A look at stories making headlines around the world of baseball.
• Meet the Sacramento A’s? That could be a possible scenario as Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson broaches the topic now that the Athletics have scrapped their ballpark plans for Fremont, Calif. Mayor KJ hasn’t actually spoken with Athletics ownership and was speaking in the context of what the city would do if the NBA’s Kings leave town. "If they leave for some strange reason, then we need to get somebody else in Sacramento," he said. "I don’t care if it’s the Oakland A’s, I don’t care if it’s the Golden State Warriors. We have to have a franchise, a top-notch, world-class franchise in our city because it helps elevate the profile of our city."
Meanwhile, the Mercury News reports that San Jose could be on deck as the next possible home for the Athletics. However, MLB would have to step in to make such a scenario a reality as the city remains within the Giants’ territory.
• The completion of the Nashville Sounds’ sale could mark a new era for the team and improved relationship between the club and the city. Will it also rejuvenate discussions for a new ballpark?
• The Globe’s Bob Ryan takes the Red Sox to task for seeking public financing for a new spring training home during such hard economic times in South Florida.
• Triple-A Scranton is battling a former concessionaire over a liquor license for its "Stadium Club" area.
The Diamond does not need a renovation. It needs a wrecking ball.
And that’s what will happen to the former home of the Triple-A Richmond Braves if plans for a new $353 million ballpark/downtown revitalization project are sunken by the economy, and the city focuses again on The Diamond to house a new minor league team. That’s a potential scenario the Richmond Times Dispatch reported yesterday, and considering the state is facing a $3 billion budget gap, such a grandiose project doesn’t seem nearly as realistic as it did six months ago.
But make no mistake, a new Diamond will share only the location and perhaps the foundation of its predecessor. A renovation is new bleachers and a scoreboard being put in Visalia. The Diamond project wouldn’t be a renovation. It would be a rebuild.
The Triple-A Rochester Red Wings will be the focus of a PBS documentary to be filmed this season and aired in 13 half-hour episodes in February 2010.
“What I like most is that you won’t necessarily have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the show because it will feature the everyday rollercoaster of emotions that our players endure during the season," Red Wings director of media relations Chuck Hinkel said. "We have some outstanding young men that will be playing here this season and this will give fans from all over a chance to develop a better rapport with them and follow them throughout their careers."
The series, entitled Minor Leagues, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Twins affiliate throughout the 2009 season. A portion of the proceeds from this project will support Rochester Mentors, an alliance of mentoring organizations in the Rochester area, committed to the safe and effective mentoring of youth in the region.
The sale of the team to a new ownership group hasn’t even been completed, yet changes are already underway at high Class A Lancaster.
The California League affiliate is notoriously one of the most blustery ballparks in the minors, where high winds blowing out to right field have produced inflated home run totals and also demoarlized many a pitcher.
Yet the JetHawks continue to try and find ways to turn the unfavorable ballpark conditions to their advantage, including a new promotion under new management: the Polar Bear Club.
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