SBD/Issue 34/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Blue Jays To Raise Payroll In '11 As Players
Like Bautista Become Eligible For Arbitration

In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich reports the Blue Jays' payroll "will increase for the 2011 season and could rise even more if the team is in contention next summer." The team's payroll was $78M this season, and Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said that the increase will occur "mainly because of the number of Blue Jays eligible for arbitration," including RF Jose Bautista and Ps Brandon Morrow and Shaun Marcum. Pelley added, "This team is poised to be a competitive, exciting ballclub for the next 10 years. ... If, in fact, the Jays are in contention (next summer) then ... I wouldn't be surprised if we pulled out everything to go for a championship." Pelley said that team owner Rogers Communications "will focus on marketing the team in the off-season" (TORONTO STAR, 10/28).

BOSTON FREEZE: In Boston, Thomas Grillo reported the Red Sox Tuesday announced that they are "freezing most ticket prices for 2011," and that "about 30 percent of Fenway Park tickets -- limited to certain seats in the field box, loge box and infield grandstand sections -- will see 'modest' increases." Fenway's "overall average price hike" is 2%, which is the "lowest percentage increase over the past 16 seasons -- save for 2009 when the Sox froze all ticket prices." The ballpark's "cheap seats, located far up in the center-field bleachers, remain $12 a ticket" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/27).

TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW: In Dallas, Mike Heika wrote, "I don't really know what Tom Hicks has done to deserve the ire of Stars fans." He "rode in on a white horse to rescue this team when Norman Green couldn't afford it in 1995." Hicks "took over, sank tons of money into the team and made it one of the best franchises in the Subelt." In addition to winning the '99 Stanley Cup, he "helped build American Airlines Center, he built a marvelous training facility in Frisco and he helped develop real estate around both buildings." Heika: "The Stars will have a new owner soon enough, and that guy will be a hero for a while. Just don't forget that Tom Hicks was 'that guy' for a long time with this team" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/27).

NOTHING TO CHEER ABOUT: In Toronto, Rosie DiManno writes the Oilers adding a cheerleading squad is a "pathetic attempt at juicing up a product that has hit competitive bottom." DiManno: "When all else fails -- management, coaching, trades and draft choices -- throw out some girl candy." For "hockey-come-lately jurisdictions, this might be marginally acceptable." But there "have never been hockey cheerleaders north of the 49th Parallel, mercifully." DiManno: "We are traditionalists. Hockey and pompoms isn't us" (TORONTO STAR, 10/28).

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