BOB:  Marlins stadium coup and the return of Vin Scully

Marlins get favorable court ruling

The Florida Marlins may have just reached their final hurdle in what has been a multiyear pursuit of a new stadium. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen ruled that the Marlins stadium, which will be funded primarily through tax dollars, will serve the public good. Marlins president David Samson called the ruling a complete victory, and Miami mayor Carlos Alvarez hailed the ruling as well.

The lawsuit was brought about by local businessman Norman Braman. The billionaire auto dealer brought about a variety of charges including the fact that the tax dollars would be going to a private entity that doesn’t serve a public purpose. He noted that the county never bothered to do an economic impact study, and the judge actually agreed with Braman on the point as to whether there was clear proof as to how the new stadium would stimulate the neighborhood.

Now, the team is moving forward with its construction plans. The hope is still to have the stadium ready for opening day of the 2011 season.

Vin Scully returns to booth for 60th season

Although advertising that your radio announcer is coming back for another season wouldn’t normally be big news, the fact that it’s longtime Los Angeles Dodgers radio broadcaster Vin Scully makes it an entirely different story. Scully is putting off retirement for another season, and this will mark his 60th in the booth. He has seen Jackie Robinson play, and he also kicked off his career with the Dodgers when the team was still in Brooklyn.

For now, Scully will keep his current schedule. He’ll do all the home games, and although he will travel, it’ll be to points only as far east as Colorado.

Minor-league affiliate renewals

Several teams recently extended their working agreements with their minor-league affiliates. The Seattle Mariners were particularly busy, and they extended their working agreements with three different minor-league teams. Their Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainers, have been locked up for another two years, as were the Short Season Everett AquaSox and the Rookie League Pulaski Mariners. For Pulaski, the extension is particularly nice because 2008 was the first year that they were the Mariners affiliate, and the city went through 2007 without a team.

The Tampa Bay Rays extended their player development contract with the Hudson Valley Renegades through 2010. The Renegades are the Rays’ longest-running affiliate, and they’ve been together since the Rays kicked things off as a major-league team back in 1996. The San Diego Padres also signed with their Double-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions, for another two years.

To date, no moves have been announced, but that’s because teams haven’t been allowed to talk to other affiliates. The Columbus Clippers have already announced that they won’t be back with the Washington Nationals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced that they are ending their contract with the Las Vegas 51s. There’s speculation that Los Angeles is going to go back to Albuquerque as their Triple-A affiliate, and the Florida Marlins will then take over Vegas.

Attendance news

The Boston Red Sox made history earlier this week when Fenway Park hosted their 456th straight sell-out, a new major-league record. The previous record was set in the 1990s when the Indians sold out a record 455 games at then Jacobs Field. The next-longest current streak is just 28 games, which is currently held by the New York Yankees.

The Twins announced that they’ve topped the two million mark in attendance. That marks the fourth straight year, and they’re hoping that, with a new stadium and the success of the Republican National Convention, they’ll get the All Star Game in 2014.

In the meantime, five teams have already topped the three million mark in attendance. Throw in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Philadelphia Phillies, and there will probably be two more within a week. Judging by the team’s average attendance to date, the Detroit Tigers, despite their disappointing season, will make an eighth team, and the Milwaukee Brewers have a solid chance of bringing the league total up to nine teams.

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