Last fall we learned that the city of Miami faces an unexpected $1.2 million property tax bill as a result of its largess to Jeff Loria and the Miami Marlins. Seems the city thought that a stadium parking garage it built and paid for is not going to be exempt from property taxes because, despite the fact that it is a publicly-owned facility, it is used for the benefit of a private business (i.e. the Marlins). Which leases it from the city. And profits from it, of course.
State lawmakers have been trying to pass a bill that would save Miami from having to pay that property tax — sorry schools, roads and infrastructure! — but they’ve hit a roadblock: the bill appears as though it would be unconstitutional.
How will this ever be resolved?
- (a) Someone in Tallahassee will figure out how to ram the law though one way or another, thereby shorting the county’s coffers of tax revenue that it has every right to given that the parking garage is a profit center for both the city and the Marlins;
- (b) No law will be passed and Miami taxpayers will have to pony up an extra $1.2 million on top of what they’re already paying to enrich Jeff Loria; or
- (c) Loria and the Marlins will do the right thing and compensate the city for the property taxes, what with the garage being a publicly-funded cash cow for the team and $1.2 million being mere rounding error for them, thanks in part to the giant windfall they have already received?
If your guess is (c), you have no paid much attention to how the business of publicly funded stadiums has gone on in this country over the past 20 years or so.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.