Thursday, January 31, 2008

 

D-Train Party 'Anticlimactic'

'"I still live here!" he said, leaning back in a leather recliner, dripping in diamonds diamond necklace, diamond earrings, diamond watch. His residence will remain in the 305; his office is just in a different time zone (and at a subfreezing latitude).' (MiamiNewTimes)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

 

Puerto Rican Power!

The possibility of the Marlins and Mets playing a San Juan series apparently continues. (SunSentinel)

 

Happy Birthday...

...to Jeremy and Jorge!

 

Ballpark Ballyhoo

It looks as if the complications of negotiations are continuing, and the Marlins are now 'eyeing a mid-February county commission meeting' for ballpark approval. Then the city will have its say, 'which could take weeks'. Issues remaining include 'financing for a parking garage and $2 million in annual stadium upkeep.' And, of course, 'a judge conceivably could halt the project if a court agrees with Braman that using $50 million in bond money -- originally designed to renovate the OB -- on a Marlins ballpark would violate the state constitution.' Mayor Diaz defends the process, saying, "There's no legal requirement for any of this to be subject to a referendum." (MiamiHerald)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

 

Marlins Start Informal Workouts

Andrew Miller needs some Marlins threads, though. (PalmBeachPost)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

 

Hiassen's Two Cents

Arguably South Florida's most famous writer/observer/author/satirist/columnist pens an opinion column on the Downtown Development plan that includes a new Marlins stadium. To get his main thrust, here's a quick quote:

"(T)his will be a nightmare, guaranteed."

For more thrusts, here's the whole thing.

 

Checking Out Once and Future Haunts

Yesterday was one of those days that happen this time of year in South Florida, when there are so many events and shows and festivals happening at one time that it's impossible to see all the ones you want to see.

Just concerning events connected with the Marlins, I've mentioned the Fan Fest in Jupiter and the Mermaid Finals in Miami. I forgot to mention the Legends Game, where Orestes and Cookie and other legends played at Ft. Lauderdale Stadium for the Joe DiMaggio Childrens' Hospital.

But the event I ended up going to was the goodbye party at the Orange Bowl, where old Dolphin and Hurricane players played for one last time at the soon-to-be-demolished stadium.

I'm not going to say how long it has been since the last time I've been at the Orange Bowl. Let's say my going there was an attempt to mix the return and flooding of past memories with a scoping-out of the area with an eye to what the potential Marlins stadium will be facing.

First off, there was a Marlins presence at the event. A table was set up with a spinning wheel for fans to spin to win trinket-type prizes, and you could sign up for a drawing to win tickets to the exhibition Yankee games at the end of March. (Just if anyone's curious, I didn't perceive any anger directed towards the Marlins about the end of the Orange Bowl. It seems everyone realizes it's not the Marlins' doing.)

Next, just walking around the outside of the stadium made me say to myself, 'They're going to try and fit both a ballpark and a soccer stadium Here?' With the stadium as it is now there is minimal parking area - the times when my family went to games was the time when we had a friend living nearby who let us park in his driveway for free. The selling of parking spaces in residents' yards is an industry here. Now with Two stadiums being planned, the parking garage would be an absolute necessity, if someone can find a place to put it.

When they talk about the neighborhood around the stadium, they mean what they say. Three of the four sides of the surrounding stadium area borders non-luxurious apartments and houses; only the north side faces a commercial street. I'm hoping this isn't a bad thing. The best ballparks I've been to (Fenway, Wrigley) seem a part of the neighborhoods they're in. There's really no reason why, with time, this neighborhood ultimately should be any different.

Saying that, the traffic situation needs work. Coming from the north on the expressways, with minimal signs, it's a guessing game for newbies to figure out how to get to the stadium. Probably, during rush hour, with those stoplights and thin streets, you'll need luck trying to get to a game on time. Some major pondering will be needed on this.

Friday, January 25, 2008

 

Spring Tickets on Sale!

Eat free food, paint your face and try to sing the national anthem at Roger Dean Fun Fest tomorrow. (PalmBeachPost)

 

Sticking It To The Man!

The threat of absolutely no one showing up to the games this year probably inspired yesterday's announcement, that...

'Parking at Marlins games this season will remain $10 a game for individual ticket buyers, rather than increasing to $15 as initially planned, a team spokesman said Thursday.' (SunSentinel)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

 

Dates

Remember, tonight's the night for Dontrelle's going-away party at the Seminole Hard Rock; Saturday at 5 PM will be the Mermaids Audition Finals Show at Dolphin Mall; and the Marlins Caravan begins Feb. 4.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

 

Stadium Specs

Tons of details about this moment's possible stadium agreement are popping to light, this time through these two articles in Miami Today.

Some quick bites (Most capitilizations of Team, City and County are mine):

The Team 'would keep proceeds from the (ballpark's) naming rights'.

The Team now 'would be bound to pay costs "that exceed the stadium project budget" of $525 million' and 'would be required to set aside $20 million for cost overruns and any claims that resulted from building the stadium.'

The County and City 'would be bound to pay "for any incremental cost to the baseball stadium that may result from delays caused by it or from its failure to meet" certain deadlines' - one deadline mentioned would be 'if Miami (the City) failed to raze the Orange Bowl and remove debris by March 31.'

The Team has a deadline - April 30 - 'to sign a "non-relocation agreement" with the County, assuring that the team stays in Miami for 30 years or until the city and county bonds used to build the stadium are paid.'

The City, after paying to demolish the OB, must 'turn over the deed to the land to the County by May 31.'

'Within six months of the deal, the County or the City would provide the Marlins with at least 3,000 square feet of office space within 2 miles of the stadium "that is suitable" for the team to use as its marketing office'. (Guess the Marlins En Miami store ain't big enough.)

'The County and the City would pay for infrastructure costs needed for the new stadium.'

The Team 'must abide by county ordinance goals of 10% for small business participation in planning and design' and 'the construction manager (is) to be a Florida contractor'.

The Team wants '$1.7 million in waivers from city and county impact fees.'

The State amazingly is still requested to approve a sales tax exemption, this time in the purchase of stadium construction materials.

But in this agreement, the State doesn't seem to be crucial - if 'waivers for sales taxes and impact fees are not approved, construction costs would increase by $6.1 million and would be borne by the Team.'

The County would own the stadium, but 'the City and County would have the right to use the facility for (only) 12 community events each year', and even with that 'the Team could "reject any proposed community event".

Fighting against this is local rich guy Norman Braman, who has filed his first of probably several legal challenges against the plan that underpins the stadium deal.

IGNORANT-QUESTIONS: Once the Orange Bowl is razed, isn't there some sort of requirement that an archealogical survey be done of the site before building can begin? If so, and some Miami-Circle-like artifact is discovered there, then what next?

Monday, January 21, 2008

 

Fire Sale = Best Move?

Mike Ackerstein, writing for "the largest fully independent daily campus newspaper in the nation", in a sort-of-point-counterpoint article with another writer, has put the most positive, front-office-like spin that I've heard yet on the Cabrera-Willis trade, calling it "the best move since the season's end because it means the Fish won't have very high expectations going into 2008.

"In trading away Willis and Cabrera, Florida has effectively killed any chances that pundits and fans will expect a finish higher than fourth place in the NL East. Because the goals won't be so lofty, the atmosphere should be relaxed, creating perfect conditions for the young Marlins and the centerpiece of the deal - former Tigers first round selection, pitcher Andrew Miller - to grow at their own pace.

"Instead of dealing with questions about why they aren't winning more games or what moves they need to make for a playoff run, the Marlins can allow their cheap and youthful lineup a chance to flourish under the radar. While this should certainly help the team win games in the future, it may even give them a chance to sneak up on opponents late in this season, giving them the opportunity to make a year-end playoff push as Florida has done in years past.

"No pressure? No problems. Marlins for the win." (BadgerHerald)

 

Marlins' World Series Games Rank With The Best

At the Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe's series of countdowns of the top 10 World Series Game Number 1's, the top 10 Game Number 2's, and so on all the way to Game Number 7's, mentions the Marlins twice, as tied for 4th place in 'Best WS Game 4's', and as number 7 in the Best Game 7's.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

 

New Meeting Place

FishStripes and Fish@Bat introduce us to the Teal and Black Forums, a new place to discuss all things Marlin.

 

Arbitration Avoidance

Sergio, Alfredo and Kevin sign before the deadline. (MLB)

 

Even More Radio Woes?

Most reports I've seen about our new radio mouthpiece Glenn Geffner are not very encouraging. There's even at least one entire blog devoted to his shortcomings.

Friday, January 18, 2008

 

More WAXY-790-The-Ticket News

From Mr. B.J. again...

'Joel Feinberg, who is leasing 790 The Ticket's signal, has discussed two scenarios: leaving the station altogether (he won't comment on that) or buying it from Lincoln Financial (which he confirmed he's trying to do). Either appears a better alternative than continuing his money-losing lease agreement.

'Either way, there's optimism that The Ticket -- which has a marketing partnership with The Miami Herald -- will remain a sports station for the foreseeable future.'

Comments: So it's the lease agreement that Feinberg says is the problem - eerily similar to the Marlins' deal with Dolphin Stadium, I suppose. He won't comment on leaving the station, but somebody must have 'discussed' it. Meanwhile their competition seemed to have gained significantly on the Ticket in the latest ratings book.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

 

Adios-Amigo Party For Dontrelle on Jan. 24

If you want to possibly meet him and sign a going-away card, come over to the Park Sports Club in Seminole Paradise at the Hard Rock Casino. (MiamiHerald)

 

Two Signings

Matt Treanor avoids arbitration and signs with the Marlins. (MLB)

And a former Miamian who partnered last year with former Fish broadcaster Dave O'Brian up in Boston will now join Dave Van Horne in the Marlins radio booth. (MLB)

OOPS: Strike that "former Miamian". If you were born and raised here, and especially if you want to come back, you're a true-blue Miamian, or South Floridian, or whatever.

 

Jai Miller's Story

Jai sits in Selma confidently recovering from last season, and talks about competing with his friend Cameron. (SelmaTimesJournal)

 

Baseball Big Boys Returning to Town

MLB Prez 'DuPuy said baseball officials will meet in the next few days with county and city authorities in South Florida about a proposed ballpark for the Florida Marlins.

'"There remain obstacles to completing the transaction," DuPuy said. "But as I explained to the executive council, I believe there is a willingness by all parties to get the deal done, and all parties are working very hard to get the deal done." (TheSpread)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

 

All of Those "Hendrickson To The Marlins" Rumors Validated

On this amazing holiday, when Mr. Pinto finally comes out in favor of kicking Jeffrey out of baseball, the Marlins suddenly spend a little money, signing Mark Hendrickson and minor-leaguer Randy Williams.

Some like Hendrickson, and some don't.

 

New Stadium Article

An overview of the proposed stadium plans and possibilities, with local residents' (positive) comments, some complaints, and some new pieces of info, like Mayor Diaz saying the proposed 'parking garage needs a minimum of 25 additional events (beyond the expected number of baseball games and soccer matches) to pay for itself'. (MiamiHerald)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

 

Finally, A Sensible Suggestion

From Joe Frisaro's Q&A...

"I have an idea that will make a big splash for the Marlins. They should bring back Charlie Hough for Opening Day. Bringing back the pitcher who started the first game in franchise history would be the most amazing move in the world. I think Hough is a veteran who can teach these youngsters a thing or two about being a pro ballplayer. Hough is the key. Please spread the word: Hough in '08.
"-- Nick S., Florida

"Your idea is now officially out there. The last I heard, Hough was a coach for the Inland Empire 66ers, a Class A affiliate of the Dodgers. They play in San Bernardino, Calif. From what I've gathered in the past, Hough likes it out West. A few years ago, the Marlins had a Charlie Hough bobblehead promotion that was well received. He attended the game in Miami."

Better yet, the Fish can get Charlie to teach his bobbleball to a few of the guys. With a year like last year, it may make sense to have someone on the mound who can eat up innings without the risk of throwing his arm out of whack.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

 

Quick Trivia

How many guys named Miller have been invited to Marlins spring camp? (Answer at MarlinsBaseball)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

 

Even More Former Fish News

First, Matt Mantai signs with the Tigers and Chad Fox with the Cubs. Next, Atlanta wants Mark Kotsay. Finally, Leyland, Dontrelle, and even Miguel are scheduled to board the Tigers Caravan heading through Detroit, Ontario, and Toledo.

Friday, January 11, 2008

 

Stadium Deal Getting Closer

'(T)here are 18 business issues involved in something called the Baseball Stadium Agreement, but only three that have been difficult to resolve.

'P.J. Loyello, the Marlins' senior vice president, communications and broadcasting, said the club fully understands why this issue might take a little more time, considering the gravity of any decision.

'"It's complicated," Loyello said. "There are a lot of things involved for everybody. It's a big deal for everybody, so they want to make sure that everything is understood, addressed and taken care of."' (MLB)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

 

Luis Gonzalez to Marlins?

Daniel Rathman analyzes the idea. (MLB-Source)

UPDATE: Forget the analysis - Jeffrey wants Luis (he called him to persuade him to join the team), but Gonzalez is also getting interest from Milwaukee and Seattle, where he may get more playing time. (PalmBeachPost)

 

Marlins Bullpen Coach in Central Wisconsin Hall of Fame

(WausauDailyHerald)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

 

Deferred Votes

The county commission's vote on the stadium, scheduled for Thursday, is to be postponed until Jan. 22. And the election of Andre and Tim to the HOF will have to wait for another year.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

 

Muy Bien

Jose Castillo ended up leading the Venezualan-league regular season with a .384 BA, and Jesus Silva 'went 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 15 starts for Margarita this winter'. (MLB)

Monday, January 07, 2008

 

This Week's B.J. Blurb

'Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson is hopeful he will return from elbow surgery in July, but team officials expect he will miss the season.

'Among pitchers who had shoulder surgery, the Marlins expect Anibal Sanchez back for spring training, but project a May or June return for Henry Owens.' (MiamiHerald)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

 

More Radio Woes

Plan-tagonist Norman Braman's group has reportedly purchased 175 radio spots in both English and Spanish, to be broadcast from Monday through Thursday, decring the Downtown development deal. Monday's ads are specifically targeted at the Marlins stadium. (MiamiHerald)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

 

Meanwhile, Up The Street a Bit....

...the guys running Ft.Lauderdale are wondering if the Orioles have made a deal to move their spring training to Vero Beach when the Dodgers leave, just as the guys running Vero Beach are wondering if the Dodgers are really leaving town or not. (TCPalm)

Friday, January 04, 2008

 

Radio Woes?

The Marlins' new English radio home is looking a bit iffy. The Herald's Barry Jackson wrote this today...

'Facing mounting financial losses, Joel Feinberg has spoken with ownership of WAXY-790 about possibly leaving the station. Feinberg owns the company that leases 790's signal and has lost several million dollars since he launched an all-sports station more than three years ago.

'Because The Ticket has produced strong ratings, people inside the station are hopeful that Lincoln Financial, which owns WAXY-790, will continue to operate it as a sports station if Feinberg ends his lease agreement. Feinberg declined to comment. Dennis Collins, general manager of Lincoln Financial's local radio properties, did not return phone messages. The Miami Herald has a marketing partnership with 790 The Ticket.'

That partnership might've inspired the ratings comment, for as Uncle Neil pointed out this morning, the 'strong' ratings they had earlier this year may have been closer to a burp than anything.

And besides, ratings haven't really been the station owner's strategy. History-wise, Lincoln Financial has run 790 as a brokered station, making a decent profit by selling half-hour and hour-long chunks of radio time to practically anyone who wanted them. The only difference with 'the Ticket' is that Feinberg bought All the time, 24/7, essentially running the station without actually owning the station.

Meanwhile Feinberg reportedly has other problems - From a Dec. 7th B. J. article: "A Jan. 24 jury trial has been scheduled in Monterey, Calif., for the case involving Ticket owner Joel Feinberg, who was arrested Oct. 21 after allegedly hitting his fiancée."

Maybe that's what's exacerbating his money troubles.

Anyway, Lincoln Financial doesn't have 'Financial' in its name for nothing. Even if the ratings were through the roof, why would a company continue an enterprise that admittedly "has lost several million dollars since he launched an all-sports station more than three years ago"?

The company has always operated on the principle of outside producers paying them for time on the station. Which makes the Marlins' deal potentially interesting. I don't know whether the deal was made just with Feinberg or just with the station or both. But here's conditions of the deal from that same Dec.7 article:

'(U)nlike WQAM in past years, 790 will not pay a rights fee. Instead, the Marlins will sell the ads and keep most of the revenue.'

Maybe that arraingement is fine enough for Lincoln Financial. I don't know. On the other hand, if the Ticket goes bust, would the Marlins want to be on what the station will then become? I don't know. Would Jeffrey abandon English broadcasts like he did in Montreal? Hmmmmmm...

 

A Sighting of the Elusive Skinflint

'I did spot Jeffrey Lorria, the owner of the Florida Marlins, having dinner at The Plaza Café in Southampton on New Year’s Day.' (Hamptons.com)

 

Jorge Cantu Signed

According to this MLB article, Cantu will get 'a one-year contract worth $500,000, plus incentives that could tack on another $100,000 based on plate appearances'....and it also noted that Jose Castillo's deal, in contrast to earlier reports that placed him as the highest-paid Marlin, was 'a one-year, $650,000 contract, which also includes incentives based on plate appearances, plus some other performance-related bonuses.'

Thursday, January 03, 2008

 

Amezaga Picked for USA Today's Team 2007

This is a interesting concept -

'This is not an all-star team but a selection by USA TODAY editors and reporters of a realistic roster, including 2007's best No. 1 starting pitcher, No. 2 starter, No. 3 starter, etc.; a bullpen with each role covered from closer to setup man to long man; a starting lineup; and a complete bench.

'Plus, we add a manager, batting coach and pitching coach to honor jobs well done....

'(T)o keep this exercise as realistic as possible we always impose a player payroll limit. Every year we pay out only the median major league payroll for that season. In 2007, it was $84.6 million, the number halfway between the 15th- and 16th-ranked payrolls...

'Inevitably, we have to replace some of our original selections every year because our ideal team ends up way beyond our payroll limit. This year, though, we needed to make just one change to our roster to get below the $84.6 million and keep (Alex) Rodriguez on the roster.'

Alfredo was the only Marlin selected this year. He was named the 'Super-utility player' of the team. 'Amezaga can cover just about any spot in the infield and outfield, and his speed (13 stolen bases) and center-field ability make him especially attractive while being paid the major league minimum of $380,000.' (Freep)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

 

Castillo Staying at Third

From today's B.J. blurb..."Although moving Dan Uggla to third base was an option, the Marlins say they will keep him at second, with former Pirate Jose Castillo now the front-runner at third."

MEANWHILE: R.J's not too keen on Castillo. (BeyondTheBoxScore)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

 

Meet the New Plan - Not Same as the Old Plan

As noted on FishStripes, the County's thinking about asking the State for 'a sales tax rebate or similar benefit' to help with the new ballpark along with all the other things they're planning. Considering what's being revealed about what that 'plan' entailed, they may be needing the extra money.

Field of Schemes points out that last month's plan didn't include in its figures the value of the land the City would be donating for the ballpark, and would have penalized the County $10 million if they and the Marlins could not ultimately finalize an agreement.

It also capped the Marlins' responsibility for cost overruns at $20 million, which, considering Miami's and the county's history in estimating the cost of big projects, would be just a miniscule drop in an extremely humongous bucket.

According to Michael Lewis of Miami Today "In fact, the commission should demand an item-by-item comparison between this deal and the one (in 2005) that didn't get done. The Marlins have won better terms on almost every item."

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