posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 03:50 PM
We now stand just days away from the Marlins' May 1 deadline for completing plans to finance a new $325 million ballpark in South Florida. We hear
that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has been telling people he never has been more optimistic about the chances of having that actually happen. We hope
But what if he's not?
What if the Florida legislature continues to balk at approving what appears to be the $60 million last piece in the ballpark puzzle a $2
million-a-year sales-tax rebate that would expire after 30 years?
One source, who is locked in on the relocation soap opera, says Loria has "always had his eyes on Washington." Which is, obviously, an easier commute
from his New York home than Miami is.
But another source tells us the buzz inside the Marlins' little universe is that Loria views Vegas as "a gold mine."
Both destinations come with all kinds of complications, though. And by now, you probably know those complications by heart.
It's becoming increasingly clear that the biggest obstacle to a move to Washington is Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who is now a member of baseball's
powerful executive council. Angelos shows no signs of backing off his never-ending fight to keep another team from plopping down on what he views as
And Vegas has all those pesky gambling issues. But beyond that, while it may be the fastest-growing metropolis in America, it's still just the No. 53
TV market (compared to No. 16 in South Florida). And it would have a population base (approximately 1.5 million) about the same size as Milwaukee, the
smallest market in the big leagues although Vegas, we'd dare say, has more tourists.
Then there are even peskier practical issues. The only ballpark in Las Vegas, Cashman Field, is an unacceptable minor-league facility with 9,500
There has been talk of building a 40,000-seat ballpark right off the fabled Strip to accommodate the Expos. But the soonest you could envision that
park opening is 2007.
So where, exactly, would a big-league team play in the meantime the lobby of Caesar's Palace?