what does hyzaar vantin legal in england ordering albendazole canada generic from azulfidine buy dutas mexican pharmacies what does phenergan container store why is there a shortage of zestril lioresal doctors online discount canadian pharmacy ephedraxin buy phenamax hong kong purchase fucidin on line in usa lady era 10 mg cost yasmin class action in canada buying prometrium online can order mycelex-g canada where to get propecia in uk where to buy tretinoin cream uk omeprazole capsules side effects disfuncion erectil tratamiento natural benadryl online australia monavie acai berry price azithromycin 250 mg pak tab sandoz aarp medicare medication prior authorization form hyzaar combination can order pulmicort canada buy tadalafil uk lisinopril reviews users cheap cialis 20mg online best online site to buy generic viagra hctz 12.5 lisinopril 20mg tab buy topamax astrailia cheap generic viagra overnight delivery reminyl uk brand name mirapex sale wellbutrin sr online usa no prescription levaquin cost cvs can i buy phenergan over the counter cephalexin sold over counter buy lamictal 5 mg comprar voveran sr online weight gain pills that work what is amoxil 500mg www.canadian-pharmacy24h.com what are the side effects of lasix in dogs brand biaxin for sale buy maxalt mg online hydrocholorthiazide without a prescription lukol without script citalopram dosage recommended zyprexa online usa trust pharmacy viagra safe reglan buy cheapest zetia online home insurance uk levitra super active ships from india dilantin low dose birth control nexium tablets spc cheap arava is it illegal to order generic augmentin cooperativa puerto rico rincon vente de revatio au quebec rx relief card best place to buy nizoral in mexico online pharmacy uk capoten zyvox over counter why has geriforte been discontinued cost of cymbalta in australia cheap florinef pills pharmacy buy hyaluronic acid tablets online topomax without a prescription vytorin price philippines zyloprim delivery uk sumycin shortage 2012 topamax over the counter india hoodia low dose birth control mentat legal in england best price for real brand levitra side effects of azithromycin sandoz valtrex direct pharmacy comprar viagra en chile order cabgolin prograf online uk cost of abilify 10mg lasix side effects sodium what is methocarbamol 750 birth control pills terramycin buy acai berry uk buy diet pills online canada all pills shop discount cheap allegra india methotrexate and folic acid dose buy omnicef no prescription fast delivery prometrium prices at costco kamagra gold pills drugstore generic pills for asacol didronel delivery uk best site to buy erythromycin where to place nitroglycerin patch colchicine overseas buy kytril inhaler canada list of tesco stores selling rocaltrol sale vasotec how to buy arjuna in canada cheap midamor uk valtrex over the counter equivalent tetracycline dosages acne generic cleocin gel switzerland cheapest pure acai berry aleve d online buy capoten australia buy online probalan generic purchase elocon in mexico comprar flomax en argentina asthma inhalers without prescriptions side effects of levlen pill non persciption nitroglycerin what does vc mean in phenergan vc mba jobs in pharmaceutical companies in india best way to get pain pills from dr where to diamox ultra low dose citalopram elavil lawsuit settlements where to buy imuran in canada safely typical starting dose of synthroid raclet allegra for sale birth control pills lanoxin medicine cozaar losartan augmentin 375mg tablets emc fluconazole 50 mg and alcohol buy extendaquin pills allies web canadian forces links voltaren retard 75mg tablets pharmacy chains in ontario canada zyban pharmacy wholesale kamagra oral jelly sildenafil non prescription kamagra walmart pharmacy discount medications buy lasix from mexico online extendaquin pills sweat my zenegra coupons finpecia finasteride 1 mg 10 tablets buy generic minocin online with prescription seroquel 200 mg 60 film tablet luvox online from usa cheap levitra plus buy online best erection medication market what is atenolol medication kamagra oral jelly prices usa macrodantin nitrofurantoin dosage can you buy viagra india insulin resistance treatment diclofenac gel buy on line cialis sales uk 20mg buy tetracycline mexican pharmacies order cialis soft cheap where to buy dapoxetine colchicine no prescription needed buy plavix online usa buy ditropan online reviews does cialis have long term side effects order rosuvastatin in crestor online mobic prescription drugs cost of doxycycline without insurance amoxil overnight delivery comprar septilin portugal adalat hindi serial sony plavix dosage too high which is the best antibiotic for uti buy levitra 20mg online pariet uses medication original methotrexate online pet allies show low az directions buy amlodipine besylate online zyvox paypal paxil uk cipro over counter canada buy rumalaya gel online overnight erythromycin indian manufacturers purchase metformin hydrochloride side effects of red panax ginseng extract best price for real levothroid cephalexin noprescrition needed canada online pharmacy purchase vpxl in mexico best cialis professional prices cheapest ayurslim uk brand name allegra over the counter dosage metoprolol generic for lopressor sildenafil citrate 100mg and dapoxetine 60mg gold vigra review purchase lisinopril online acquistare proventil in italia pink viagra in india how much does seroquel cost in canada discount isoniazid buy ampicillin bacterial infections buy skelaxin generic is there a real generic for viagra zoloft 75 mg tablet citalopram 40 mg tiredness buy alligator garr generic avapro drug reglan tablets dose bupron sr online ordering piracetam uk seller cymbalta cost comparison order nootropil pill why has terramycin been discontinued do i need a prescription for zovirax cream there generic form minocycline minocycline better than doxycycline acne propecia hair loss dosage buy valtrex without hydrochlorothiazide tablets india betnovate gm price mobic not generic cialis soft shop net buy nitrofurantoin 100mg online serpina order in the us cheapest canadian drugstore what is the drug zyrtec used for where prometrium where purchase colospa low income housing alliance conference washington state donde comprar lisinopril current price metoclopramide use betoptic coupon online eli lilly cymbalta lawsuit exelon corporation dividend alli in canada what is suhagra used for nexium side effects dizziness augmentin costco price buy paroxetine apotex acquisto sinemet sicuro online risperdal .25 mg tablet speman no prescription needed nolvadex pct how long does tetracycline interfere with birth control pills cymbalta 40 mg dose combivent nebuliser nolvadex lowest priceonline ciprofloxacin side effects bnf methotrexate online usa no prescription can you buy ventolin over counter france where to buy viagra over the counter in canada cheap nolvadex uk buy micardis line nizagara birth control online mexico prescription nexium 40mg where can i order retin a that ship to south africa cialis vs viagra blog gonorrhea medication online can i get zyban macrodantin nitrofurantoin alcohol aldactone cheap canada pharmacy where to buy cialis in toronto canada keftab tablets 150 mg chloromycetin overnight pharmacy side effects of claritin 24 hour allergy all types gyne-lotrimin pills depo medrol quanto costa premarin price in india how long does it take for wellbutrin sr to work anacin in the uk now low dose naltrexone crohn;s celebrex generico mexico clozaril discontinued is generic yagara effective i missed my dose of paxil in-house pharmacy uk purchase lorazepam online no prescription how long does levitra last vs cialis vs viagra generic eurax uk paypal where to alliance spend honor points testosterone therapy dosage for women lanoxin to buy from europe buy chloramphenicol 5 printable coupons for voltaren gel cheap rx 8 insurance where to purchase promethazine codeine syrup how to use nexium esomeprazole cheapest nexium azithromycin better than erythromycin aricept ships from india low cost overnight altace ampicillin where to purchase cheap generic kamagra gold liquid ponstel review buy avapro 150 mg online rosuvastatin 40 mg tablet midamor spain over counter can you buy inhalers over counter ventolin here is pulmicort legal in uk propecia 100mg cheap alli not working anymore where to purchase isoptin cytoxan spain over counter gasex brand positioning buy online no prescription brand levitra online pharmacy market germany lisinopril rx benadryl online pharmacy uk zanaflex pills online in the india cafergot where to get bystolic cost can you buy baclofen online meclizine lawsuit canada over the counter synthroid substitute what is sustiva for how often to use proventil tetracycline generic for fast torsemide deleviery paxil lawsuit settlement 2012 where to buy glucophage with echeck buy ambien no prescription lasix usa customer reviews on generic viagra cheapest place to buy aldactone where alli is mail order imuran safe ordering viagra extremely buy tramadol cod saturday delivery purchase coreg canada premarin cost canadian ordering prescription medicines online best place to buy alligator clips canadian albuterol sulfate inhalation solution 0.083 expiration zithromax 5 day pack craigslist manchester united tickets amoxil noprescrition needed usa online pharmacy anacin usa cvs prices dems reject amendment to ban viagra for sex offenders tenormin online overnight shipping buy differin usa generic diclofenac potassium tablets anacin shortage canada buy hyzaar online canada buy prevacid 15mg online where does lasix work in the kidney arimidex tablets alcohol comprar atrovent pela internet buy bystolic generic order diovan overnight atorvastatin vs simvastatin dosage can you get asacol canadian online pharmacy using paypal arimidex max dose where to buy viagra in auckland what is cozaar can you buy zebeta pharmacy is rumalaya legal in uk ortho tri-cyclen generic name accutane australia price my canadian pharm vpxl on line buy confido himalaya viagra in uk buy canadianpharmacymeds com legitimate purchase isoniazid in canada acheter pas cher vpxl where to buy cheap generic propranolol order singulair 10mg order erection packs 1 from canadian pharmacy online i pill rosuvastatin website drug cheap amitriptyline without food dose flagyl dogs purchase inderal 10mg acheter pas cher yagara how long does it take for cymbalta to work for back pain symptoms of withdrawal from trazodone insomnia what is probalan made of levitra sales uk drug cialis mg mexico buy accutane with isotretinoin generic tadalis sx refill pack migraine medicine similar to topamax herbal viagra in bangladesh ginseng rxlist can buy antibiotics online uk azithromycin cialis super active doctors online uk version of medrol paxil for sale online revista palermo blanca online coumadin without script buy brahmi tea haldol cost without insurance to buy vasotec in uk claritin online forum buy cheap prescription over the counter overnight generic adalat anacin shop net how good is cialis for women decadron 4 mg what is doxycycline 100mg capsule accutane rx requirements altace prices cvs can i get over the counter antibiotics for uti amitriptyline on line purchase there generic brand propecia blount discount pharmacy gill st hyaluronic acid tablets australia generic medrol uk paypal drugs buy elimite online vytorin tablets on line to buy is it legal to buy viagra online in usa penicillin online no prescription nizoral no prescription overnight delivery buy bactrim tablets usa euro meds online pharmacy fertomid refills oral antifungal medicine for thrush anacin from europe buy revatio with e check johnson and johnson retin a 0.05 cream cicloferon aciclovir spray para que sirve women taking viagra recreationally trileptal for sale philippines long time side effects dostinex cheap artane no prescription bupropion australia ephedraxin order in the us flagyl oral tablet 500 mg is there a drug comparative to femara buy vermox with no rx purchasing acai online buy elavil in singapore can you get inhalers over the counter uk what is atarax pharmacy that sells evecare generic tramadol no prescription cod hcg pharmacies in broward county is hydrea available over the counter recommended dosage of metformin for pcos do over the counter water pills work for high blood pressure can you buy viagra with no prescription baclofen drug store online danazol pharmacy order zyrtec long time side effects bromocriptine mesylate dosage orlistat price us safe vasotec buy nootropil by mail where can you buy prednisone can you just take powder amoxicillin buy lantus online cheap clindamycin dosage for bv prednisone med pack dosage order amitriptyline no prescription coupon for advair diskus 500 50 can you buy painkillers online strattera canada no prescription strattera daily use reviews how to get prescribed painkillers online cane you order periactin canadian suppliers of caverta in us buy tinidazole astrailia purchasing viagra professional online uk alli capsules 42 pack generic serpina safe effexor xr canada no prescription buy cialis soft online mexico no prescription buy rumalaya 100mg online buy amitriptyline tablets www.canadapharmacy24hr.com low price betnovate uk acheter un livre pas cher buy himcocid pills online do i need a prescription for arimidex buy levitra online with prescription atorlip 10 mg buy over the counter abilify online zestril generic lisinopril where can you get mentats purchase premarin in canada best price for depakote ginseng generic cheap costs coreg australia buy vasodilan no prescription cialis 20mg lilly 12 st fta buy depakote 200 how to import baclofen generic form of inderal donde puedo comprar atrovent benadryl online lisinopril without food motilium from usa pharmacy suhagra tablets us online buy alphagan 15mg online why was elavil discontinued buy narcotics online enhancement drugs effects levaquin tablets for sale generic pills for levlen cost of asacol 400 mg cheap atarax minipress order on web generic dutasteride buy where was broadchurch filmed itv generic citalopram overnite shipping viagra super active refill pack buy buspar visa maxaman prescription coupon what is keflex 500mg prescribed for acai with green tea capsules 1500mg canadian men's medicine buy zerit mg buy levaquin 10 probalan online pharmacy uk best anxiety pills for flying what are the side effects of stopping fosamax ampicillin tablets from buy buy kamagra online review drug best generic zovirax sites how to take duphalac mg tegretol 200 mg 160 tablet fiyat? finax finasteride side effects periactin 100mg tablet tenormin 25 mg where to buy in usa where to buy cytotec pills aspirin 500 mg price levothroid weight loss seroflo uk online arjuna online coupon code robaxin high bluelight etodolac on line no script what is voltaren forte 50 mg buy actos online in usa how long does viagra side effects last do you need prescription anxiety pills prescription drug atrovent cheap canadian pharmacy doxycycline aldactone tablets high blood pressure metoclopramide tablets msds bactrim pills for acne artane tablets uses best place to buy viagra plus in canada paroxetine usa pharmacy erythromycin 250mg capsules uroxatral spain how much is doxycycline tablets where to buy protonix online mexico Purchase erythromycin 250mg tablets triamterene cheap buy trazodone without rx diakof online forum click here what is ampicillin resistance protein thalidomide disaster canadian viagra online fedex viagra plus daily use reviews januvia prescribing information uk aciphex non drug generic rabeprazole apcalis sx no prescription reviews where to get arimidex can you get aleve in canada beat way to order mobic cheap aciphex cheap canadian pharmacy generic prevacid india viagra plus order buying capoten for dogs liquid pamelor review buy actonel 10 sumycin buy canada windsor-canada-pharmacy advair 500 diskus side effects buy alli 15mg online elocon wanted online review rhinocort aqua discount coupon antibiotics alcohol amoxicillin buy celexa online uk drug market order flonase erectile dysfunction treatment options-pumps exelon patch discounts arimidex pharmacies prescription canadian phenergan low dose birth control i pill zoloft website generic altace for sale uk differin online in usa levitra for sale in canada are water pills safe serpina discount voucher ordering cialis legally online pulmicort turbuhaler can order duphalac canada tramadol online no prescription uk tadapox ordering no prescription buy himplasia australia buy kamagra jellyfish online uk aleve tablets us online generic viagra reviews forum 100mg online pharmacy accutane treatment for acne regenon retard effet secondaire indocin side effects weight gain what drugs are legal in europe sinemet 40 mg pharmacy buy atacand from canada lincocin generic wikipedia drugs buy lozol in uk zanaflex vs soma high feldene tablets side effects can you get viagra at walmart premarin dosage and administration generic lotrisone in usa generic actonel safe ditropan cost in canada buspar prices usa where can i buy nolvadex-d arimidex lawsuit canada atrovent nebulizer dosage pediatric online click here discount haridra how long does liquid cialis take to kick in what does elimite prilosec australia price dapoxetine direct pharmacy how much is accutane in canada best place to order dipyridamole in us low cost tadacip luvox discount card discount feldene of canada atacand generico online best place to buy chloromycetin online valtrex rx number side effects of cytotec for induction of labor ashwagandha mg tablet flagyl and alcohol reaction cardura drug store online generic accutane from india us online pharmacy no prescription clonidine naprosyn barato trusted rx today us can you buy suprax over the counter cafergot online usa no prescription i pill dostinex website citalopram now co uk reviews on ciplox cheap cytotec confido prescription coupon lowest price alesse reviews on dilantin buy haridra perth australia propecia reviews uk cheap nitrofurantoin india generic buy cheap levothyroxine sodium flovent diskus how to use alli prescription drug listen to purim music online finpecia medicine effects buy extendaquin australia how long to use evista retin-a gel order alligator pharmacy cvs pharmacy online training us pharmacies online that sell voltaren cleocin dosage forms lotensin hct reviews mail order fluoxetine what does requip pill look like lerk umbra does tricare pay for viagra robaxin online bestellen what does valtrex pill look like antabuse generic wikipedia drugs triamterene side effects rash india triamterene price lamisil tablets 250mg used for
Home Pete Toms LWIB: Renovating Wrigley, MLB and Identity Fraud, Plus Tidbits

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 342 guests online

Atom RSS

LWIB: Renovating Wrigley, MLB and Identity Fraud, Plus Tidbits PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 8
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Monday, 15 February 2010 12:56

This week in “Last Week in BizBall”, renovating Wrigley Field, MLB attempts to curb identity fraud amongst Latin American prospects and brief tidbits.

RENOVATING WRIGLEY

LWIB the new owners of the Chicago Cubs announced the particulars of the initial phase of what are expected to be extensive renovations to historic Wrigley Field. Speculation has long been that the entire Wrigley Field renovation would be completed in 2014, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the ballpark. The anniversary and completion of the renovations have been expected to culminate in the Cubs hosting the All Star Game in 2014. Increasing revenues from Wrigley Field is obviously essential to the Cubs new ownership as they service the debt on their approximately $850 million purchase comprised of the franchise, Wrigley Field and a 25% stake in CSN Chicago. Judged in the broader context of the entirety of the planned Wrigley renovations (aka “the 2014 plan”) some viewed last week’s announcement as relatively minor and a bit disappointing. Some are questioning if the Ricketts family debt burden associated with the purchase of the franchise will prevent them from completing the “2014 plan” within the original timeframe.

Don Muret reported last week in the SportsBusiness Journal that the first major change the Ricketts family will make to Wrigley Field is the introduction of a high end, all-inclusive “Executive Club” that will accommodate 71 season-ticket holders. The packages will sell for $24,300 per seat. Mr. Muret points out that this type of seating is part of a larger trend in high end stadium seating. Businesses are less inclined to lease entire suites and franchises across the “big 4” are reacting by introducing larger high end spaces which are “shared” by diverse groups of ticket holders .

The “Executive Club” (the Cubs are expected to announce a naming-rights partner for the space) wasn’t the only news LWIB surrounding plans to generate more revenues from Wrigley Field in 2010. Paul Sullivan reported for the Chicago Tribune on the Cubs plans for presently unused space under the right field bleachers:

The Cubs are following the lead of the Red Sox, opening up the space underneath the right-field bleachers for corporate pregame events and for bleacher fans who may want to come down during the game to watch the action on flat-screen TVs.

A pane of one-way glass will separate fans from the right-field batting cage, allowing them to watch batting practice in the area.

A few years ago, the Red Sox added TVs and food stands to the unused area underneath the right-field bleachers at Fenway Park, and it proved to be a big success.

LWIB, Ed Sherman blogged for Crain’s Chicago Business that the new owners are still considering the previously floated idea of erecting advertising signage in the left field bleachers. As Mr. Sherman points out, increasing revenues at the ballpark while not alienating the Wrigley faithful is a fine line that the new owners will continually walk as the process of renovating the ballpark plays out:

The Cubs say any proposed signs wouldn't conflict with their agreements with rooftop owners. The signs, though, would block out TV camera angles that show an ad for Horseshoe Casino in a building across the street. The Cubs aren't happy with that ad.

However, the first signs to appear in the bleachers definitely would cause quite a reaction. I told Mr. Hayward I (and I suspect many others) think they would change the look of the ballpark. (Note: Hayward is Wally Hawyard, the Cubs senior marketing executive)

AND

It'll be fascinating to watch the new owners and their dance between maximizing revenue opportunities and maintaining the tradition and charm of their new playground. Stay tuned for their decision on this one.

Media reports LWIB pegged the cost of the initial round of Wrigley Field renovations in the range of $10 million. However the timeline of the much more ambitious and expensive “2014 plan” ( cost estimates range from $200 - $250 million) featuring the construction of the “Triangle Building”, appears less clear. Last month, Cubs president Crane Kenney reaffirmed the Ricketts family’s commitment to the 2014 plan during an address at the “Cubs Convention“. More recently, some pundits have mused that the Cubs new ownership will be less active in the near future than originally envisioned. LWIB, Ballpark Digest reported that, “New Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and crew are bypassing the ambitious Wrigley 2014 renovation plan for now and will instead work on a series of cosmetic changes to Wrigley Field costing far less….” Earlier this month, Mike Ozanian of Forbes reported that MLB bent their rules governing acceptable debt levels to facilitate the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family. According to Mr. Ozanian, “…Major League Baseball winked at some $200 million the Ricketts family loaned the team for working capital and ballpark improvements.” Mr. Ozanian went on to express concern over the amount of debt the new owners must service and if it is already restricting management’s options in operating the franchise. Speculation around the Ricketts family’s ability to complete the “2014 plan” on schedule is not new. Last summer Fran Spielman wrote about the prospects for the “2014 plan” for the Chicago Sun-Times:

Known as Wrigley 2014, the plan calls for new concourses, washrooms, concessions, skyboxes and a club seating lounge.

Adjacent to the ballpark, the team would finally develop the so-called triangle building and turn the street in between into a Fenway Park-style pedestrian promenade bustling with shops and restaurants.

The five-story triangle building promised to Wrigleyville residents in exchange for a bleacher expansion was supposed to house a 400-space garage, upscale restaurants, retail stores and rooftop garden and below-ground batting cages, pitching mounds and player workout facilities.

The $100 million building has since been redesigned to include more retail and office space at the expense of parking, with a stadium club replacing the rooftop garden. A smaller garage could be built on less valuable land away from Wrigley.

AND

But after paying nearly $900 million for the Cubs and struggling to secure debt in a worldwide credit crunch, how extensive of a renovation would the Ricketts family be able to afford or be willing to bankroll?

There has been no renewed public discussion amongst Chicago pols of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority investing in Wrigley Field since the departure of the disgraced Rod Blagojevich but that has not quelled the speculation. In reporting on the then pending sale of the Cubs, Josh Peters wrote for Yahoo! Sports in September:

Taxpayers kicked in $400 million for the Chicago Bears’ revamped stadium that re-opened in 2003, and the new Cubs owner could seek public help for a vast renovation that those involved in the deal say would cost between $200 million and $400 million.

Nobody is claiming that the “2014 plan” is dead or that the Ricketts family ownership of the Cubs is destined to fail. However the events of last week might indicate that “2014” is off to an inauspicious start.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE DETAILS ON MLB'S ATTEMPTS TO CURB IDENTITY FRAUD IN LATIN AMERICA AND OTHER TIDBITS

MLB ATTEMPTS TO CURB IDENTITY FRAUD IN LATIN AMERICA

This off season Baseball America ranked OF Jose Tabata as the #2 prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. According to BA, “He has the potential to be an all-star right fielder if his power develops.” BA lists Tabata’s birth date as August 1988. LWIB brought reports that Tabata might in fact be in his mid 20’s. Rob Neyer wrote for ESPN about the problem this poses for the Pirates:

According to his passport, Tabata turned 21 last August. At the time, he was playing for Triple-A Indianapolis. He wasn't playing particularly well, but well enough for a newly minted 21-year-old. If he turned 23 or 24, though? Well then he's just another prospect who might or might not wind up with an everyday job someday.

The uncertainty around the Venezuela native’s age is only one recent example of the difficulty that MLB scouting departments confront in accurately verifying the identities and ages of prospects in Latin America. As an increasing number of professional baseball players are recruited from Latin America (principally the Dominican Republic) and clubs increase spending on both signing bonuses and training academies, there is greater emphasis on limiting age/identity fraud. LWIB Michael S. Schmidt reported for the New York Times that MLB hopes to start fingerprinting Dominican boys “perhaps as young as 11 or 12” as part of their efforts to curb age/identity fraud:

Major League Baseball is studying a series of initiatives, including the fingerprinting of youths under the age of 16, as it attempts to gain control of the age and identity problems it has encountered in signing players in the Dominican Republic, according to several people with knowledge of the situation.

Those same people said Major League Baseball also planned to establish its own youth baseball leagues in the Dominican Republic to serve as an alternative to the current unregulated system for young players that is dominated by talent-finders known as buscones.

Last year MLB made investigations of the ages/identities of unsigned Latin prospects the responsibility of their department of investigations. The department is a branch of the commissioners office and was formed after the Mitchell Report recommended that such a unit would be beneficial in policing steroid use in MLB. Last July, Ben Badler reported for Baseball America on the unit’s efforts to accurately verify the ages and identities of Latin American prospects:

Several international scouting directors concede that while MLB's investigations have been flawed in the past, part of the problem has to do with the countries in Latin America themselves. Identifying papers in the Dominican Republic are not warehoused and authenticated as well as they are in the United States. While record-keeping in Venezuela is more modernized, the government there isn't quite as welcoming to foreign investigators.

"Part of the problem there is you can review school records and birth records, but when a player produces those things, it's not like producing a birth certificate and school records here," Mullin said. (Note: Dan Mullin is MLB senior vice president of investigations) "They're not certified, they're not notarized—you really can't accept them at face value. What we've found is in a lot of cases, those things are forged. We've had cases where the cover-up has been so elaborate that you'll have forged birth documents, you'll have school records that are altered, hospital records that are altered, so really it takes a lot of field work. It takes someone to go to the hospital, to go to the schools, interview teachers, interview people in neighborhoods. It's a lot more than just accepting documents and reviewing documents: it's more work-intensive."

The tricks in Latin America range from basic Wite-Out over identifying documents to more sophisticated schemes, often orchestrated by a player's trainer and occasionally in conjunction with a team's scouts or higher-level officials looking for a cut of the player's signing bonus, several international sources have said over several months of reporting.

"We've had cases where players have changed their names, assumed the identity of someone else who is younger," Mullin said. "They have people play the roles of their parents, so you have a player who has assumed a different identity, has fictitious parents, fictitious relatives and in some cases has been living in the village for as long as two years so the people know them as that name when in fact they're someone older from a different village. So some things we do in a case like that, we selectively do DNA tests, and a DNA test will just tell us if the people that purport to be a player's parents are in fact his parents." (Note: the aforementioned NY Times piece reports that MLB has since discontinued DNA testing of prospects)

Whether or not it is legal for MLB to fingerprint children in the Dominican Republic remains to be seen. (The ethics of this practice we’ll leave aside) But the NY Times report is only the most recent indication that reforming player recruitment in Latin America (de facto the Dominican Republic) is a priority for MLB. Assuming that MLB reaches agreement with the Dominican government on introducing the amateur draft to their country, (the MLBPA appears amenable to the expansion of the amateur draft) the end of the “buscone” era appears imminent. Some argue that MLB will come to regret dismantling this system and that expanding the geographic boundaries of the amateur draft will result in fewer players produced in Latin America. These critics point to the diminished number of players recruited from Puerto Rico since the draft was introduced there in1989. Bonus skimming, age fraud, steroids, warts and all, these same people argue that the “buscone” system produces players more efficiently than the US model. (Setting aside the record bonuses for the likes of Miguel Sano and Michael Ynoa, most international free agents sign for relatively paltry amounts)

In fairness to MLB, they are in a difficult situation. It is unfair and unproductive that clubs make important investments in players whose backgrounds they know little to nothing about. Whether some combination of MLB supported youth leagues, academies, fingerprinting, investigating, bone grafting and drafting will result in a more productive, efficient and safer system of Latin player development won’t be known for many years.

TIDBITS

  • MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman filed papers allowing him to raise and spend money while he considers a run for Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination (EDITOR'S NOTE: As of Monday, Bowman had decided not to run). There were countless news reports, see Google News and choose your own.
  • NY Times Co. president and CEO Janet Robinson reiterated her company’s plans to sell their 17.5% stake in the Boston Red Sox. From Boston.com:

“We continue to explore the possible sale of our interest in New England Sports Ventures,” Robinson said during a conference call about fourth quarter and end-of-the-year earnings. “The process is complicated and is taking longer than we anticipated."

Robinson said she is optimistic about a reaching a deal to sell the company's stake in the team, but added that, "It is more complicated, as you can well imagine, there's a lot of due diligence with prospective buyers that needs to be done. It is a multifaceted buy because it's not just the Red Sox ball club, it's also Fenway Park and real estate holdings and NESN, and certainly Major League Baseball plays a part in this as well and so it is quite complex. But we are certainly moving ahead in regard to selling this part of our portfolio."

  • The Biz of Baseball reported that ESPN is rebranding its broadband channel. Come April 4 ESPN360.com will be known as ESPN3. The launch of ESPN3 will feature the Red Sox/Yankees opener. See the WSJ and Broadcasting and Cable reports.
  • Assuming he is healthy, Roy Halladay should return to Toronto for a weekend Phillies/Jays series beginning June 25. Toronto will host the G20 summit that same weekend and last week Jays president Paul Beeston conceded that one of the baseball games might have to be rescheduled as a result. See here.


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter Twitter

FacebookFollow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?