Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos to fold?

Mitty

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I was just watching a sports channel here in Canada (the Score) and they mentioned briefly that MLB may be paying these two franchises an undisclosed amount of money to fold. A dispersement draft would follow. If it happens, it's to be announced in a couple of week, just after the World Weries.
Of course, the writing has been on the wall in Montreal for years, but Florida? I find it difficult to believe that there's no market for baseball in south Florida.
There's also talk that the Expos' owner may purchase the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, fold that franchise and move the Expos to Florida (I think Montreal may have a better organization, and a better farm system).
Has anyone else heard this?
 

Patrick_S

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If the Player's Union has any say in the matter it won't happen.
Instead of folding franchises they should go to a salary cap (another item the player’s union wouldn’t like but would probably except in the long run), and across the board revenue sharing just like the NFL.
 

Mitty

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I just heard the report again, from the beginning. Another thing they mentioned is that the Florida ownership is considering purchasing the Anaheim Angels from Disney.
Very confusing.
I can't say exactly how the Players Union would feel about such a thing (obviously their membership would decrease), but it's clear they'll never accept a salary cap sitting down. If MLB pushes for one, we'll be enduring another lengthy strike/lockout.
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JustinT

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I heard Espn talking about this issue a few months ago. They were talking about eliminating 4 teams.
Nothing has been set in stone, but the names that they were throwing around were BOTH the Florida teams (which I found hard to believe), Montreal, and Anaheim. They were also saying that there would be a possibility of the A's moving to Anaheim.
I think most of what they were saying were just rumors, but I know Tampa Bay and Montreal would be the first two teams to go. Montreal's home attendance during the regular season was PATHETIC, I think around 7000 a game.
I would like to see a few teams cut, it would increase the competition and level the playing field. I would also LOVE to see Vladimir Guerrero (Expos) taken by another team. He is the most talented player in the Majors, IMHO, and could only get better on a team with more support in the lineup. I just wanna see what he can do!
quote: I think Montreal may have a better organization, and a better farm system[/quote]
Tampa Bay has one of the best farm systems in the Majors. That wouldn't be a reason for Montreal to take over TB.
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[Edited last by JustinT on October 24, 2001 at 12:46 PM]
 

Scott Merryfield

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This was also mentioned on EPSN.com this morning. The news is not surprising at all. Major League Baseball's current financial structure is very distructive to small market teams. Without revenue sharing and a salary cap, things will only get worse. In Detroit, the Tigers are already working on ways to cut the payroll for next season, and there is little help on the way from the minor leagues. How can teams like this expect to draw fans when they have already been eliminated from playoff contention for next season, and this one is not even over?
If the NFL used MLB's financial model, the Green Bay Packers would no longer exist.
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Jack Briggs

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Fewer franchises would be better for baseball. And it would help to eliminate that wild-card tier of playoffs. There's simply not enough talent to support this many clubs.
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John Spencer

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There's no way the MLBPA would ever accept a salary cap without some serious wailing and gnashing of teeth. If a cap goes through, they'll have to change the Rangers' name to the Texas A-Rod, because they'd have barely any room for anyone else.
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Daryl Furkalo

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Well considering how pathetic Expos attendance has been, that really doesn't surprise me about them. But I have hard time seeing the MLBPA allowing it happen. Isn't the players contract expired at the end of this season or is it next year? I don't know how baseball can survive another strike/lockout situation. There are very few contenders based on the salary/revenue structure now, it isn't likely to improve without a serious commitment to revenue sharing/salary cap/luxury tax, whatever you want to call it.
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PatrickM

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If its between contraction and salary cap you can be guaranteed the players union will choose contraction. Loosing two teams with 25 players each versus forcing the entire union to reduce their overall salaries is an easy choice.
Patrick
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Jeff Adkins

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I find it difficult to believe that there's no market for baseball in south Florida.
The problem with both Miami and here in Tampa is that most of the baseball fans down here are Yankee and Met fans, not Devil Ray or Marlin fans. When the Yankees come to town, they get 35,000 or more at Tropicana Field (with at least 75% of them rooting for the Yanks) as opposed to the average 13,000 or so. We have a large percentage of transplanted New Yorkers who just won't give up their allegiance to their old team. Plus, when you throw in a month of Spring Training where you've got 7 teams within an hour's drive, that has at least some effect on demand. Another problem is the weather. You can either go to Pro Player in Miami and sweat your ass off or you can come here and sit indoors. Neither option is as enticing as it might be to go to Detroit or Pittsburgh and see a game outdoors on a 75-80 degree day (as opposed to 89-90 degrees with awful humidity). Personally, I like Tropicana Field but I would love to be able to go to an outdoor stadium. The only thing that can save the Devil Rays is to put a winner on the field. They practically give the tickets away as it is. You can get a ticket at least 3 nights a week for $3 or less. I hope they'll find a way to turn it around, but I have my doubts.
Jeff
 

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Baseball now has several problems.
1. Escalating salaries. This is also true for almost all the major sports. Athletes have to bring their expectations down to earth. $90M or $250M for 9 or 10 years is too much. Eventually they will price out the fans of the game. Without the fans they would be unemployed.
2. No salary cap. What is to keep those salaries down or within reason for the sake of the fans?
3. The game is too long. Find ways to speed things up.
4. Too many teams. The talent pool is drying up quickly. They need to contract the number of teams down by 2 - 4.
5. No revenue sharing. The teams with the most money are the ones that make it to the playoffs. The Yankees make more money than the Twins.
Solutions:
1. Revenue share. Split the tv money between all the teams.
2. Fold a couple of francises. The Rays wouldn't even be needed if baseball would have allowed Seattle or San Fransisco to move.
3. Enforce a salary cap. Players have to realize they only need to make so much money off the fans. Endorsements and jerseys is another thing altogether. A player should have as many endorsments as they wish and get revenue from people buying their jersey. All teams should have up to $40M for players per year. After all, the NFL can put 53 men on the field with only $65M. Baseball shouldn't have a problem with that.
4. You could force all players to play for the minimum and bonuses could be given at the discretion of the team with the league being able to reject bonuses that seem out of line. Each player would get equal incentives. For example, an additional $500 per homer, $50,000 if you hit 20 or more, $1,000 per strikeout for the pitchers, etc.
Too bad something like that will never happen. All because players and teams have been bitten by greed.
 

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