Saturday 9 March 2013

Loria makes an attempt to address angry Marlins baseball fans

Former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria continues to feel the heat from fans of the Miami Marlins, the team he purchased in 2002 after dumping our Major League Baseball franchise and effectively killing it.

Loria's fire sale of some of his best and most well paid players recently caused a major stir in the Miami area, where I just spent the week. It enabled to  cut the team’s $90 million payroll in half.  This all comes a year after a brand new $600 million baseball only stadium opened in Miami.

Jeffrey Loria
Although his stay in Montreal was brief, Loria was so disliked by fans that he had to be escorted around Olympic Stadium by security.

Recently, Loria decided to take out full page ads in three different Florida papers to explain his moves. “As the owner of the ballclub, the buck stops with me and I take my share of the blame where it's due,” Loria said in the ad. "Losing is unacceptable to me. It's incumbent upon us to take swift action and make bold moves when there are glaring problems. The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value. We hope, with an open mind, our community can reflect on the fact that we had one of the worst records in baseball. Acquiring high-profile players just didn't work, and nearly everyone on our team underperformed as compared to their career numbers. Our plan for the year ahead is to leverage our young talent and create a home grown roster of long-term players who can win.”

On the new stadium he said: "The ballpark issue has been repeatedly reported incorrectly and there are some very negative accusations being thrown around. It ain't true, folks. Those who have attacked us are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The majority of public funding came from hotel taxes, the burden of which is incurred by tourists who are visiting our city, not the resident taxpayers. The Marlins organization also agreed to contribute $161.2 million toward the ballpark, plus the cost of the garage complex. In addition, the Marlins receive no operating subsidy from local government funding. The ballpark required that all debt service is paid by existing revenue. Furthermore, many are attacking the County's method of financing for its contribution, but the Marlins had nothing at all to do with that. The fact is, with your help, we built Marlins Park, a crown jewel in our beautiful Miami skyline, which has won over twenty design and architecture awards and will help make us a premiere ball club moving forward.

The Miami Herald did some fact checking on Loria's stadium claims and here are the results.

Thursday 7 March 2013

CRTC would be wise to accept TSN 690 marriage with Astral threesome

Well the folks at Bell Media finally have it right. As part of their bid to acquire Astral Radio and in particular English stations CJAD, Virgin Radio and CHOM (herein referred to as the triplets), Bell Media is telling the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to grant them an exception to own four English language stations in the same market - the fourth being TSN Radio 690. Precedent has already been set most recently with Cogeco Radio operating four French stations in Montreal.

This is good business for Bell Media and sports fans. TSN 690 is reportedly not profitable. Moving them out of their Greene Avenue headquarters in Westmount would first and foremost save a monthly raincheque and create instant synergy by having them cohabitate with the triplets in their new digs on Papineau and Rene-Levesque. That address, by the way, is directly across the street from CTV and the local bureaus of TSN, RDS and The Globe andMail.

Utimately a lot more savings could be introduced by the sharing of human resources.

If TSN 690 and CJAD, for instance, are under the same roof there are great possibilities. Broadcasts of the Alouettes and Impact could be moved to TSN 690, except in cases of a schedule conflict with the Canadiens.

Abe Hefter

Rick Moffat, Abe Hefter and Chantal Desjardins of CJAD Sports could all be made available to TSN 690

Ted Bird could finally be reunited with his pal Terrry DiMonte. Bird is now part of the TSN 690 morningshow. But could easily pop in from across the hall. I would love to see TSN 690's Tony Marinaro doing a morning commentary on CJAD.

Freeway Frank of Virgin Radio is a huge sports fan. I am sure he would love some kind of role on TSN 690.A back and forth with him and Marinaro would also be grand.

Mitch Melnick talks a lot of entertainment on his drive home show. It would be nice to have him connect with Natasha Gargiulo of Virgin or his old friend Anne Shatilla, CJAD's Hollywood correspondent.
Mitch Melnick and Wayne Bews

One thing I hope Bell Media takes into consideration is the future of Wayne Bews, the general manager of TSN 690 who has allowed this station to thrive under challenging circumstances since day one. He should retain a prominent role in the operation and would work well with Martin Spalding, the boss of the triplets.

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