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MLB still optimistic about Marlins ballpark

      Major League Baseball is still optimistic the Marlins – despite the lawsuit filed by Norman Braman against the City of Miami – will get a new ballpark, and MLB president and CEO Bob DuPuy said Tuesday Braman’s claim the Marlins were $150 million in debt was simply not true.

“That statement was flat inaccurate,’’ said DuPuy, who believes the Marlins will survive the suit and eventually get the ballpark built on the Orange Bowl site. Braman is trying to stop the City of Miami’s $3 billion “megaplan,” which includes funding for a new ballpark for the Marlins.

“A few weeks ago I would have told you I was more concerned than I am now, given the judge’s preliminary ruling,’’ DuPuy said. “The lawsuit is an unfortunate delay. It’s one that I think should not have happened. But we do see it as a bump in the road and we remain guardedly optimistic that the commissioners will approve the definitive document and we will get a ballpark done.’’

DuPuy said MLB did not try to approach Braman in the early stages to try to derail the lawsuit.

“No one in baseball to my knowledge spoke directly to Norman Braman, and he didn’t reach out to us. We obviously have spoken with the team and the lawyers and are willing to help, but we have not talked to Norman Braman,’’ DuPuy said. “Nothing I read suggested he had any interest in being persuaded, and it’s obviously a broader attack than just the stadium. It’s on the entire global plan, and that’s local politics.’’

            The lawsuit also is creating a problem with the delay of construction, and even MLB is starting to become worried about the target date of a 2011 opening for the new ballpark.

“Because of the lawsuit that’s (2011) getting tight,’’ DuPuy said.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who spoke to the Baseball Writers of America Association Tuesday afternoon, joked when he was asked about Braman’s lawsuit.

“I would like to make a sarcastic remark about Norman Braman, but I won’t,’’ Selig said. “People seem to be reasonably optimistic that this is going to be settled…and it will be a great story.

“We have made some made some major comebacks in areas like Minnesota, but Florida may stand as the ultimate triumph. I’m hopeful that that matter will be resolved.’’

Tampa Bay’s attendance has soared this season because the Rays are winning, but the Marlins, who are only 1 ½ games out of first place, have seen no gains in attendance and are still last in baseball. Many believe there is so much apathy toward the team not even a new ballpark will bring in fans.

DuPuy said MLB has always believed baseball will work in South Florida.

“Because it has historically been a good market for college baseball, and historically been a good market for youth baseball,’’ DuPuy said. “You wonder if the team did too well in winning two world championships as early in their history as they did.

“We believe that solving the climate problem and coming up with a ballpark that is a destination point and having development around the at area will solve the problem,’’ DuPuy said.

“What’s good is the television ratings are very good, which means people are watching the games,’’ he said. “There are fans down there. They’re just not attending the games. We think a roofed facility will induce them to come to the games.

“There’s no team that has that kind of (TV to attendance) ratio. They are unique,” said DuPuy, who could think of only one other similar case in baseball history. “Cleveland was like that back before they got their new ball park. Cleveland was a good baseball market. They had great TV ratings and they didn’t draw flies, and when the new ballpark came they sold out for four years.’’

DuPuy even believes the Marlins fans who live in North Broward and Palm Beach will make the drive to Miami at because the new ballpark will have a roof.

“They will be going against the traffic and they are going to know the game is gong to start at 7 o’clock and they’re going to know the game is going to be over and there’s not going to be a rain delay, and there are going to be restaurants around there, and we’re hoping it will induce people to come to the ballpark,’’ he said.

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Comments

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tedhill

That is a good point about Cleveland. They had poor attendance up until Jacobs Field was built. I also agree with the argument the Marlins do have fans, just not many of them attend games. The Fish have supposedly always had very good TV ratings.

abe

I believe the Marlins have the fan base in south florida. What this organization needs is stability and a new stadium will provide that to the fans.

sean

I think a new stadium with a retractable roof will solve a lot of problems. When you go to games in the summer its either ridiculously sunny and hot, or its pooring rain, or both. No more rain delays, no more people walking out of the stadium with heat exhaustion, no more problems. Also, when 30,000 show up to the game it will look good because we wont be playing in a stadium that seats 70,000+...

Marlins Fan

Get Norman Braman out of here...Time marches on and this guy is doing everything he can to be a pain in the ass for everyone involved.

The Marlins need a new stadium. This is the closest they have ever been and if this lawsuit ends up stalling or completely derailing the project it will be a tragedy.

Brett

Just to throw in my two cents. Maybe they should re purpose some of the package (i.e. the tunnel which people didn't like, but use that money on the schools, or re purpose some of the other money set aside), but they shouldn't eliminate the stadium. Right now the Florida economy is in dire need of jobs, and a huge boost to jump start the economy. A stadium would do just that, it would start by the construction of the stadium and that would give hundreds of jobs to people.

Also after the stadium is built, there will be many different positions available inside of the stadium to help continue regular stadium operations. Also, there will most likely be a shift in where future restaurants and other businesses will choose a location, they would likely want to be closer to the stadium, making people spend more money.

Lastly, the stadium will likely host an all star game in the near future. Records from other stadiums say that the all star game helps pour money into the local economy of the stadium because there are so many different events. That would help Miami become an even bigger hot spot for tourists.

Rob

The problem most people don't know is that most of the money that is being used to fund these projects comes from tourist taxes and therefore can ONLY be used to further promote tourism. so enough with all the "this money should go to a better cause" talk. If it could've, I'm sure we wouldn't be talking about a marlin's stadium or tunnels or street cars.

Miguel Calderon

I think Norman Braman needs to get a life. all he wants is more money then he already has. The Marlins new ballpark will bring fans, and WILL sell out foe quite some time, it will be a new facility, a new place to hang out and drink some beers relaxing an watching a game knowing Florida's inclement weather wont stop basball from happening in south florida. Everyday in the news they say "today theres chances of rain here and there"that stops people from coming. This Marlins stadium will bring people to see this new site. its awesome for the city, it attracts more tourists, it could be used for concerts, Hurricane shelter*, etc. this would be the most exciting event that could happen here in south florida, Braman, you will be a complete ass, if you take this away from the marlins fanatics, as the result will be the Florida Marlins leaving the state. theres a good chance that we might not get it, becuase of this unnecesary lawsuit, but theres an even greater chance that we might. i was Heartbroken and pissed when i heard about this, and i bet others were too. so lets stop this nonsense, believe that it WILL happen, and lets play some ball!
Norman Bramen, people will hate you*

Condoms for Sarah Palin

A VERY SERIOUS CONCERN THAT YOU ALL SHOULD HAVE:

Miami and the Dade County School system just this past week are in a major crisis because they have no money and are cutting programs and are in a impasse with shouting matches. And it is all because of budgets and money and whether the school system can continue to operate or not.

And it is under this scenario that the politicians of that city are considering opening up the coffers to give hundreds of millions of dollars so that the Marlins can have a free stadium where no one from Broward or Palm Beach counties will bother to go. IF YOU CARE ABOUT SCHOOLS AND WHETHER THE CHILDREN SHOULD HAVE THE MONEY or it should be GIVEN TO BASEBALL MILLIONAIRES ...... SPEAK UP.

Sell the team to someone who can afford to own a team.

Someone sent me a couple of links to articles that discuss the misconceptions of such use of public funds for building new stadiums for millionaire owners and millionaire players. Take a look at two related articles that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED published recently on this subject and you can see for yourself what has happened recently with similar projects in other cities:

The Links to Sports Illustrated Articles:

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1140877/index.htm

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1127640/index.htm

The fallacy that a new stadium helps brings many "good" jobs and better economic prosperity to a community seems to be just that, a big fallacy, because after the initial curiosity and novelty wears off in the part of the public, the few jobs that a new stadium brings are temporary, part time and entry level-minimum wage variety. They are not solid middle class building jobs on which someone can support a family.


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