BOB:  Marlins stadium deal hits another snag and the Rays lose money

Marlins stadium plans hit another snag

Just when it looked like the Florida Marlins were closer then ever to getting a stadium deal, another development occurs. This time, a local auto dealer named Norman Braman has filed a legal challenge to the county’s decision to fund $3 billion worth of projects in the city of Miami. One of those projects is the $50 million renovation plan to get the Orange Bowl site ready to build a new stadium for the Marlins. The claim is that the move to shift the money to help the Marlins is a violation of the state constitution. Also at issue is whether Miami-Dade county manager George Burgess improperly negotiated the stadium deal in private, which would be a violation of public records law.

Since then, Miami mayor Manny Diaz has come on record as saying he’s confident that the lawsuit won’t prevail. Still, the biggest issue out of all this is that the residents of the county, who will ultimately be paying for all of this, won’t get a say in the matter. If a vote were allowed to happen, it’d be likely that Braman would back off but it also mean the entire deal would most likely be dead in the water.

Rays announce losses the past two years

While the Marlins scramble to keep their stadium hopes alive, the cross state Tampa Bay Rays recently announced that they’ve been cash flow negative to the tune of $20-$30 million since 2005. This contradicts the projections published in Forbes magazine that says the Rays make upwards of $20 million a year. Rays president Matthew Silverman also said that the team would be unlikely to break even if they stayed at their current ballpark, Tropicana Field.

It definitely looks like the posturing has begun for the Rays waterfront ballpark in St. Petersburg because the statements came in response to why the Rays can’t pay for a new ballpark themselves. The Rays say they’re not demanding a new stadium nor would they ever move, but these public statements are usually made to make a point.

Yankees set new payroll record

The Yankees failed to win the World Series again this year but they were once again tops in the payroll department. With a $218.3 million payroll, the Yankees originally were looking to come to come in below $200 million but when they signed Roger Clemens midseason, that pushed them over the benchmark.

The Boston Red Sox came in at $155.4 million, which was second place and for their efforts, they won their second World Series in four years. The Los Angeles Dodgers ($125.6 million), New York Mets ($120.9 million) and Chicago Cubs ($115.9 million) rounded out the top five.

Reds Sign exclusive agreement with Goodyear

The Reds came another step closer to choosing their new spring training home as they entered into a 75-day exclusive agreement with the Goodyear City Council. The Phoenix, Ariz, suburb is building a two team facility that will house the Cleveland Indians beginning in 2009. The section parceled off for a second team won’t be completed until 2010 so the Reds will be playing in Sarasota for at least the next two springs.

Twins new stadium over budget

Twins Sports President Jerry Bell recently announced that the Twins’ new $390 million ballpark is going to be over budget by a significant amount. While an exact number wasn’t thrown out there, it’ll be interesting to see who foots the bill on the overages. The stadium is still on schedule to open for the 2010 season despite the project hitting a roadblock when it was determined that the site was once in the bed of Mississippi River.

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