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The Biz of Baseball :: Minor League News
Minor League Attendance Nearly Flat Compared to Last Year PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 19:23

Minor League Baseball attracted more than 7.7 million fans in June to go over the 20.5 million mark for the season. The 176 clubs that charge admission reduced the difference in the average crowd compared to last year from 30 fewer patrons an opening through May down to only 19 through last month. The industry's 3,986 average gathering is a mere 0.5 percent below the 4,005 average through June, 2008.

"For Minor League Baseball to see the 2009 attendance flat compared to last year at this point is a testament to the tremendous work of our teams, our executives and, most importantly, the loyalty of our fans," said Minor League Baseball president, Pat O'Conner (see The Biz of Baseball interview from 2008 with O'Conner). "To see the fans enjoying Minor League Baseball at near record numbers in this economy speaks volumes about our product and its place in our country."

A total of 20,509,974 fans attended the 5,145 openings through June. Last year's figure of 22,722,519 during the same period was accumulated with 529 more openings.

The International League Columbus Clippers led Minor League Baseball with an average of 9,341 fans a game. The Sacramento River Cats (8,986), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (8,843), Round Rock Express (8,760) and Dayton Dragons (8,562) round out the top five drawing full-season clubs, based on average.

The Frisco RoughRiders (8,374), Corpus Christi Hooks (6,320) and Reading Phillies (6,131) are the top three Double-A clubs.

The Dragons are in their familiar spot atop Class-A, followed by the Greensboro Grasshoppers (5,978) and Lakewood BlueClaws (5,784). The Brooklyn Cyclones led all short-season clubs with their 8,654 average.

Eight of the 15 leagues averaged more fans per opening than they did in 2008 through June, led by the Pioneer League's 18 percent hike. Other leagues that showed improvement are the Florida State (10.7), New York-Penn (8.0), California (5.9), Eastern (4.0), International (3.6), Midwest (2.5) and Northwest (0.5).

Source: Minor League Baseball


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Construction at Dash Stadium Delayed PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Monday, 06 July 2009 10:47

Dash StadiumLast month when city officials rushed to approve a $15.7 million assistance package to help construct the new Winston-Salem Dash downtown stadium; it was in large part help secure the loans that would complete the project.  The loans that were taken out by the team are now at risk.

City officials have now delayed a vote by the state agency that must approve the city’s own loan.  According the Winston-Salem Journal, the city is borrowing the money that will be turned over to Winston-Salem Dash owner Billy Prim, who will then repay back the loan over the course of 25 years.  The Local Government Commission is scheduled to meet next week but the Winston-Salem Dash loan request in currently not on the commission’s agenda.  According to City Manager Lee Garrity, city officials did not ask the commission to put the stadium request on the July agenda because they are still negotiating the terms of the city's loan with BB&T.  "We just want to make sure we get the best interest rate for the city," Garrity said.

Mayor Allen Joines whose appointment to commission expired on Tuesday said that the closing documents for the city loan have not been completed.  "When you go to the Local Government Commission, you lay out the rate, the term, fees -- things like that," Joines said. He said that Denise Bell, the city's chief finance officer, was still completing those terms.

The city’s financial involvement has become an issue for the city and the money that it is costing them.  Approximately 200 people showed up at the last two hearings and at present date, the city has lent nearly $12 million to help build the stadium. Dash owner Billy Prim has said that his hope was that construction would begin by the end of June, but the loan had to go through for that to happen.  When council did approve the additional financing, several caveats came along with deal; the stadium would be free to its residents for two events a year and the city would get a percentage of the profits of an office building that is to be built behind the stadium.  Because the city had to borrow the money that it would lend to the developers, the Local Government Commission had to approve it.

Prim’s desire to have the loans approved in a quick fashion is because the banks that are lending the money had put a time limit on their loan offers.  Joines has said that those time limits were placed on the loan that Prim and his developers had taken out, not the one on the city, and the banks that were lending Prim the money, would not have likely given Prim and his associates the loan without the city’s generous contribution.  Without the city’s additional involvement, it can put the initial $12 million loan at risk. It is still a possibility that the Local Commission could hold a “special meeting” in July to reconsider the option.

Heather Franco, the deputy director of communications for the state treasurer's office, said that members of the commission typically stay on until their replacement has been found.  Joines said that if the Winston-Salem issue presented itself while he was on board, he would remove himself from the vote.

Construction has been delayed for months and cannot begin without the city’s assistance.  This new stadium for the Dash, who are the single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, is on track to cost $40.7 million and hold approximately 5,500 fixed seats.


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.

He is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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2009 Seeing Dramatic Increase in Minor League PED Suspensions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 20 June 2009 08:26

PEDs in baseballPlayers suspended as part of baseball’s minor league drug policy are up dramatically in 2009 compared to the same time period in 2008. With Friday’s 50 game suspensions of two Tampa Bay Rays Minor League players, outfielder Franklin Alcala and pitcher Carlos Orasma, the total is now 18, compared to 7 at this time in 2008, an increase of 157 percent.

(See the complete history of PED suspensions in both major and minor league baseball)

The addition of Alcala and Orasma is significant in that they were both members of Tampa Bay’s Venezuelan Summer League team. With regular reporting of both VSL and Dominican Summer League suspensions last season, baseball saw the most significant increase in minor league drug suspensions since first being implemented (see Prepare for an Onslaught of Minor League PED Suspensions and associated graph). As reported:

From the end of the All-Star break  to the end of 2008, 49 minor league suspensions from the DSL and VSL were announced, a staggering 74 percent of the total. The lion’s share came from the DSL where there were 43 suspensions compared to only 6 suspensions from the VSL. From the All-Star break to the end of 2008, only 10 suspensions for players stateside in the minors were announced.

Given the sharp increase in suspensions at this point in the season, odds are that 2009 will easily surpass 2008’s total of 66 at the minor league level. It should be noted that in 2007, a total of 29 players were suspended for being in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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In Effort to Lure MLS to Portland, Stadium Plans for AAA Beavers Dropped PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 19 June 2009 16:22

Beavers

UPDATE: OregonLive.com (The Oregonian) gets the major league point of view:

"I certainly hope baseball stays in Portland. I like the affiliation a great deal," said Kevin Towers, general manager of the San Diego Padres, the parent club of the Triple-A Portland Beavers. "There's nothing that says we have to be downtown, but I like the Portland area."

The Oregonian also notes that city officials in Vancouver, WA have been contacted about a possible relocation in the Portland area, and have been receptive. Beaverton, OR, which is west of Portland seems chilly to any possible stadium funding discussion.


Future of Beavers Remaining in Portland Area in Doubt

With Major League Soccer saying that expansion into the Portland market can only come by way of a soccer-only facility, AAA Beavers owner Merritt Paulson (see The Biz of Baseball interview with Paulson from 2007) has been working with Portland mayor Sam Adams, and commissioner Randy Leonard for funding to renovate PGE Park to soccer-only, while also seeking funds for a new minor league baseball stadium in Portland. The funding for the stadium renovation has been well within reach, but attempts to the minor league ballpark, first in the Rose Quarter area at the current Memorial Coliseum, and then in the Lents neighborhood of the city has run into stiff opposition. The cost of the stadium at the Lents location has been projected at $48 million.

Today, Paulson, who would own the expansion MLS franchise, dropped his attempt to gain funding for the baseball stadium. The Beavers would play one last season at PGE Park, with the future of professional baseball in the Portland at an end, and questions as to whether a stadium could be built in suburban locations such as Beaverton, or Vancouver, WA up in the air. Paulson sent the following letter to Mayor Adams and the city commissioners:

Nearly one year ago when we announced our desire to bring Major League Soccer to Portland at PGE Park and to build a new and better home for Beavers baseball in Portland , we made it clear that for the plan to succeed it needed to enjoy support from both city leaders and Portland residents. After all, professional soccer and baseball should bring people together, not only to strengthen our economy but to strengthen our community as well. Since announcing our plan we have been gratified by the broad-based support our plan has received from so many; sports fans, business leaders, neighborhood leaders, organized labor and elected officials from Portland and across the state.

While the city council has voted to support bringing MLS to Portland at PGE Park , securing a location and funding plan for a new Triple-A stadium in Portland has been difficult. The Portland Beavers are a Portland tradition – with more than 100 years of history in this community. The recent challenges notwithstanding, Beavers baseball enjoys a strong following in this community, and in no way does the lack of public consensus about a new stadium for the Beavers reflect a lack of fan, sponsor and public support for Triple-A baseball.

Now, with the September 1 deadline to secure a funding plan to ready PGE Park for Major League Soccer fast approaching, it is critical that we reach an agreement to fund PGE Park improvements or risk losing the unique opportunity to bring MLS to Portland altogether. For this reason, and a lack of community support for a new Triple-A stadium in Lents, I am withdrawing our proposal for a Lents baseball stadium. I am grateful for the time and serious consideration the neighborhood leaders, city staff, elected officials and Lents residents have given this proposal the past few months, but it is now clear that the community-at-large has not embraced this idea.

Our immediate task ahead is to complete our agreement to bring MLS to Portland so we may begin play at PGE Park in 2011. As for the future of the Portland Beavers, I am committed to doing everything possible to keep in the Beavers in Portland or the Portland area. And I intend to work with area business, sports, government and community leaders to make that happen.

The economic, social and community good that will come from MLS and better Beavers baseball in our community is worth fighting for. Change is never easy, particularly during challenging times. But working together, I am confident we can seize this opportunity and overcome the challenges that remain to turning this idea into a reality for the people of our city, region and state.

Look for updates on this story as they become available.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Clearwater Threshers to Cancel Bobblehead Nights Over MLB Promo Rules PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Sunday, 14 June 2009 13:52
Thresher BobbleheadsThe Tampa Bay Rays are forcing the Clearwater Threshers, the minor-league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, to cancel their most recent promotion of bobbleheads, as the Rays are saying that the promotion is violating MLB’s marketing rules.

The Threshers were planning to give away nine different bobbleheads, which paid tribute to the starting nine of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies. According to the St. Petersburg Times, when the Rays heard about the promotion they contacted high-level MLB officials. The promotion was then cancelled costing the Threshers a loss of approximately $50,000, placing the club under financial duress and removing a fan favorite from the schedule.

“It's disappointing to us, and it's disappointing to our fans," Threshers general manager John Timberlake said.”We were in violation of the agreement, and we didn't realize it."

MLB rules state that the Rays have exclusive rights to their home territory and the Threshers are in violation of the Major League Baseball Agency Agreement that, in this instance, prohibits the promotion of the Phillies brand within the home television territory of the Tampa Bay Rays. These same rules would prohibit the Dunedin Blue Jays and the Tampa Yankees. Rays Vice-President of Communications Rick Vaughan had this to say, "The Phillies organization recognized they were in violation of Major League Baseball's territorial rights guidelines and canceled the promotion, we appreciate their attention to this matter."

Clearwater has had two promotions and had planned their third giveaway, that of former Phillie and current Ray, Pat Burrell, which has since been cancelled. Fans are likely to be reimbursed for their purchases, but now have approximately 8,000 in stock, each priced at round $3.50. They also have the $25,000 of sponsorship money that has now exchanged hands. Timberlake is taking the situation in stride and plans to have some fun with it. At present time, there has been talk of an “Adherence to the Rules Night”, "We'll give out gray molds of bobbleheads and we'll all wear white shirts with our Phillies logos covered up."


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Phillies Minor Leaguer Ozuna suspended 50 gms for Elevated Testosterone/Epitestosterone Ratio PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 17:15

PEDsThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Philadelphia Phillies Minor League infielder Pablo Ozuna has received a 50-game suspension after showing an elevated Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio, a performance-enhancing substance violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Ozuna's suspension based upon elevated levels of Testosterone/Epitestosterone is a first at the minor league level this year. All other suspensions are for outright positive tests for a listed PED, substance of abuse, or for amphetimines, which is considered a performance-enhanciing drug

The suspension of Ozuna is effective immediately. Ozuna is currently a member of Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the International League.

Ozuna is the fifteenth minor league player suspended this season compared to seven last season at this time. When adding in players suspended under the Major League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the total number of players suspended in 2009 is 19.

See The Biz of Baseball's MLB and Minor League Drug Violations tracker, which details every drug suspension in baseball.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Winston-Salem Dash Ballpark to Open In 2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Saturday, 30 May 2009 23:34

Winston Salem StadiumThe last couple of years have been filled with change for the Winston-Salem Dash. The first being their name-change from the Winston-Salem Warthogs to the Dash and the second being the announcement of their new stadium. The new name and logo was an exciting time for the team and the community. Late last year, the Mayor, Allen Joines, team owner Billy Prim and President Kevin Terry were three of the many in attendance on that day to make the announcement. "This was an exciting process, but nothing compares to actually making the announcement and introducing our name," said Terry. "We reviewed logos for all of the finalists, looked at any conflicts with other team names and evaluated the suggestions and reasoning from the community. At the end of the day, Dash is a name that is associated with the community - it brings Winston-Salem together - the logo is unique, compelling and provides a lot of opportunity for integration in our game entertainment and fan participation."

The Dash have also announced plans for a new stadium and were hoping to have a new home for the 2010 season. The plan for the 2009 season was to play the majority of their home games at the Wake Forest Baseball Park and play of portion of the season at the new park. Plans have changed, with the team playing their remaining schedule at Wake Forest and will begin next year at their new home. According to MSNBC, in a letter by team President Terry, the team has made the necessary decision to not try and play games at the new stadium in 2009. “We have continued to hope and work towards opening the ballpark this season, but feel at this point that the best interest of our fans and the project for this year beyond will be served by focusing on opening the new park in 2010 and providing the best family entertainment option we can at Wake Forest this year,” said Dash Owner Billy Prim. Fans that have purchased ticket packages for the new ballpark will not have to repay for them. Instead, the Dash have created a seven-game package with prices as low as $56 for fans attending games at the Wake Forest. In addition, season tickets holders will have the option of taking advantage of the above-mentioned promotion and will not lose their place on the teams’ priority list for the new park.

Financially, the city of Winston-Salem has spent nearly $12 million in taxpayers money to help pay for the stadium that will seat 5,500 and when all is said and done, will cost a total of $38 million. In a recent article in the Winston-Salem Journal, it notes that city officials have borrowed approximately $5.5 million of that $12 million, in turn costing the taxpayers an additional $3.1 million in interest at the back end of the 20-year loan. The team’s contract with the city states that the stadium must be completed by March of 2010.


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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May 1: Durham Bulls to Host Autism Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 01 May 2009 17:20

 

Durham Bulls

 

Dovetailing off of the Business of Sports Network's Autism Awareness Challenge yesterday (see details here), is this news courtesy of Bugs and Cranks' David Chalk. - Maury Brown

The Durham Bulls have teamed up with the North Carolina Autism Society to help create public knowledge and increase the understanding of the autism spectrum by holding Autism Day on May 1 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

"The event is great for us because it helps increase awareness in ways that we couldn't do otherwise," said Dave Laxpon, director of communications for the Society. "People recognize the Bulls and know who the Bulls are. Whenever you associate with an organization that has that kind of name recognition, people pay attention."

This year marks the second year for the event, and organizers hope it will be even more successful than last year.

"Last season, I wanted to do something to give back," said Bryan Wilson, director of merchandising for the Bulls, and father of an autistic child. "It might make one person who didn't think about it before they get their child tested and that makes it worth it."

Highlighting Autism Day is one of the team's monthly jersey auctions. The Bulls will wear a special jersey for the game, then fans can place their bids on the jerseys on Durhambulls.com. The team will also be selling special youth hats and jerseys that night.

'47, the company that makes the Bulls fashion hats and clothing, will be sponsoring the event, which means more money can go directly to the Autism Society.

Laxpon said the money raised is a nice bonus, but the real value comes in getting the word out.

"This helps increase awareness in ways that we couldn't do otherwise," Laxpon said. "Last year, more people came to our Web site and fans that we talked with at the game had lots of questions and we were able to provide support and opportunities for them."

Wilson said his son was diagnosed with autism two years ago at age three.

Source: Durham Bulls

Please support autism awareness daily. For information how, contact Maury Brown with the Business of Sports Network for details.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Brewers Minor Leaguer Lambertus Suspended 50 Gms for PEDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 01 May 2009 01:50

BrewersThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Thursday that Milwaukee Brewers Minor League pitcher Pedro Lambertus has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for metabolites of Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Lambertus is effective immediately. Lambertus is currently a member of Single-A Wisconsin of the Midwest League.

As of May 1, there have now been 11 minor league suspensions, nearly double the number at this time last year when there were 6. In total, the 11 players account for 605 games being served under suspension at this moment in the minors. Below is a list of all 11. To see complete details on each of these players, plus details on every drug suspension ever doled out at the major, and minor league level, see The Biz of Baseball's Drug Violations page

# Date  Player Name
Substance Club
Length
1 1/16/09 Cristopher De La Rosa Stanozolol Red Sox 50 gms
2 1/16/09 Junior Guerra Nandrolone Mets 50 gms
3 1/28/09
Kyle Suire
Stanozolol Mets 50 gms
4 2/3/09
Pascual Arias
Stanozolol Marlins 50 gms
5 2/14/09Jarrod Dyson Amphetamine Royals50 gms
 6 3/17/09Rob Flanigan Nandrolone Giants50 gms
7 4/09/09Deryk HookerDrug of AbuseCardinals
50 gms
84/17/09Joseph Billick
Stanozolol
Royals
50 gms
94/17/09Juan RiveraNandrolone
Royals50 gms
104/24/09
Henry Sanchez
Drug of AbuseTwins
50 gms
11
4/30/09
Pedro LambertusBoldenone
Brewers
50 gms

Source: Major League Baseball


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Former Minor Leaguer Flanigan Suspended 50 gms for PEDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 20:34

PEDs in BaseballThe Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that former Minor League player Rob Flanigan, who had been a member of the San Francisco Giants organization, has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for metabolites of Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Flanigan will be effective immediately contingent upon his return to a Major League organization. Most recently, Flanigan, who had been a designated hitter, played for the Arizona League (Rookie) Giants.

Flanigan represents the 6th minor league suspension of 2009 and the 8th overall.

Source: Major League Baseball

(See the complete historical record of drug violations in Major and Minor League baseball)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Tigers Extend Working Agreement with Triple-A Toledo PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 09:49

TigersThe Detroit Tigers announced today the club has extended its working agreement with Triple-A Toledo for two years, extending the agreement through the 2012 season.

The Tigers Triple A affiliate since the 1987 season, Toledo won the International League championship in both 2005 and 2006.  Additionally, the Mud Hens captured the league’s West Division crown in both 2002 and 2007.

Source: Detroit Tigers

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Business of Sports Network – Focus On MLS Expansion


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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"Straps" Could be Latest Promo Craze for MLB, Minors PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 09:49

Last year, we wrote of the on-coming invasion of promotional products from Japan that could be making their way to minor league and major league events near you. The products, through Sharp Sangyo Co., Ltd, a company that started manufacturing and selling commemorative gifts for Japan’s National High School Baseball Tournament in the mid-1960s and is now the leading manufacturer and seller of sporting goods and souvenirs in the country, showed unique ideas for promos that break from the norm here Stateside. As we embark on the 2009 season, Sharp Shangyo has released what could be their breakthrough product in the U.S.: Straps.

“Straps” can be added to a keychain, backpack… you name it. They come adorned with a small plastic figurine reminiscent of those Lego figurines that you’re still finding parts of underneath your kid’s bed. These, however, are not designed to be disassembled.

We’re still trying to figure out what the numbered stickers are for, although the assumption is they allow you to place the uniform number for your favorite player on them.

Questions remain... Will the Randy Johnson strap be too tall for your pocket? Will the Bobby Jenks strap elicit comments like, "Is that a strap in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" The possibilities may be endless.

Will these products supplant the bobblehead as the next big thing? In ESPN the Magazine's "Fan Edition", Straps are highlighted as one of the "Bang for the Buck" awards.

Click to see in larger view

Strap image #1
 Strap image #2

 Images courtesy of Sharp Sangyo Co., Ltd


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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