BOB:  Twins Stadium News and Interleague Attendance

Twins, Land Owners Millions Apart

The hearing between Hennepin County and the owner of the land where the county hopes to build the Minnesota Twins’ new stadium began on Monday, and it looks like the two sides are miles apart. The current offer by the county is just over $17 million while the land owner, a legal entity called Land Partners II, is looking to bring in over $65 million for the now-valuable parcel of land.

This isn’t going to be settled any time soon because the hearing could go on for a month. It was interesting to read that this is the largest land condemnation hearing ever in the state of Minnesota. The Twins don’t seem too concerned about what happens though (they’re not footing the bill) because they’ve set the groundbreaking for August 2, 2007.

2007 Interleague Play Sets Net Attendance Record

The final count at the turnstile shows us that 2007 interleague play drew record crowds for the second year in a row. Nearly 8.8 million fans came out to see American League and National League teams go at it—an average of just under 35,000 per game. The previous record was set last year when almost 8.6 million fans made it for an average just over 34,000 a game. Prior to the 2006 season, 2001 was the standard.

A lot is made of the high attendance at interleague games, but if you’re a Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) member, there’s a piece of research in the Baseball Research Journal by Gary Gillette and Pete Palmer on why attendance may be higher at these games outside of the fact that they’re interleague games. They point to when the games usually happen (mostly in June and a majority of them over the weekend) as a major driver in the attendance spike. It’s a great read and the Baseball Research Journal is one of the many perks of being a SABR member.

Cactus League Ballpark Deal Final?

Last night, the Glendale City Council was expected to finalize the details for an $80 million dollar spring training facility in the city that will house both the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The leases will be looked over one last time and the details of a tax revenue-sharing plan will also be discussed.

With the expected moves of both the Cleveland Indians and the Dodgers to Arizona, the Cactus league should have 14 teams by the 2009 season. There’s also hope that the White Sox, who will be vacating their facilities in Pima County to move to Glendale, may find a replacement team for their old facilities and the split between the two spring training states will be even at 15 a piece.

Tiger Stadium Demolition Placed On Hold

Sometimes you do find some common sense in politics. It looked like a forgone conclusion that the city would be free and clear of their plans to demolish Tiger Stadium but the Detroit planning commissioners threw them a curve ball and they didn’t approve the plan because of insufficient planning. The city’s idea of having a mixed development with commercial and residential development sounded nice but nobody had lined up the developers to make it happen. Things will now go back to the Detroit city council where the issue will be discussed on July 9.

Jason Giambi Agrees to Meet With Mitchell Investigators

Jason Giambi, after making some public comments about how the league should apologize for the whole steroid fiasco, has now agreed with some cajoling by commissioner Bud Selieg to meet with George Mitchell’s steroid investigators. He’ll be the first player to talk and it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. I’d be very surprised if Giambi spills the beans on any teammates and at the end of the day, he’ll probably end up with a limited suspension because he cooperated.

In the meantime, the whole steroid investigation drags on. Nothing much is happening and it looks like nothing much will happen. That doesn’t seem to mean much to the league because they continue to pump millions of dollars into the witch hunt.

Yankees Land Chinese Sponsor

Just a couple of weeks after the New York Yankees signed two Chinese players, making them the first ever to tap China as a baseball resource, the team has now announced that they’ve landed a sponsorship deal with a Chinese company. The Yiii Group, the largest dairy company in China, will receive some exposure at Yankee Stadium and in their official game program. The company will be highlighted in July when the Yankees show off those two new players from China.

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