “bans contraction until at least the 2007 season, and there probably aren’t two baseball-vacant cities left in the country that could successfully support major league teams” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23). In Miami, Greg Cote writes Tuesday’s announcement “could prove to be the best thing that could happen for the sport’s long-term future here. ... The Marlins should be thankful to be rid of both the [Orange Bowl] site and the waffling, dubious, buffoon support of can’t-do Miami city officials.” The Marlins are “forced to finally consider a far more logical, preferable, centrally located site” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23).
Loria (l) Looking To Reduce Marlins' Payroll
FAULT LINES: Free agent Jeff Conine, who played with the Marlins for more than seven years, said, “I don’t blame them for seeking an alternative to make their franchise more profitable.” Beckett added, “It’s a shame they’ve got to break that team up, but it’s the worst lease in baseball” (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). In Toronto, Jeff Blair wrote the Marlins “can’t be blamed” for reducing payroll. Despite winning a World Series, the team has “not been able to convert that goodwill into a concrete plan for a new ballpark. And while the Marlins were an exciting and competitive team this past season with one of the game’s most marketable faces in [P Dontrelle] Willis, they failed to capture the imagination of south Floridians” (GLOBEANDMAIL.com 11/21). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes, “Anybody who’s surprised by the situation hasn’t been paying attention. The issue involving a stadium has been around almost since the time the Florida Marlins became the Florida Marlins, and nothing has changed” (PALM BEACH POST, 11/23).
Cards’ Group To Acquire
Stake Of Departing Owners
A graphic designer employed by the Mets has created an ad selling tickets “based on the ... acquisition” of Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez, according to Adam Rubin of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Speculation has the Mets looking to acquire Ramirez from the Red Sox this offseason, and the ad reads, “Manny’s on board: Mets on the rise.” Mets officials “acknowledged the authenticity” of the ad, but said that the designer “created it on his own and without authorization based on a potential 2006 ad concept featuring current Mets players.” Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard: “This is an internally generated concept. There should be no significance placed on the player that’s shown. It was generated by a graphic designer that has no contact with the baseball department” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/23).
Washington Baseball Club Looking
To Cash In On Powell’s DC Influence
CUBS: In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti reported the highest-priced club box seats for Cubs games next season will be $54 for “regular” games and $65 for 44 “prime” games, which include Opening Day, night games and select series. Bleacher seats will cost $30 for regular games, and will increase to $40 for prime games. The 44 prime games mark an increase of four from ’05. There will also be six lower-cost “value” games, with the highest-priced box seats costing $34 and bleacher seats $15 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/19).
TWINS: In St. Paul, Charley Walters reports the Twins next week will unveil a new alternate home jersey. The sleeveless, white jersey will feature a large “TC” on the front and is the first in team history without sleeves. The team also plans to unveil a new batting practice jersey (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/23).
PISTONS: The Pistons will reveal their new red road jerseys against the Nuggets on Wednesday. Care Choices will pass out the new jersey of G Chauncey Billups to the first 5,000 kids ages 14 and under at Wednesday’s game. The team will wear the jerseys for at least six games during the ’05-06 season, three times at home and three times on the road. In addition to the Nuggets game, the Pistons will also wear the jerseys during home games December 25 against the Spurs and February 14 against the Nets (Pistons).
CAVALIERS: The Cavaliers will unveil their first-ever secondary road uniforms when they host the T’Wolves on Saturday night at The Q. The uniform follows a typical “color flip,” but the trim and braid of the jerseys recalls the team’s ’70s uniforms. In addition to Saturday’s game, the Cavs will wear the jerseys December 23 when they host the Pacers and for five road games (Cavaliers).
CELTICS: The Celtics on Friday will unveil the team’s first-ever alternate road jersey during their game against the Bobcats at TD Banknorth Garden. The green jersey, inspired by the team’s ’46-48 uniforms, will have “Boston” emblazoned on the front rather than “Celtics,” which currently appears on home and road jerseys, and include black letters and numbers (Celtics).