The Business Front

Stories making headlines around baseball.

• A real hard-hitting item here: Roughly 30 years after retiring from the Royals, pitcher Mark Littell is back on the diamond hawking a better way for players to protect their jewels. Littell is representing a new line of men’s wear and a new and improved cup that he not only swears provides better protection, but proves his point by putting his money wear his "you-know-what" is. The YouTube clip is certainly worth watching through.

• New Quad Cities ownership group has called for press conferences today and tomorrow, both involving new names. Today the team is expected to announce a naming-rights deal for John O’Donnell Stadium. Thursday the QC plans to compete with the Mitchell Report for headlines by announcing their new name to replace Swing.

• Torii Hunter finally got his wish. No, not that $90 million deal, but improved lighting at Fort Myers’ Hammond Stadium, home to the high Class A Fort Myers Miracle and spring training site of the Minnesota Twins. Hunter vowed never to play at Hammond last spring until the ballpark got new lights. Lee County is responding by installing 180 light fixtures on six poles that rise 110 feet above the stadium’s ground, in addition to replacing 3,110 hard-back seats. The $250,000 project is funded from a percentage of Lee County’s Tourist Development Council hotel tax revenue.

• The Kane County Cougars and local government officials continue to negotiate on an expansion of Elfstrom Stadium while agreeing that they had previously low-balled costs of the project. New estimates put the project, which will include a second deck of seating, an overhang, increased concessions and skyboxes, at around $10 million.

• A little story on the fate of the Batavia Muckdogs. While it is true that the team is in serious financial trouble, it’s a longshot that there will not be baseball in Batavia in 2008. The question is how involved will the league be in financially supporting the team.

• The Baltimore Examiner reports that the city of Aberdeen received nearly $50,000 less than it expected from renting out Ripken Stadium in 2006.