SBD/June 6, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Orel Hershiser Joins Group Interested In Purchasing Dodgers

Hershiser joins Garvey's group aiming to buy Dodgers from Frank McCourt

In L.A., Jill Painter reported former Dodgers 1B Steve Garvey has added ESPN's Orel Hershiser to a prospective ownership group "with the wish of purchasing the Dodgers if the team goes on sale," renaming it the Garvey-Hershiser Group. Hershiser said, “When he called and said he wanted me to be part of this group, I said, ‘Garv, I’d always be interested in helping and doing something like this that would be a lot of fun.’ We’re forming a group that’s investigating situations as they arise” (L.A. DAILY NEWS. 6/5). Garvey yesterday confirmed that he "has no formal agreement" with Ron Burkle, two months after Garvey said that the Penguins co-Owner was part of the prospective ownership group. Garvey said that he “believes his group could finance a bid even without Burkle,” but indicated that he “has talked with the billionaire and hopes to have him on board if and when the Dodgers go up for sale” (LATIMES.com, 6/5).

CAUSE FOR CONCERN? In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb noted the report that the Phillies are one of nine teams not compliant with MLB's debt-service rules is "another sign the team could be hamstrung to add significant payroll this season.” Still, Phillies officials said that they "do not believe the issue to be serious.” In addition, an MLB source indicated that the Phillies “are not in danger of a long-term debt problem.” Gelb noted “no long-term penalties are likely to be levied on the Phillies, but short-term flexibility could be hampered” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/4). Sources said that debt service "is not an indicator -- at least not by itself -- of economic difficulties.” Moag & Co. Chair & CEO John Moag said, “You can’t just take a one-year snapshot because it can vary from year to year.” Moag also noted that team owners “often fill in financial gaps themselves” (Baltimore SUN, 6/4).

WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING: The D’Backs entered the weekend ranked 18th out of 30 MLB clubs in home attendance, and after the team "briefly took over first place" in the NL West last week, “two of the next three games attracted fewer than 18,000 fans.” Before Friday's game against the Nationals at Chase Field, the D’Backs had an average attendance of 22,879 and “have filled only 47 percent of their seats this season.” Only five teams “have done worse with vacancy.” D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson said, "This team is the reason they're not here, along with the economy and other factors. Now if we sustain what we've been doing, we can see some people come out. We have to earn that. I have no problem with that” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/3).  

SAVING UP: Padres Exec VP & GM Jed Hoyer on Friday said that the team “has budgeted accordingly" for today's MLB Draft, "in which the team has five of the top 58 picks.” Hoyer “declined to specify how much he can award in signing bonuses," but said that a “comparison with the Boston Red Sox -- who have averaged $9.43 million in bonuses the last three drafts -- was fair.” In California, Dan Hayes noted the Padres “spent only $4.3 million in signing bonuses last season.” Before Hoyer's arrival in October '09, the team “spent a franchise-record $9.1 million in signing bonuses” that year (NCTIMES.com, 6/3).

A PIRATES' LIFE: ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian noted there is "something going on in Pittsburgh right now." The Pirates hosted the Phillies this weekend, and there was a "buzz in that ballpark on Friday night." Kurkjian: "Last night they sold-out PNC Park ... and they’ve really got something going here. I think it’s because Clint Hurdle has come in and given them a face and given them a voice” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 6/5).

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