The Chicago Cubs are cursed? I think not.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the Arizona House of Representatives has approved a measure to raise money to keep the Cubs from moving to Florida and to “generate more than $100 million for improvements to facilities across the Valley over the next 30 years.”
Arizona Rep. John McComish, R-Phoenix, is pushing the surcharge in House Bill 2736, despite opposition from the other Cactus League teams.
The original plan would raise $81 million over 25 years and included a $1 car rental fee and an 8 percent Spring Training ticket surcharge. McComish dropped the car rental fee and boosted the ticket surcharge to 10 percent in hopes of raising $185 million over 30 years.
The plan now goes to the Senate, with more negotiations on the way. The rest of the Cactus League teams are against the plan, which is understandable. I wouldn’t want to be taxed to help my neighbor build a new house. They can move to Florida for all I care.
But then again, it’s also a little shortsighted. After all, my neighbors don’t do anything to help me make money. The same can’t be said of the Cubbies, who are the top draw in Arizona and according to one study, bring in $138 million annually to the local economy. According to Muskat’s story, nine of the top 10 attended Cactus League games have been Cubs games.
So what’s good for the Cubs, is good for all the teams in Arizona. You think the Grapefruit League would let the Yankees leave? Didn’t think so.
Then again, the Cubs are one of the top money-making teams in the majors, so maybe they should build their own stadium. Like that will ever happen.
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.