Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Back on the table?

Almost a year since I last wrote about this new proposed stadium, word is now out that the Potomac Nationals have hired a sports marketing firm to solicit naming-rights bids. Above is the proposed design, which calls for a 6,500-seat facility at a price tag of roughly $23 million.

As he promised last year at the annual Hot Stove Dinner, P-Nats principal owner Art Silber is insisting that he can cut the price tag roughly in half by selling the naming rights for about $12 million over a 10-year period. Reportedly, the county has agreed to split the cost with Silber, et al with the naming rights offsetting the county's portion.

What's not clear in the stories is the terms of the deal as it relates to lease that must surely accompany a deal like this. Presumably, it would be at least 10 years, if not 20 or 25. Naturally, I'm excited, but until I see them breaking ground, I'm suspicious that this will really happen.

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The Hot Stove Banquet this year was a different affair than last year's. Minus the snow, and not occurring on the same weekend as the NFL conference championships, there was a much larger turnout. The keynote speaker was also much better.

Stan Kasten certainly showed why some folks are excited about him bringing over the energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge that helped turn the Atlanta Braves from a laughingstock in the late 1980s to a perennial contender by the early 1990s.

I suspect it will take much longer for the turnaround to happen. I just can't see how ignoring the low minors for five-plus seasons can be overcome all that quickly. But I think this year just might be the first where the 20-22 year-olds will finally outnumber the 24-26 year-olds on the roster, especially if the pitchers at Vermont make it here this season as Kasten promises.

79 Days Until Opening Day...