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Volume 24 No. 176

Facilities

The Islanders and NYCFC yesterday "released details of competing proposals" to redevelop the Belmont Park horse track on Long Island, according to a front-page piece by Dazio & Baumbach of NEWSDAY. The Islanders’ proposal "includes an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would host 150 events annually, as well as 435,000 square feet of space for retail, a hotel with 200 to 250 rooms, and a 10,000 square-foot 'innovation center' that would be developed with input from residents." NYCFC is "calling for a 26,000-seat open-air stadium in addition to 400,000 square-feet of space for retail, a 5.2-acre community park and a 2-acre soccer facility." Yesterday marked the "first time the teams’ ownership groups publicly released specifics about the bids." Both teams’ plans "call for opening the Long Island Rail Road’s Belmont Park station year-round." The teams would "build north of Hempstead Turnpike, adjacent to the train station." Islanders' partners "include Sterling Project Development" and Oak View Group. Both would "incorporate outlet stores into their retail components." Neither presentation "included costs or financing." Both sides agreed it "wasn't feasible" for the Islanders and NYCFC to share the site. Although the site has plenty of acreage, representatives for both teams said that "putting them at the same location would mean additional development and create more opposition." A third bidder, Long Island-based Blumenfeld Development Group, "announced last week that it was withdrawing its bid to redevelop Belmont" (NEWSDAY, 12/11).

The Rays on Friday sued Centerplate for "breach of contract in federal court," alleging the company "harmed the team’s reputation, damaged its facilities and failed to pay a fair share of revenue," according to Patty Ryan of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The lawsuit tells of inspectors and consultants "finding black mold, live insects, poor hand-washing, billing issues, reporting errors, high costs, profit-sharing failures, unusual commission statements and a 'sad history of failing to fulfill its obligations to provide ‘first class’ concession services.'" Centerplate's deal expires Dec. 31, and the lawsuit does "not specify the amount of damages sought, except to note that the amount is over $75,000, the threshold for federal jurisdiction." In a statement, Centerplate said that the suit was "without merit and will be fought in court." The Rays entered into a concession agreement with Centerplate in '98, "before the first home game" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/9). SI.com's Dan Gartland noted the suit comes four months after Tropicana Field "finished dead last" in SI's ballpark food safety rankings. In '17, Tropicana Field was "cited for a total of 241 food safety violations, including 105 critical violations, by far the worst of the 28 ballparks analyzed." Two weeks after the SI article was published, it was reported that Centerplate’s contract would "not be renewed" (SI.com 12/8). The Rays selected Levy to take over for Centerplate beginning next season (THE DAILY).

Opponents of the A's proposed ballpark in downtown Oakland had been "lining up for months," and after the talks were halted last week, it appears they "weren't waffling," according to C.W. Nevius of the Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT, who wrote under the header, "A's Own Worst Enemy In Search For New Home." Peralta Community College District last week ended talks with the club over its proposed ballpark near Lake Merritt. Jennifer Shanoski, president of a union that represents teachers in the Peralta Community College District, which controls the land, was "expressing concerns in June." Nevius: "A legitimate, serious pitch to the Peralta Community College District and Laney College, which is ground zero for the ballpark, might have been a good start" (Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT, 12/10). An EAST BAY TIMES editorial stated it is time for the A's to "recognize they’re sitting on the best location right now" for a new ballpark in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. A's President Dave Kaval "deserves great credit for trying to repair the team’s relationship with the city and its residents." Along the way, through his "words and advertising, he has insisted the team is fully committed to Oakland." The editorial: "We hope he means it because the community would like the A’s to stay." The "short-lived battle over the Peralta site was never about the team, it was about the proposed location." Kaval "wanted a ballpark close to downtown Oakland and sought a cool location, like that of the Giants, for an intimate experience." But it is "time to stop trying to imitate" the Giants and "lose the inferiority complex." Rather than "dis the location, the A’s should embrace it and seize the opportunity" (EAST BAY TIMES, 12/8).

CHANGE OF PLANS?
In S.F., Ann Killion wrote A's Exec VP/Baseball Operations Billy Beane last season "made a big show of stating that the A’s were going to hang on to their young talent and pursue stability, so that they would have a good team ready when the new ballpark opens." No one with the A’s has "publicly backtracked on that idea, but whatever ballpark plan emerges will surely stretch well beyond the mythical opening date" of '23 that had been "thrown about." That could mean that any "talented young A’s" fans start to enjoy may be "traded in another round" of roster reshuffling (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/10).