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The Biz of Baseball :: Minor League News
Rangers Minor Leaguer Gonzalez Suspended 50 gms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 14 December 2007 12:59

RangersThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Texas Rangers Minor League player Julio Gonzalez has received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension will take effect at the start of the 2008 season.

This season, Gonzalez played for the Arizona Rangers (Rookie League).

(See details on all Drug Violations here on The Biz of Baseball)

Source: Major League Baseball
 


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
Fenway Sports Group Purchases Minor League Team PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 10 December 2007 13:10

Fenway Sports GroupFenway Sports Group (FSG) today announced that it is the managing partner in a new ownership group that has reached an agreement to acquire the Salem Avalanche, a minor league baseball franchise that is part of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League. Financial terms were not disclosed. The Carolina League has approved the transaction and the purchase is now subject to approval by Major League and Minor League Baseball.

FSG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park and the New England Sports Network (NESN). NESV is lead by Principal Owner John W. Henry and Chairman Tom Werner. FSG was created to diversify NESV's sports and entertainment holdings. It will operate the Salem Avalanche under FSG's division for sports property ownership - FSG Properties.

This transaction marks the second major acquisition FSG has made in professional sports this year. In February, FSG purchased 50 percent of Roush Racing, one of NASCAR's largest and most successful teams, to form Roush Fenway Racing. In 2007, Roush Fenway Racing fielded five teams in the Nextel Cup Series with two drivers, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, finishing in the top ten in the Nextel Cup standings. Edwards was also crowned 2007 Busch Series Champion.

In addition to FSG Properties, the company has divisions that specialize in representation / sponsorship sales and strategic marketing consulting/event marketing for corporations and leading sports brands. FSG clients include the Boston Red Sox, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the PGA TOUR's Deutsche Bank Championship and Boston College Athletics.

"The Salem Avalanche is a model minor league sports franchise with a rich history, having played in a region that has supported professional baseball for more than a century," said Fenway Sports Group President Mike Dee. "FSG is excited to work with Avalanche Vice President/GM John Katz and his team to build on this tradition. We share the same commitment to winning and look forward to teaming up to deliver a championship-caliber baseball club, both on and off the field, for years to come."

(Read the Biz of Baseball interview with Sam Kennedy of FSG)

Katz will join FSG's leadership team and continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the franchise which he has overseen since November, 2005. During his tenure the Avalanche achieved back-to back playoff berths for the first time in 18 years in 2006 and 2007, culminating in a trip to the Mills Cup Championship Series in 2007. The club set an all-time franchise attendance mark under his watch in 2007.

FSG's team of sports management executives will leverage their extensive experience in professional sports to provide operational, marketing and sponsorship sales support to the Avalanche's front office. FSG will work with the team to enhance the overall fan experience and further expand the Avalanche's brand throughout the region. "This day marks a major milestone in the history of the Salem Avalanche and the City of Salem," said Katz. "We look forward to leveraging FSG's extensive knowledge and operational expertise to create a championship caliber team season after season. FSG has a proven track record of winning on the field and in the community. Their know-how and network of corporate sponsors will provide a solid boost to our local and regional marketing and community outreach efforts."

An announcement concerning details of the limited partners who will join FSG in the Salem Avalanche ownership group is expected within 30 days. FSG is actively pursuing local limited partners to add to the ownership group.

This transaction marks just the second time the Avalanche has seen new ownership in the last 23 years. Kelvin Bowles, a former Major League Baseball scout and the man credited with saving baseball in the Roanoke Valley, sold the Avalanche to Atlanta-based Hardball Capital in November 2006 after having owned the team for 21 years.

The Avalanche plays its home games at Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. The 6,300-seat ballpark opened in August 1995, and has hosted more than 2.5 million fans since the stadium's inaugural game. With 12 skyboxes, a stadium club and multiple picnic areas, Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field is one of the premier facilities in the Carolina League.

Salem fielded its first professional team in 1939 and professional baseball roots in the Roanoke area date back to 1887. In recent years, the Avalanche has consistently risen in the Carolina League standings. The team posted back-to-back playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007 for the first time since the 1987 and 1988 seasons. The Avalanche has won four league titles, most recently in 2001 when they captured the championship after reaching the playoffs as a Wild Card.

The Houston Astros, which became Salem's Major League affiliate in 2003, will maintain that relationship for the 2008 season. The Avalanche have compiled a 360-334 (.519) record as an Astros affiliate.

"We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with Fenway Sports Group and believe this partnership will be beneficial to both the Avalanche and the League," said John Hopkins, President of the Carolina League. "While we regret our time with the current ownership group in Salem was brief, we have watched the franchise excel both on and off the field in recent years and we are confident we will see that success continue under FSG's leadership."

Source: Fenway Sports Group 


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
Washington Wild Things Offer Barry Bonds Contract PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 November 2007 09:43

Barry BondsThe Independent Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things have offered a contract to Barry Bonds, according to officials.  Bonds, the seven-time MVP, is the all-time Major League home run leader with 762, passing Hank Aaron (755 HR) during the 2007 season.  Bonds owns the Major League Baseball single-season records for home runs (73 in 2001), walks (232 in 2004), on-base pct. (.609 in 2004), slugging pct. (.863 in 2001), HR ratio (6.52 in 2001), and HR pct. (12.06 in 2004).  Bonds batted .276 with 28 home runs and 66 RBI in 126 games last season. Bonds sports a .298 career batting average and 1,996 RBI in 22 Major League seasons.

A move to the Wild Things’ organization would give Bonds the opportunity to return to the market where he started his Major League career.  Bonds debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, playing seven seasons in Western Pennsylvania prior to signing a contract with the San Francisco Giants in 1993. 

“Many of the great one’s eventually return to where their careers began,” said Wild Things General Manager Ross Vecchio.  “Babe Ruth began his career with the Red Sox and then finished with the Boston Braves; Willie Mays started with the New York Giants and finished his career with the Mets; and, of course, Hank Aaron began and finished his career in Milwaukee (Braves & Brewers). This contract gives Barry the opportunity to play once again in Western, PA as he continues his career.”

According to the Wild Things, Bonds’ contract offer includes a base salary as well as a number of incentives. “He will have the opportunity to meet certain bonus levels based on breaking any Frontier League single-season offensive record,” explained Vecchio.

  • Bonus Level A for hitting 36 Home Runs (record 35 by Morgan Burkhardt in 1998)
  • Bonus Level A for 101 RBI (record 100 by Pete Pirman in 2005)
  • Bonus Level A for 86 Base on Balls (record 85 by Burkhardt in 1998)

Bonus Level B for breaking single season record in any of the following categories:  batting average, games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, hit by pitch, and/or stolen bases

In addition, Bonds’ contract offer includes other considerations including a single king-sized room when the team is on road; 50% of all net proceeds of individual Barry Bonds/Wild Things merchandise; and The Wild Things will provide Bonds a host family if needed.

The Washington Wild Things, who have played in the Frontier League since 2002, are one of four professional teams (New York Yankees, Auburn (New York Penn League), and Kinston (Carolina League) and the only independent team to have advanced to post-season play the last six seasons.  The Washington team has played to over 100% capacity each season, selling out 200 of 290 games since 2002.  Seventeen former Wild Things’ players have reached affiliated baseball including pitcher David Bradley who reached “AAA” with the Oakland Athletics in 2006.

The Wild Things will open the 2008 season on May 21st.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Former Rangers Minor Leaguer Suspended 50 Games PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 30 October 2007 08:50

MiLBThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that free agent Minor League player Luther Hackman has received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. If Hackman signs with another Major League organization, the suspension will be effective at the start of the 2008 season.

Hackman finished the 2007 season with Triple-A Oklahoma, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, of the Pacific Coast League.

Hackman marks the 26th player suspended as part of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program this season.

(See details on all Drug Violations here on The Biz of Baseball)


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Minor League Umpires to Allow MLB Background Checks PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 09 September 2007 02:03

AMLUThe union that represents the umpires for the minor leagues has agreed to allow MLB to conduct background checks on its members, a move that MLB requested in the wake of the Tim Donaghy betting scandal in the NBA.

The Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU) initially declined on the request, but now seems willing to allow the checks after MLB placed the parameters of them in writing. As reported by The AP:

"The office of the commissioner explained in detail why it was proceeding with the background checks and how it would respond to information received as a result of those background checks," management lawyer Frank Coonelly said. "The AMLU asked the office of the commissioner to memorialize that discussion, and the office of the commissioner was happy to do so."

The move by the AMLU breaks an impasse of sorts. To date, it is the first union to agree with the background checks, as the unions for MLB and the World Umpires Association have yet to agree to allow the checks.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Cubs Minor Leaguer Scott Taylor Suspended 50 Games PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 08 September 2007 12:11

CubsThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Chicago Cubs Minor League player Scott Taylor has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension will be effective at the start of the 2008 season.

This season, Taylor played for Single-A Daytona of the Florida State League.

Taylor represents the 24th minor league violation this season, compared with 22 at this time last year. There have been a total of 28 drug violations across the major and minor leagues this season, compared with 27 for all of last year.

To view historical information on drug violations within MLB, and Minor League baseball, check The Biz of Baseball's Drug Violations page


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Astros Minor Leaguer Lazu Suspended 50 Games for PEDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 07 September 2007 12:23

AstrosThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Houston Astros Minor League player Carlos Lazu has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension will be effective at the start of the 2008 season.

This season, Lazu played for Greeneville of the Rookie Appalachian League.

Lazu represents the 23rd minor league player to be suspended under the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2007. When adding in MLB drug violations, the total for the entire year comes to 26.

Compared to last year at this time, there were 22 minor league violations and 2 major league violations for a total of 24.

To view historical information on drug violations within MLB, and Minor League baseball, check The Biz of Baseball's Drug Violations page


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Minor League Baseball Sets Another Attendance Record PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 09:08

MiLBMinor League Baseball enjoyed another record setting year for attendance. For the forth consecutive year, a record number passed through turnstiles of minor league ballparks. This year sees an increase in attendance of 900,000 compared to the same point last season, and that figure will rise before the end of the week. As reported by the AP:

As of Labor Day, the 175 minor league baseball clubs that charge admission attracted 42.6 million fans. The total will increase because the New York-Penn and Pioneer leagues wrap up their regular seasons Friday. The Northwest league finished Wednesday.

Ten of the 12 leagues that have ended their regular seasons enjoyed boosts at the gate from 2006. The Northwest and Pioneer leagues already have surpassed last season's totals, and the New York-Penn is on track to do so.

Below is a break down of the four consecutive attendance records in the minor leagues that have happened since 2004. The 2004 figure topped a mark that stood since 1949:

 Year
 Attendance
 2004
 39.9 million
 2005 41.3 million
 2006 41.7 million
 2007 * 42.6 million

 * As of Labor Day, 2007.

Source: The Associated Press


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 

 
RIP: Triple-A Baseball in Canada PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 03 September 2007 19:40
Ottawa LynxThere no longer in Triple-A baseball in Canada. The final game by the Ottawa Lynx played was played Monday, and with it, the team ends their tenure in Canada as they head to Allentown, PA next season.

The Lynx, a Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies lost 8-5 to the Syracuse Chiefs before a near capacity crowd. As reported by the AP:

The crowded stands were a rare occurrence for a ballclub that shattered a league attendance record in its inaugural season 14 years ago and now plays before rows of empty stands.

There was no ceremony on the field to draw attention to the somber event. Because it hasn't been officially announced yet, Ottawa baseball fans were left to mourn on their own.

The loss of the Lynx, and the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington, DC where they were renamed the Nationals, now means that the Toronto Blue Jays are the only team left in Canada above Single-A.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Brewers Minor Leaguer Jeffress Suspended 50 Games PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 30 August 2007 14:09

BrewersThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Milwaukee Brewers Minor League player Jeremy Jeffress has been suspended for 50 games, effective today, for testing positive for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Jeffress is currently with Single-A West Virginia of the South Atlantic League and represents the second Brewers minor league player to be suspended for being in violation of the drug policy this season.

Jeffress represents the 22nd minor league player to be suspended under the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2007. When adding in MLB drug violations, the total for the entire year comes to 25.

Compared to last year at this time, there were 21 minor league violations and 2 major league violations for a total of 23.

To view historical information on drug violations within MLB, and Minor League baseball, check The Biz of Baseball's Drug Violations page


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Rangers Minor Leaguer West Suspended 50 Gms for PEDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 30 August 2007 02:51

RangersThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Texas Rangers Minor League player Matthew West has been suspended for 50 games, effective today, for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

West is currently with the Arizona League Rangers (Rookie).

To view historical information on drug violations within MLB, and Minor League baseball, check The Biz of Baseball's Drug Violations page


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Portland Beavers Considering Input on New Name PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 11:41

Proposed Beavers namesFor over 100 years, the name Portland Beavers has been part of the landscape of Pacific Coast League baseball in the Pacific Northwest. Now, that is most likely about to change.

As mentioned in The Biz of Baseball interview with Beavers owner Merritt Paulson, confusion between the Portland Beavers and the Oregon State Beavers is but one reason a name change is being considered.

To that end, ownership is conducting a poll with five names being presented as strong possibilities for selection. They are:

  • Retaining Portland Beavers
  • Portland Green Sox
  • Portland Sockeyes
  • Portland Thorns
  • Portland Wet Sox

The names have some decidedly NW descriptions with them. Case in point, Portland Wet Sox:

Founded on Portland’s reputation as a rain-soaked place, Wet Sox is self-deprecating, yet it also takes a shot at the elite status of the two MLB Sox teams. Wet Sox is actually full of local pride. We bear the brunt of rain jokes like a badge of honor because we know that the rain brings our natural beauty, snow-capped mountains and the best-tasting tap water of any city in America. Only a minor league team could have a name as light-hearted and entertaining as the Wet Sox. However, the execution of Wet Sox should pay respect to professional baseball and honor its history. It should be presented straight and heroic like the tradition of the Yankees, so the name has a sophisticated wit. Executed properly, Wet Sox has both humor and a love for the game.

Remember, if you want to bring people out to the game, nothing brings them out like a name that brings to mind “rain out”. By the way… research shows that Portland has some of the driest weather in the US during baseball season. Check out where Portland lands compared to other MLB markets.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
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