The Lee County (Fla.) Commission yesterday approved a stadium deal for the Twins' Spring Training facility, and by shifting $5.4M in "stadium expenses to the general fund -- which primarily collects revenue from property taxes -- the county will have enough to repay the $91 million debt for stadium improvements over 30 years," according to Thomas Himes of the Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS. The Twins' lease agreement "doesn’t expire for eight more years, but when the county borrowed more than $141 million for a new stadium for the Red Sox in 2010, the Twins sought a more profitable deal." A new housing facility for ballplayers "makes up $7.2 million of the $42.5 million in upfront construction costs commissioners approved." The county will "pay for a theater, kitchen, dining hall, laundry room, classrooms and other recreational facilities for young players the team puts up in nearby hotel rooms for about five months of the year." The Twins will "pick up $3.9 million to build 55 sleeping rooms in the $11 million housing complex." The contract states that they also will "increase their rent by an average of $239,000 a year -- up from $300,000." Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann said that the expenses "are justified, because when the Twins or its minor league team isn’t using the venue, the county hosts other events" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 11/7). In Minneapolis, Joe Christensen noted Hammond Stadium’s seating capacity "will increase from 8,000 to 9,300, with wider concourses, renovated concession stands and restrooms, a 360-degree walkway for fans around the field, and more shaded areas." The outfield wall will "be re-designed with the same dimensions the Twins have at Target Field." The facility also will get "an additional practice field, a new weight room on the major league side of the complex and add a hydrotherapy area" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 11/6).
Several pieces of “what appeared to be black tarp continually kept falling down to Sleep Train Arena's midcourt area” during the Warriors-Kings game Monday night, according to Kelly Dwyer of YAHOO SPORTS. Kings coach Keith Smart was the one to "first spot the tarp.” The falling tarps appeared to be “either a part of that evening's ‘Blackout’ promotion, or a reaction to failing advertising fortunes.” One tarp “covered huge gobs of the arena in black.” The tarps that fell were “apparently in place to cover four different massive ad banners that hung from the scoreboard above midcourt.” Dwyer noted the Kings have been “hurting for revenue for years, so it's not clear why they would cover the multi-colored signs for Monday's promotion.” The tarps also “may have something to do with the 'Medieval Times'-styled halftime show” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/6). The AP’s Antonio Gonzalez noted in “separate second-half incidents, three more pieces of plastic fell down from the scoreboard hanging above center court.” Some fans chanted “New Arena!” (AP, 11/6). Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor said of the falling tarp, "How embarrassing is that for the NBA? Is David Stern making a phone call immediately to the people who run the Kings and saying, ‘Get it together?’” CSNBayArea.com's Andy Dolich said, “I'm sure he made that phone call earlier today. There is a deal on the table to keep that team there for a long time, and it actually has the city paying more money than most cities are paying. ... If they commit to Sacramento, they'll get their fan base back to what it was ... (which has been) as loyal a fan base as there has been in the NBA for a long time.” Kozimor added, “But that's just an ugly scene right there. That's amateur hour” ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 11/6).
The Univ. of Michigan men's lacrosse game on March 17 against Colgate Univ. at Citi Field shows “some outside the box thinking," according to Corey McLaughlin of LAXMAGAZINE.com. Citi Field since its ’09 opening, in addition to Mets games, has “hosted Paul McCartney and Dave Matthews Band concerts and an Ecuador vs. Greece soccer match.” McLaughlin wrote, “But never lacrosse.” A Michigan spokesperson said that the university has "a very close relationship with the Wilpon family, which owns the Mets.” Mets Owner Fred Wilpon is “a 1958 Michigan graduate and the Wolverines' baseball complex in Ann Arbor dons the Wilpon name.” The game “will surely draw some of the Long Island crowd and spectators from throughout the tri-state area.” Michigan also has “one of the largest alumni bases in the country, a good chunk in New York” (LAXMAGAZINE.com, 11/6).