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Marlins claim British Virgin Islands citizenship

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We’ve written before about the lawsuit filed by Miami-Dade authorities against Jeff Loria and the Miami Marlins regarding the profits from the sale of the team. Short version: under the agreement to build Marlins Park, the county was owed a cut of the profits when the team was sold. Loria, quite dubiously, is claiming no profits from the sale so he and the team he no longer owns got sued.

The current Marlins regime, while not directly in the crosshairs of the suit, are necessary parties. But they are necessary parties that do not want to be in a Miami courtroom, it seems. Indeed, they so don’t want to be in a Miami courtroom, they’re claiming to be a British Virgin Islands concern. From the Miami Herald:

The Miami Marlins are claiming corporate citizenship in the British Virgin Islands in an effort to have a federally appointed arbitrator take over the lawsuit by Miami and Miami-Dade County to recover a share of the profits from Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion sale of the team to Derek Jeter and partners last fall.

Lawyers representing the Marlins told a federal judge that at least one corporation that owns part of Marlins Teamco — the company Jeter and majority owner Bruce Sherman formed last year to buy the franchise — is based in the Caribbean. As a result, team lawyers argued, the dispute with Miami-Dade should be governed by jurisdictional rules that apply to international disputes.

I haven’t had to think about international venue matters since I was in law school and that was over 20 years ago, so I’m pretty hazy here, but what few synapses are firing in response to this suggest to me that it’s not a patently ridiculous argument, legally speaking. It’s just an argument that is pretty chuckle-inducing coming from a team owned by the closest thing we have to a baseball Captain America in Derek Jeter regarding what is pretty clearly a local dispute. Miami-Dade, understandably, is pushing back hard on this idea, though I have no idea if it’ll work.

In other news, The Marlins drew 7,000 fans to last night’s game in Miami. I guess the hometown fans from the British Virgin Islands don’t travel as well as say, Alabama or Ohio St. fans.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.