SBD/March 23, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Mets Settlement Talks Seeing Little Progress

Mets' financial uncertainty likely to continue into regular season
On Long Island, Anthony Destefano reports former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's “effort to settle the $1-billion battle between the New York Mets' owners and the trustee for Bernard Madoff's victims has made little headway, making it likely the team will stay under a financial cloud well into the baseball season, if not beyond." Legal experts do not expect any “meaningful developments until after a bankruptcy court hearing on June 29 on a motion” by Mets Owners Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz to dismiss a lawsuit by Madoff trustee Irving Picard. Destefano notes until that court date, the Wilpons and Katz will “continue to struggle with the financial uncertainty that led them to put up to 25 percent of the Mets for sale” (NEWSDAY, 3/23).

WHOLE NEW WORLD: In S.F., David White reports the Giants are “on the brink of setting a spring training attendance record.” Through 14 home games, the team is averaging 9,870 fans at Scottsdale Stadium. With two home games left, “they are sure to shatter the record average of 8,162” set in '09. The Giants have “sold out six straight games and broke the previous single-game record” of 11,995 twice. Giants 1B Aubrey Huff said, “It’s pretty cool this year. Every time we go out there and stretch, there’s a thousand fans right there, screaming and cheering for you. The only time I’ve seen that is when you’re in Boston or New York.” Giants Managing General Partner Bill Neukom: “We’ve always had a good following, but it’s a little more enthusiastic this year” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/23).

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE: In Cincinnati, John Kiesewetter notes Reds coaches, players and execs on April 3 will participate in “Reds Un-Cut: Live at the Aronoff Center,” a stage show benefiting the Reds Community Fund. Some players will compete in “Family Feud” and “Name That Tune,” while others “perform comedy bits in a 90-minute Sunday night show, four hours after" the team's game against the Brewers. Prices for the show range from “a $25 balcony seat to a $200 orchestra-level seat,” and everyone who buys a ticket to the event also will receive a free ticket to the April 2 Brewers-Reds game. Reds Community Fund Exec Dir Charley Frank said that if the event is successful, it “could be produced on alternating years” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/23).

CAPITOL CONSTRUCTION: The Nationals' Mark Lerner said that neither he nor any of the franchise’s owners “have become more involved with the team’s baseball operations” since former President Stan Kasten left last fall. Lerner said that GM Mike Rizzo “has been granted authority to make baseball decisions himself.” In DC, Adam Kilgore noted Rizzo and Kasten for significant moves in the past “presented their reasoning” to the Nationals’ BOD. Rizzo and COO Andy Feffer are on the BOD, and Rizzo deals “with baseball matters” and Feffer handles “business and marketing.” Lerner: “The only thing I can compare it to is, Stan’s not in the middle now. On the major things, (Rizzo) comes in front of the board” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/21).
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