BOB:  The Mitchell Report and Florida Stadium News

Mitchell Report thoughts

The big news last week was the unveiling of the Mitchell Report, which, as expected, contained several current and former players’ names. To me, the report turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. There were a share of big names that were somewhat unexpected but at the end of the day, little was said about how this was allowed to happen for such a long period of time. There was also little said about the accountability of both the media and the league in the whole steroid scandal which was pretty much expected.

At the end of the day, I just look at the release as very anticlimactic. Then to make matters worse, there was a list that was leaked prior to the official announcement that had several big names on it that turned out to be a major fabrication. I hate to say it was 20 months of wasted time, but I just don’t see what was accomplished once it was all said and done.

There’s been a ton written on the report and the investigation, but this piece on how two teammates, after they left the Mets, helped spread PEDs throughout the league was particularly interesting. I also found this press release amusing when the Savannah Sand Gnats announced how relieved they were that their mascot, Gnate T. Gnat, wasn’t named in the report.

Rays hang tight in Venezuela

With the political turmoil surrounding the socialist policies of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, several teams have abandoned their operations in Venezuela; this even spilled over into the Venezuelan Summer League which fielded just nine teams. Still, the Tampa Bay Rays have committed themselves to the country because they feel they have some of the best personnel when it comes to Venezuelan baseball.

Also worth noting with regard to the Rays, there’s a very interesting article on the Rays’ endeavors in Latin America. And while this is off the subject of international scouting, there’s an interesting column about what the Rays’ plans are for dealing with home run balls belted in Tampa Bay.

Finally, in sticking with the Rays, the owners of the team have said that they’d throw their hat into the mix and become stakeholders in the Tropicana Field site to help expedite the process of a new stadium. In order for the Rays to afford their new stadium, they’re hoping to get the proceeds from the sale of the development rights to Tropicana Field and they’re willing to put their money where their mouths are. Of course nobody has said exactly how much money they’re willing to put up; that’ll be a major question in the Rays’ quest for a new stadium.

Illinois looks to buy Wrigley Field

The state of Illinois has been involved in recent rumors with the Chicago Cubs regarding the purchase of Wrigley Field. In order to make the sale of the Cubs easier, the state could potentially buy Wrigley Field from Tribune Company and run it just like they do the home of the Chicago White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field. The concern with this is the burden of renovations to the historic stadium would then fall on the taxpayers.

In other Wrigley Field news, it looks like fans will see more and more advertisements surrounding the stadium. This would include selling the naming rights to the stadium as well as placing some advertisements in right field. There’s also the hope that they can squeeze a few more fans into the stadium with a new section close to the Cubs dugout.

Fenway Sports Group purchases Salem Avalanche

Fenway Sports Group, the company that owns the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, recently announced their purchase of the Salem Avalanche, a Class-A minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies that plays in the Carolina League. The Avalanche will continue their relationship with the Rockies in 2008, but it’s expected that when the Red Sox’s affiliation with the Lancaster JetHawks expires after the 2008 season, that the Avalanche will become the Red Sox’s Carolina League affiliate.

Marlins take another baby step closer to stadium funding

Miami-Dade County approved a stadium funding plan that puts the Marlins one step closer to finally getting their new stadium. As Neil deMause reports, this came just a few days after the city of Miami approved a similar bill that would provide the Marlins with a large chunk of the money to build a new ballpark. There’s still a long way to go but I’m sure the Marlins feel like any victory that puts them closer to a new stadium is a worthwhile one.

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