A few newsbytes as the week begins:
- Matier and Ross report that the 49ers are gunning for a 2014 opening of the Santa Clara stadium, even though the finances – especially the stadium builder licenses – aren’t ironed out yet.
- One of the reasons the CEQA/EIR process exists in California is that municipalities and citizens can identify issues that need to be addressed and take care of them early. In Miami, the Marlins ballpark is being built with no significant new transit infrastructure in an area that desperately needs it. The Orange Bowl/Little Havana neighborhood is at least 2,000 spaces short of what should be supplied for a full house, and on-site parking totals well less than 5,000 spaces. The nearest Metrorail station is almost a mile away, and shuttles to take fans from that station and other parts of Miami are currently unfunded.
- Speaking of transit, the California High Speed Rail project will face renewed scrutiny with the release of an updated (and final) business plan on Tuesday. The Merc’s Mike Rosenberg paints a pessimistic view, as federal funding has dried up and has made continuation of the project an extremely difficult decision. So far, $650 million has been spent on planning and engineering studies.
- Side note: If HSR goes down in flames, the combined cost of that project and the shuttered Solyndra plant in Fremont would be $1.1 Billion. That would pay for the 49ers stadium and change, or an A’s ballpark in Oakland/San Jose and a Sacramento Kings arena. Before you scoff, know that the total annual revenue for just the NFL and MLB combined ($16 Billion) surpasses that of the movie industry – box office and DVD sales – on an annual basis ($15 Billion).
- Not only are the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees forced to spend the year barnstorming while their ballpark is renovated, they won’t be able to keep the Yankees team name in the future. The Yankees brand is to be exclusive to the club in the Bronx. The same will go for all of the other Yankees minor league affiliates. Way to keep it in the family, Steinbrenners.
- Commissioner Bud Selig may have to determine the proper compensation for the Red Sox allowing Theo Epstein to escape to the Cubs, since the two teams can’t come up with mutually agreeable terms on their own.
- Wondering if Selig will actually retire after his contract ends in 2012? The establishment of an office at his old alma mater in Madison might be the ticket. Selig apparently wants to write his memoirs and participate in the history department at Wisconsin, including the hiring of a professor to teach the history of sports.
- In addition to Selig’s endowed chair, three members of The Lodge (baseball team owners) also set up a scholarship in the names of Selig and his wife, Suzanne, as part of the university’s Great People Scholarship program. The owners? Three who are incredibly indebted and linked to Selig: fraternity brother Lew Wolff, current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio (who bought the team from a trust headed by Selig’s daughter), and Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner (who was a major beneficiary of the three way Boston-Florida-Montreal ownership swap deal). What do you get for a man who has everything? A scholarship in his name, of course! Now that’s a going away present.
- One thing to keep in mind regarding Occupy Oakland: the horrific injury suffered by Iraq War veteran and Wisconsin native Scott Olsen will almost assuredly result in a lawsuit against Oakland/OPD, one which is not likely to come out well for the City. Whenever that judgement is rendered, it’ll be more money that Oakland simply doesn’t have for projects such as an Oakland ballpark.
- On the bright side, the Oakland Tribune and other local papers will keep their names after all.
- Tony LaRussa goes out on top.
Good stuff to come later in the week.