Carl Pohlad, 91, the owner of the Twins, and MLB's richest owner, took shots the the NY Yankees yesterday, sounding, as the NY Times said, "more like Steinbrenner," than Steinbrenner. Pohlad's comments come as the Twins are nearing a possible post-season matchup with the Yankees. As Pohlad said, originally in The St. Paul Pioneer Press, and republished in the NY Times:
“I’d rather play the Yankees because I know we can beat them,” Pohlad was quoted as saying yesterday in The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
When Pohlad was subsequently asked if he would derive the most enjoyment out of defeating George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, he told the newspaper, “That’s right.”
What was more surprising than Pohlad’s remarks about a team that defeated the Twins in the American League division series in 2003 and in 2004, was Steinbrenner’s reaction. He had none. For once, Steinbrenner, who is typically loud and proud while discussing or defending the Yankees, was mum.
“He’s certainly a friend of mine, so I’ll decline comment on that,” Steinbrenner said through Howard Rubenstein, his spokesman.
Chuck Armstrong, President of the Seattle Mariners, announced to season ticket holders today that General Manager Bill Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove would be returning with the Mariners next season. Hargrove has one year left on his contract, and Bavasi has been with the club since November of 2003.
As Armstrong said in his letter, "We believe they are the right people to lead us to the next level. We have great confidence in their abilities. In our view, continuity of leadership is extremely important at this time."
DIAMOND JAXX BECOME SOUTHERN LEAGUE AFFILIATE OF THE SEATTLE MARINERS
The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx and the Seattle Mariners have signed a two-year working agreement, making the Diamond Jaxx the Double-A Southern League affiliate of the Mariners. The Mariners Double-A team had previously been affiliated with the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League since 2001. Seattle becomes the third American League team to have their Double-A affiliate in the Southern League, joining the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Seattle becomes the Diamond Jaxx second parent club in the nine year history of the franchise, replacing the recently departed Chicago Cubs.
Seattle’s most recent minor league accomplishments include the Inland Empire 66ers, the Mariners High-A affiliate, winning the California League championship this past season. In 2005, the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners Triple-A affiliate advanced to the Pacific Coast League championship and their Low-A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, advanced to the Midwest League championship as well. In 2003, San Antonio and Inland Empire celebrated championship titles in the Texas League and the California League,respectively. In 2002, San Antonio won a Texas League championship. In 2001, Tacoma won the Pacific Coast League title and in 2000 the Mariners Double-A affiliate, the New Haven Ravens, won the Eastern League championship.
Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner interviews with Thom Loverro of the Washington Times.
I can't imagine ever having an emotional letdown from owning the hometown major league baseball club — the national pastime team — in the nation's capital. No. There has been absolutely no emotional letdown.
It's hard for us to imagine being really satisfied until the team is more competitive on the field and until we are in the new ballpark and can offer the fan experience we've always imagined.
We're all looking forward to the opportunity to make some adjustments to the stadium in anticipation of this ownership's first full season at RFK.
I know that everyone — owners, players, sponsors, advertisers and media partners — shares a hope that a CBA will be reached quickly and amicably. We're all quite optimistic. I think we all learned from the last agreement — which was reached without work stoppage or even a threat of work stoppage — was beneficial to the game and certainly appreciated by the fans.
The San Diego Padres announced today that they have entered into a two-year Player Development Contract with the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League through the 2008 season. Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Grady Fuson made the announcement.
"We are truly honored and excited about this opportunity to bring the Missions and the San Diego Padres together," said Fuson. "This is a major move for us in becoming part of this historic city and franchise."
San Antonio has been a member of the Texas League since the league's inception in 1888. The Padres will be the 10th affiliate of the club with the most recent being the Seattle Mariners from 2001-06. The Missions are part of The Elmore Sports Group, a leadership company that includes a total of six professional baseball teams, one of which is San Diego's Single-A Northwest League affiliate in Eugene.
"Having had an opportunity to meet with ownership, I am very excited to enter into this partnership with the Missions," said Padres CEO Sandy Alderson. "We have had a successful relationship with The Elmore Sports Group with our club in Eugene and look forward to our expanded association."
NATIONALS ANNOUNCE TWO-YEAR EXTENSION OF WORKING AGREEMENT WITH VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS OF THE NY-P LEAGUE
The Washington Nationals today announced that they have signed a two-year extension to their Player Development Contract with the Vermont Lake Monsters of the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League. Nationals President Stan Kasten made the announcement.
“We are excited to extend our working relationship with the Vermont Lake Monsters for two more years,” said Kasten. “Our franchise has enjoyed its affiliation with not only the Lake Monsters , but the City of Burlington and the New York-Penn League. With our stated commitment to player development, the future for Vermont, and for our entire minor league system, is bright.”
The Nationals franchise’s 13-year relationship with the town of Burlington—which began in 1994 (with its entry into the NY-P League) and will now extend at least through the 2008 season—is highlighted by Vermont’s 1996 NY-P League championship.
Among the Nationals’ recent crop of prospects to don the Vermont uniform are first baseman Larry Broadway (2002), outfielder Kory Casto (2003), right-handed pitcher Clint Everts (2003), left-handed pitcher Mike O’Connor (2002) and right-handed pitcher Chris Schroder (2001).
Broward County commissioners voted 8-1 very early Weds. morning to approve $24 million in funding over 20 years for the redevelopment of the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training facility. The approval of the funds means the Orioles will not be relocating their Spring Training location.
The Orioles had asked that a Hotel Tax in Broward Co. be redirected at $1 million a year for 30 years. Those funds have been used to replenish sand along Broward's beachfront.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $38 million and would involve four athletic fields, four baseball diamonds and the main stadium.
Lockhart Stadium would be torn down, which is a concern as high school games are held there. The Orioles have said that they are committed to allowing schools to use the new main stadium and fields for games.
There are concerns about the funding, however. As reported:
Several county commissioners balked at not having adequate information about the stadium deal and worried about having enough money for future county projects such as beach renourishment, a hotel at the convention center and a convention center expansion. ''I want to protect that surplus money by prioritizing,'' Commissioner Ilene Lieberman said.
Their eventual agreement came with the caveat that if surpluses run dry for beach renourishment and the convention center, the county will withhold its annual $800,000, and the team would reduce the value of its $1.2 million marketing and promotion package by that amount.
Broward's tourism bureau would receive one 30-second advertisement for every game aired on the Orioles cable network, spots on game radio broadcasts and a left-field placard at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Fort Lauderdale also would finance the stadium by issuing tax-exempt bonds for construction, which would be repaid over 30 years with the $350,000 facility-use fee the Orioles pay annually. The team would lease the facility from the city.
Final agreements still must be drawn up and approved by both the city and county.
Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post is reporting that Frank Robinson will not be back as manager of the Washington Nationals next season, marking the end of a 5-year run with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. Robinson's one-year, $650,000 contract expires at the end of the season. As reported:
A discussion between the team's top officials and Robinson could happen as soon as today (Thursday), but it almost certainly will take place by Monday, the day after the 71-year-old manager's fifth season at the helm of the franchise concludes. It is unclear whether he will be offered another position within the organization.
Robinson has not yet met with General Manager Jim Bowden or President Stan Kasten regarding his future with the organization. Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 as a player, and has managed in MLB for 16 seasons.
In a pre-game ceremony before tonight's Devil Rays vs. Red Sox game at Fenway Park, the club officially named the right field pole after, what for years has been only a nickname. The pole was officially christened the "Pesky Pole" in honor of longtime Red Sox, Johnny Pesky. Pesky, who has now been a part of the Red Sox organization for over 56 years, was honored on his birthday with the naming ceremony, and him throwing out the first pitch to Tim Wakefield. In attendance was his longtime teammate and second baseman, Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.
This is a little unusual for me," said Pesky of the attention, while sitting in the Red Sox dugout and wearing a uniform with his No. 6 on the back during batting practice. "I'm a little flattered. This is really nice."
"The guy had to work hard for what he has," Doerr said. "He's a Hall of Famer in my eyes. He's a great ambassador for baseball."
The Red Sox organization will place a plaque just before the pole on the outfield wall in foul territory at Fenway.
Mediaweek is reporting that MLB and PepsiCo are nearing a partnership deal for the playoffs and the World Series. While Pepsi has been the official carbonated drink of MLB since 1997, Frito Lay may become the official "salty snacks provider, a category previously untapped by MLB marketing honchos."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. An MLB official said there is "a significant increase in terms of overall rights" over past Pepsi deals. The first, in 1997, was a five-year pact that analysts put at $50 million; a second five-year deal, signed in 2002, was valued at $80 million.
Frito Lay previously joined Pepsi to activate MLB's all-star game retail balloting program. In 2007 they will play a more energetic role as an official MLB partner, likely to include baseball-themed marketing and packaging. The deal also means MLB joins the NFL and NHL with official Pepsi-Frito Lay tandems.
"This is a valuable category in terms of targeting consumers," said Susan Goodenow, vp-business public relations at MLB, New York. "When you think baseball, you think snacks."
The playoffs begin on October 2nd, with the World Series scheduled to start on October 21st.