SBD/Issue 85/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Mets Seeking Legal Advice
Regarding Beltran's Surgery
In N.Y., Waldstein & Schmidt cite a source as saying that the Mets contacted MLB "seeking legal advice" regarding CF Carlos Beltran's recent surgery, which the team claims was "done without their permission." The league informed the Mets that they could either "attempt to withhold pay" from Beltran for the time he spends recuperating or the team can "take a more difficult path and try to void" the remaining two years and $37M on his contract. The "most likely course is that the Mets will attempt to do neither and hope Beltran comes back healthy" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/15). Also in N.Y., Botte & Mccarron write, "Welcome to the Mets' latest injury fiasco and PR disaster" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/15). FanHouse.com's Jay Mariotti: "This is a reflection of the disarray of Mets management" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/14).

READY FOR SOME FUTBOL: In Philadelphia, Jeff Gammage notes the crowd at Thursday's MLS SuperDraft at the city's Convention Center was "standing-room-only, with dozens more fans watching on monitors set up on the concourse." The expansion Philadelphia Union had "at least 200 Union supporters who rocked the ballroom," and team CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said, "Another landmark day to building the team. Philly has gone from zero to a hundred miles per hour in the soccer world." Sakiewicz earlier this week noted that team has "sold about 9,000 season tickets" at their 18,500-seat Chester stadium, and the "highest-priced sideline seats are sold out" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/15).

WHERE'S THE LOVE? In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen notes the Bobcats are 14-4 at Time Warner Cable Arena this season, but there were only about 7,500 fans in attendance Tuesday night for the team's "thrilling comeback victory" over the Rockets. The Bobcats are "tough to ignore," putting out an "entertaining, sound and solid" product. They have a "tremendous opportunity to upgrade their profile this weekend" with home games against the Spurs and Suns. The Bobcats through Thursday have won five consecutive home games, and it will be "interesting to see what we talk about if they somehow make it seven" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/15).

MATCH FIT? In London, Wallace & Fleming report Serie A club Cagliari Owner Massimo Cellino has been "identified as one of the frontrunners" to buy EPL club West Ham United, but he will "have to pass the league's 'fit and proper person test' if he is to be allowed" to buy the franchise. Cellino and his sister Lucina from '96-'00 "fought a high-profile case against charges that they defrauded the European Union over a contract to ship grain to developing countries." The case effectively ended in a plea bargain, but the "complex nature of the trial's conclusion would mean that the Premier League would have to seek legal advice to decide whether Cellino" should be allowed to acquire West Ham (London INDEPENDENT, 1/15).

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