While labor strife looms in other professional sports, Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL) agreed to an extension of their working agreement—three years before it expired.
MLB and MiLB announced today a six-year extension of the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) six years through the 2020 season. The PBA, the agreement that guides the two organizations' relationship, ensures major league teams will field at least 160 minor league affiliates through the life of the extension.
A source confirmed that the only significant change in the agreement is the tax rate on tickets that minor league teams pay major league clubs. The rate was supposed to increase from 6.5 percent to 7 percent after the 2014 season, but will remain at 6.5 percent for an additional two years, the source said. The agreement essentially saves minor league baseball $2 million over the two-year period, the source said.
Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Conner first broke news of the PBA extension at the Winter Meetings in December, with MLB executive vice president of baseball development Jimmie Lee Solomon confirming that the deal was close to finalized pending approval from commissioner Bud Selig.
"Major League Baseball is very happy to continue its partnership with Minor League Baseball," Selig said in a release today. "Nearly 115 million fans attended major league and minor league games last season, and the security of this agreement will allow us to build on the prosperity that our game has achieved."
"The extension of the Professional Baseball Agreement ensures the future of professional baseball through the end of the decade," O'Conner said in the release. "I would like to thank commissioner Selig for his leadership and support in ushering this agreement to fruition. The major league owners have shown great confidence in our relationship by agreeing to this extension, and the cooperation, hard work and diligence of Jimmie Lee Solomon in spearheading the effort of the Office of the Commissioner exemplifies the trust of our relationship."
A little over one week after hiring Joe Torre as his top lieutenant and one day after announcing the dismissal of three veteran Major League Baseball executives, commissioner Bud Selig continued his structuring of MLB's executive office by announcing two new hires this morning.
Former Dodgers assistant general manager/vice president Kim Ng and former Diamondbacks assistant GM/VP Peter Woodfork will each join MLB as senior vice presidents for baseball operations, Selig announced in a press release this morning. They will report to Torre, whom Selig unveiled as MLB's new executive vice president for baseball operations on Feb. 26.
Selig also announced changes to several existing executives' job duties. Joe Garagiola, who had served as senior vice president of baseball operations since 2005, will now serve as senior vice president of standards and on-field operations. He will focus on player discipline for on-field infractions, pace of game issues, uniform policy and stadium configurations. Randy Marsh and Rich Rieker, each of whom had worked as umpire supervisors, were promoted to director of umpiring.
Jeff Moorad appears likely to sell his newly acquired Pacific Coast League franchise if California's budget problems crush a new ballpark project in suburban San Diego.
Local leaders in Escondido, a city of roughly 140,000 people 31 miles north of Petco Park, approved a $50 million project to build a new ballpark for Moorad's Triple-A team, which played last year in Portland but got pushed out of that city when its ballpark was converted to a soccer stadium.
But new California Gov. Jerry Brown, with his state government facing a massive budget deficit, is considering abolishing municipal redevelopment agencies, a bureaucratic way of saying the state money for the ballpark project would go away. That would kill the project.
Moorad, who is also CEO of the Padres, purchased the franchise from Merritt Paulson last October (the sale was completed early this year) with the intention of moving it to Escondido. The team is in Tucson now–and will be called the Tucson Padres–but the plan was to move it to Escondido for the 2013 season, when the ballpark was completed.
If the ballpark project falls through, however, Moorad may put the team back on the market.
Steve Peace, a consultant to Moorad's investment group, said that the group will consider three options if the ballpark project falls through: sell to one of the other groups Paulson had talked to, sell the team to a local Tucson group, or find another suburban San Diego community where it can build a new ballpark.
Because new ballpark construction projects in California would likely depend on redevelopment money from the state—a proposed new downtown stadium for the NFL's San Diego Chargers will also be scrapped if Brown's proposal is approved by the state legislature—Moorad is unlikely to find another site in California to build a ballpark. That would leave him with the two options of selling the team.
Peace said it would be premature to to assume the franchise will be sold, though he did confirm those are the options Moorad is considering if the Escondido project falls through.
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