SBD/August 21, 2014/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: D-Backs To Spend $100M-Plus On Payroll Again In '15

D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall on Tuesday said that the team "is fully committed to another nine-figure payroll" in '15 after spending a "franchise-record" $115M this season. Hall: "It is safe to say it will be $100 million-plus. We definitely want to be close to where we were. Will we get to $115 million? I don't know. But I don't know if that is necessary." He added that the D-Backs "will lose money this season" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 8/19).

LESS FRIENDLY CONFINES? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Richard Babcock asks, "Where have all the Cub fans gone?" Cubs ticket sales "are down almost 6,500 a game" since '09, and the decline could be because fans have "in effect awakened from a beer-soaked party." Former team owner the Tribune Co. "recognized the game it was in -- entertainment -- and relentlessly promoted the pleasures of visiting Wrigley." But the Ricketts family has "returned focus to the quaint notion that you play baseball to win." That has "created a counterintuitive dynamic for the Cubs." With the franchise "getting serious about winning, the stadium is emptier" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/21).

CALLING ALL PHANATICS: In Newark, Randy Miller notes Phillies attendance is "running at a record low since the franchise moved from Veterans Stadium" in '04. Average attendance at Citizens Bank Park "is down a major-league high 6,993 per game, dropping from 37,190 in 2013 to 30,197 through Wednesday, the Phillies' lowest average" since '03. With 17 more home games, the Phillies' final average "could sink to their lowest" since '02, when they averaged 20,482 (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/21).

CAPTAIN CANADA: In Toronto, Richard Griffin wondered why Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos' job "is so secure with Rogers ownership," and listed several reasons Anthopoulos "seems to be getting the kid-glove treatment" from both ownership and the media. Anthopoulos "is visibly more respectful of Canadian fans and media" than his predecessor. He also has overseen a "surge in Blue Jays subscription interest on television, radio and every platform Rogers offers," which means ownership "is making money, even with a mediocre product." But "perhaps the most important reason" is that he was "hand-picked by club president Paul Beeston" (TORONTO STAR, 8/20).
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