The Business Front

I hear it always takes a little time to adjust after returning from the Winter Meetings. For example, a strange thing happened this morning: I didn’t pass any reporters or front-office folk on my way to breakfast, just my 2-year-old son watching a cartoon in the living room. He had no news on Johan Santana trade rumors.

As I decompress after three days in the Opryland’s biodome, here is some bizbeat news making headlines. (By the way, evidence that getting around the Opryland was quite a trek could be found in Cincinnati Post beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans’step count after one day.

• IronPig Nation continues to expand. The Phillies affiliate set to play ball next season in Lehigh Valley adds a third radio station to its network. Meanwhile, the team tossed out PorkChop as the name of its mascot after members of the local Latino community complained the term was offensive. Lehigh Valley has replaced the name for its mascot with Ferrous, which comes from the Latin word "ferrum," which means relating to or containing iron.

• After failing to land funding for a new ballpark last season, Triple-A Nashville ownership is putting $1 million into renovating aging Greer Stadium—a move the team says is indicative of their commitment to staying in Music City.

• Will get more on this for the issue, but the Texas League announced at the Winter Meetings a new award to be named after Tulsa first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed after being struck by a line drive during a game last season. The inaugural winner is Coolbaugh’s brother Scott, a coach for the Frisco Roughriders.

• The Sliders are hitting the road. Without a permanent home, the formerly named Slippery Rock Sliders of the independent Frontier League will play all 96 of its 2008 regular season games on the road. The team will be called the Midwest Sliders next season, and former GM Steve Tahsler, said the league is still looking for an owner and home for the Sliders.

• Fort Wayne Wizards expect to nearly double its staff over the next two years as the Harrison Square stadium development continues to take shape, Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier said.

• Something doesn’t add up. Topps named the Tampa Bay Rays its organization of the year at the Winter Meetings. Yes, the same club that finished with the worst mark in the big leagues. Turns out the (Devil) Rays had the most prospects win Topps awards during the season. Guess that means they’ll be giving the Yankees and Red Sox a run in the AL East standings.

• My Dad, a lifelong Brooklyn Dodgers fan, is probably rolling over in his grave upon the news that Walter O’Malley was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Like most Brooklyn residents, my father never forgave O’Malley for moving the team in 1957, even if that anger is misguided as Peter O’Malley explains in this LA Times story: "Over the years, more and more people have realized the effort my father put into building a stadium in Brooklyn," said Peter O’Malley, who succeeded his father as the Dodgers’ owner before selling the club in 1997. "It took him 10 years to decide to move. I don’t think anyone worked harder to keep his franchise in the original city than he did."

• The Kansas City T-Bones will get a new playing surface in 2008 (though you need to subtract a zero from this headline). The indy league team will be sharing CommunityAmerica Ballpark with the KC Wizards of Major League Soccer.

• The Portland Sea Dogs are getting a new clubhouse.

• The independent Atlantic City Surf hired a new vice president.

Minors | #Business Beat

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