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  • Build it and they will come....

    Associated Press
    PITTSBURGH -- Baseball might abandon its long-standing policy of alternating All-Star sites between National League and American League cities and award the 2007 game to another NL city, commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday.

    Minutes after officially announcing Pittsburgh would host its second All-Star game in 12 years in 2006, Selig said he expects to reveal the 2007, 2008 and 2009 sites later this summer.

    PNC Park will be the '06 All-Star field of dreams.

    With San Francisco, Arizona, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Diego all playing in new or relatively new ballparks and St. Louis to follow in 2006, one NL city would have to wait until 2018 for an All-Star game should baseball stay with its traditional but no-longer mandatory rotation.

    By contrast, only the refurbished Anaheim Angels ballpark and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg won't have been All-Star sites among the newer AL parks, once Detroit stages the 2005 game.

    "I don't believe that it [the rotation] is as important as it used to be," Selig said. "I think the important thing is to try to be fair. In a perfect world, you would alternate NL and AL, but it's more important to reward franchises, I think, that really need to have the game because of their venue. There are so many great new ballparks, and that's the nice part."

    The hard part, he said, it deciding which cities must wait, especially when teams such as Kansas City already have waited more than 30 years for a game.

    "What I'd like to do even during the course of this summer is to at least award the games for 2007, 2008 and 2009 so they have enough time to get to work on it," Selig said. "There are a lot of cities that have new ballparks and have an intense desire to have an All-Star game. I'll just have to be as fair as possible."

    Phoenix and San Francisco also wanted the 2006 game, which was awarded to Pittsburgh partly to pump up the Pirates' slumping attendance. Their average crowd has dropped by 10,000 a game since PNC Park opened in 2001, even though the riverfront ballpark is widely regarded as one of baseball's best venues.

    Pirates managing general partner Kevin McClatchy was "relentless" in pursuing the game, Selig said, sometimes to the point of being overly intense.

    "I made the decision, and I meant what I said that the competition was incredible and there will be a lot of disappointed people," Selig said. "I have to try to be fair. I understand they had only had a game 12 years ago, but they met all the criteria other than that. They have a gorgeous ballpark ... and Kevin McClatchy was about as tenacious as you can get."

    With 38,496 seats, PNC Park is the majors' second smallest ballpark to Boston's Fenway Park, and the Pirates hope the demand for All-Star tickets will be so great that season ticket sales will increase dramatically starting next year.

    "Why did we get the 2006 All-Star game? Because we have the best ballpark in America," McClatchy said.

Related Topics


  • DJRamFan
    Cities confident MLB will pick someone soon
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    HOUSTON -- Baseball's No. 2 official expressed confidence Monday that the Montreal Expos will move before the 2005 season but wouldn't set a new deadline for a decision.

    The Expos were bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season, and baseball at first hoped for a decision by July 2002 but later pushed it back to the 2003 All-Star break and then to this year's break. The bidding areas have said in recent weeks that they think a decision could be made by late July or early August.

    "I've been hanged out to dry by coming out with proposed dates," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said before the All-Star Home Run Derby. "The sooner we get it done the better. I believe it will happen this summer. I believe it's very important we get this done this year."

    Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia's Loudoun County, near Dulles International Airport, appear to be the top contenders to land the Expos. Also bidding are Las Vegas, Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; Portland, Ore., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Downtown Washington is about 40 miles from Baltimore's Camden Yards, and DuPuy acknowledged that Orioles owner Peter Angelos has openly opposed having a team move that close to his franchise. If the Expos move to either Washington or Northern Virginia, they would play at RFK Stadium, home of the expansion Washington Senators, before moving to a new ballpark in 2007 or 2008.

    "He's expressed his view with the regard an impact a club in the Washington area would have on the Orioles," DuPuy said.

    Commissioner Bud Selig said in May that he was concerned about the effect an Expos move to the nation's capital would have on the Orioles.

    "It isn't only the Orioles, it's all teams," Selig said then. "I think it's the commissioner's responsibility to protect the 30 franchises."

    Baseball officials met Friday with the Washington and Northern Virginia groups, and DuPuy said discussions are ongoing with all the bidding communities.

    He also said it's possible baseball will decide where the Expos move before finalizing a deal to sell the team, a process that could extend into early 2005. He said that areas that don't wind up with the Expos could become contenders for other franchises.

    "That's an inevitable conclusion you can draw if you're having eventual relocation," DuPuy said.

    Selig says the Florida Marlins and Oakland Athletics need new ballparks to survive in their areas.
    -07-12-2004, 06:12 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Arena league owner isn't sure city is ready for MLB
    by DJRamFan
    By Adam Candee
    <[email protected]>

    Jim Ferraro moved his Arena Football League franchise from New Jersey to Las Vegas in December 2002, gambling that he could buck the city's history of rejecting even the most noble of sporting franchises.

    And as noble an idea as he feels moving the Montreal Expos to Las Vegas would be, Ferraro said recently that he is just fine watching someone else gamble their money on selling Major League Baseball on the Strip.

    "I'm not so sure it's the right place, but who knows," Ferraro said.

    As he prepares for the Las Vegas Gladiators' third season in town, Ferraro can speak with some authority about the changing sporting climate of the city. He has watched his team draw respectable, but far from overwhelming, crowds for two years at the Thomas & Mack Center, averaging just under 10,000 tickets sold -- and closer to 7,000 actual attendance -- per game in 2004. By Las Vegas historical standards, that is not bad.

    Ferraro acknowledged in 2002 and reiterated Thursday that he did not expect the Gladiators to really establish themselves in Las Vegas until their third season, putting some onus on the upcoming year. He still feels strongly that sports can work in the valley.

    "Vegas is a major-league city," Ferraro said. "It deserves all these sports franchises."

    But that is tempered praise from Ferraro, who went on to say that he would want no more than a small part of the risk involved in relocating baseball's nomad franchise to Las Vegas. To draw the kind of crowds necessary for financial stability through 81 home games over six months, in addition to keeping enough year-round event traffic in the proposed facility to make the building profitable, is an endeavor that Ferraro worries could be a struggle.

    That goes not only for the Expos themselves, but also for the city's credibility in attracting major sports as it continues to grow in size and respectability as a market for professional teams.

    "If it doesn't work, it will be a black eye for Vegas for potential sports teams," Ferraro said.

    His better idea? It's not a new one -- professional basketball in Las Vegas.

    "I personally would be more interested in doing a basketball team than a baseball team because basketball has a track record there," Ferraro said, noting how fans supported UNLV through its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Success for an outfit such as the Gladiators is measured on a much different scale than it would be for the Expos. Ferraro said that given some anticipated improvement in sponsorship deals in 2005, the Gladiators can certainly be profitable for the first time in three years if they average 12,000 tickets sold per game.

    "We'll actually make a profit next year,"...
    -06-30-2004, 11:07 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Try To Get Fans Off Couch, Into Dome
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams try to get fans off couch, into dome

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Over the first four games of the season, local television ratings for the Rams were up 51 percent over 2009, the largest increase of any NFL team.

    Even with a diminished rating in Sunday's Meltdown in Motown a 44-6 loss in Detroit the Rams' average rating of 24.1 is the team's highest figure through five games since Scott Linehan's first Rams squad started 4-1 in 2006.

    (The ratings figure is the percentage of homes with a TV set in the St. Louis area watching the game.)

    With another home game this weekend, the challenge remains translating that television interest into ticket sales at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "How do we bridge that gap?" said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations.

    Demoff said between 5,000 and 7,500 tickets remain for each of the Rams' remaining five home games. Sunday's game against San Diego, the four-time defending AFC West champ, is in the 5,000 area of unsold tickets. So is the Dec. 19 contest with Show-Me State rival Kansas City.

    The Dec. 26 contest with San Francisco is in the 7,500 area, with the Oct. 31 Carolina game and the Nov. 21 Atlanta game somewhere in between. The Carolina game features the Isaac Bruce jersey retirement ceremony, and even if that game is televised locally, Demoff points out the Bruce ceremony won't be shown on live TV. You have to be in the stands to see it.

    The Rams used a combination of corporate sponsorship, buying up some unsold tickets themselves, and some giveaways and promotions to get the first three games of the season on local TV. Demoff said the team is hoping for a similar arrangement this week with the San Diego game.

    "We're going to be proactive trying to get every game on TV any way we can," Demoff said.

    With what so far has been a noticeably improved product, Detroit game notwithstanding, the Rams want to get as much exposure as possible for that product. But there's only so many times you can tap into corporate sponsors. And only so many times the Rams will buy up unsold tickets before games start getting blacked out.

    "And it's going to be a challenge without mass ticket buying," Demoff said.

    Group sales have picked up following the home victories against Washington and Seattle. But the needle isn't moving on single-game sales. During the preseason, when both Rams home games were blacked out, the team experienced a decent walkup crowd on game day. But that hasn't been the case during the regular season, probably because the three home games so far have been on local television.

    "It's nobody's responsibility to fill the dome but the Rams'," Demoff said. "And I would never chastise fans for not showing...
    -10-13-2010, 04:11 PM
  • txramsfan
    Tiger's Tourney draws criticism
    by txramsfan

    Criticism mounts over new event having short field
    By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
    March 8, 2007

    PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) -- Saying he was "insulted" by the prospect of Tiger Woods' new tournament being treated like an invitational, Rich Beem said he would rally players against the PGA Tour to make sure the event had a full field.

    "It's the most totally wrong thing I've heard of in a long time that's sticking it to the players," Beem said Thursday.

    PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said that the AT&T National, to be played July 5-8 in Washington with Woods as the host, likely would be considered along the lines of tournaments run by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer that have limited fields.

    The Memorial Tournament has a minimum of 105 players, while the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill has a minimum of 120 players, although 133 eligible players already have committed to play next week in Orlando.

    Finchem said several details have not been finalized for the tournament, which will be run by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

    "I've had some preliminary conversations with our board and I have to believe that we will work with Tiger and the foundation to fine-tune it," Finchem said at a press conference Wednesday. "But my guess is that at the end of the day, the field size will be commensurate with what you generally see in invitationals, which is a somewhat limited field."

    This caught several players by surprise.

    "I was shocked when I heard that," Brad Faxon said. "We've got players looking for spots, and we're replacing a tournament that had a full field. With the amount of tournaments we have that are invitationals, it doesn't make sense to do more."

    Other invitationals on the PGA Tour include the MCI Heritage and the Colonial. That doesn't include the three World Golf Championships.

    Faxon and Beem are part of the 16-member Player Advisory Council, which reports to the tour's policy board.

    PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said PAC input would be included before Finchem makes a formal recommendation to the policy board. The next scheduled meeting of the PAC is not until the end of April.

    This is the second time in the last five months that some players have felt Finchem spoke too soon.

    In November, the commissioner said the playoff events for the FedEx Cup this year would have 144-man fields, with players being mathematically eliminated from contention along the way, even though they could still tee it up. In a revolt led by Tom Pernice Jr., the tour changed course and decided to reduce the fields to 120 players, then 70 players until 30 players reached the...
    -03-10-2007, 04:39 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Big 12 pushes for 12 games
    by DJRamFan
    By Ivan Maisel

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two years ago, when the NCAA allowed a 12th game in certain years, depending on the calendar, most people believed it was the camel's nose under the tent to get the 12th game for good.

    On Tuesday, in his State of the Conference address, Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg announced the arrival of the rest of the camel. The conference has filed legislation with the NCAA that would allow I-A teams to expand their schedules to 12 games.

    "We thought it would be useful to have a dialogue about a 12th football game on an annual basis," Weiberg said at the Big 12 Kickoff. "We're putting this into the [NCAA legislative] system because we want a dialogue on it."

    Before the 2002 season, the NCAA passed legislation that allowed a 12th game in years in which the season includes 14 Saturdays. That happened in 2002 and 2003, but won't occur again until 2008. Thus teams will revert to an 11-game schedule this fall. However, the Big 12 would like to get that extra game of revenue every year, no matter what the calendar dictates.

    Weiberg said the league waited to file the legislation until the BCS restructured the postseason and added only the fifth game that the presidents demanded. The presidents have been traditionally opposed to expanding the season.

    "We are cognizant that the timing might not be right," Weiberg said. "From the standpoint of flexibility in scheduling, for the schools struggling to build attendance, struggling to build financially, we believe the 12th game will be a benefit. From a health and safety standpoint, it has not been a problem. If you talk to the athletes, they would prefer to see a little more competition and a little less practice."

    Weiberg said his league's presidents support the 12th game. Nationally, the I-A athletic directors support it. Whether that will translate into support at the presidential level, where the decision must be made, is unknown.

    Pacific-10 Conference assistant commissioner Jim Muldoon said Tuesday that the league's athletic directors voted to support a 12th game in a meeting last month, and to go back to their respective campuses and canvass their presidents. Stanford president John Hennessey, for instance, is so opposed to a 12th game that he refused to allow the Cardinal to play one in each of the past two seasons.

    But Muldoon said the Pac-10 is considering going from an eight- to a nine-game conference schedule, a full round robin. "The schools who don't want to do that would be fine with it if we went to 12 games," Muldoon said. "If we went to a 12th game, no one is losing a third nonconference game."

    A full round-robin avoids the situation in which two teams who...
    -07-21-2004, 08:32 AM