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Kim Ng left the Marlins last week, and because it happened early on a Monday morning and the team was the first to send out the news, there was little in the way of detail. We know now, though, that the Marlins attempted to hire someone to oversee their general manager after she managed to bring the Marlins record way up and help them to their first full-season postseason slot since the 2003 World Series championship campaign. (You can count 2020, by all means, but realize that if the season had been the length it was supposed to be, that team probably wasn’t playing ball in October.)
For Baseball Prospectus, I wrote about how this is just how the Marlins are: since their inception, they’ve been a team owned by one wealthy man after another who lacks the desire to invest in the team the way they need to be invested in. Wayne Huizenga did it for a minute in the 90s, long enough to win a championship, and Jeffrey Loria did it for a minute as a new stadium was opening up last decade, but that’s it: otherwise, they keep the payroll as low as the effort, and cash the checks the league sends them for being part of it. Current owner Bruce Sherman is especially guilty of this, and didn’t even wait to win a World Series before fully going in on this mode, either: he showed up, traded everyone of value who made real money, then attempted to hire someone to oversee his relatively successful GM to keep her from convincing him to spend ever again.
You need a subscription to be able to read the piece, so apologies if you don’t have one, but I’ve been a reader for decades even in the stretches where I don’t write or edit for them. It’s worth it!
The Las Vegas Review-Journal published its latest press release on the A’s stadium situation, this on the “first official business” of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board of Directors and the A’s:
During Wednesday’s meeting, the stadium authority will be presented the lease and community benefits agreements with the A’s, and Mortenson-McCarthy, the construction manager for the project, will give a presentation on stadium construction community engagement.
The agreements are part of several required to be made between the A’s and the stadium authority, per Senate Bill 1, the legislation that provides up to $380 million in public funds toward the construction of the $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat ballpark.
The other agreement that will need to be completed that is not on next week’s agenda is the non-relocation agreement. That’s scheduled to be for 30 years, the same as the planned lease agreement.
That “non-relocation agreement” is worth spotlighting for a moment, as it’s not necessarily what it says it is. There can be a non-relocation agreement and it can mean something, but only if the A’s don’t receive the state-of-the-art clause in their lease that they said would be a necessity, back when they were first trying to push a stadium bill through the various Nevada governments. So we might be in for a fight there, but considering every authority figure in Nevada has given in to the A’s on everything they’ve demanded so far, maybe not!
What’s a state-of-the-art clause, you ask? It essentially forces the state, county, city, whatever to fund future renovations for a stadium, and if they do not do so in a way the team believes fits their needs, they can break their lease and relocate. The St. Louis Rams became the Los Angeles Rams once again through a state-of-the-art clause, and the Brewers just $471 million approved by the Wisconsin assembly to renovate American Family Field because of their own clause, with owner Mark Attanasio chipping in just $100 million of his own money to renovate the stadium.
Neil deMause has the details at Field of Schemes:
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, meanwhile, would put in $100 million toward renovations, meaning he’d be on the hook for less than one-fifth of the costs while reaping all of the revenue benefits. He would, however, extend his stadium lease from 2030 to 2050 and stop spreading anonymous rumors that the team could move to Nashville, and that was apparently enough for the assembly to consider it $471 million in tax money well spent: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said, “It’s simple math. If the Brewers leave, dollars follow,” which, yeah, gotta say, not as much as you think.
To circle back for a second, all of this is to say that the A’s-Vegas saga is far from over: they haven’t even had their relocation approved by the other owners yet, John Fisher still hasn’t secured the other many, many dollars he needs to build this 30,000-seat stadium in Vegas, and even if he does secure it, 10 or 15 years down the road, halfway through the lease, he can whine his way into either hundreds of millions more in public money, or up and leave Vegas behind like he did Oakland. Don’t think that’s likely? Might I remind you of how he’s discussing the still-new stadium his San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer play in, a few years after that opened up.
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