Archive for April 12th, 2008

Now Batting For The Tampa Bay Rays…

The Tampa Bay Rays made a controversial decision at the end of spring training, sending top prospect Evan Longoria to AAA Durham despite an excellent performance in the Grapefruit League. As various blogs pointed out, the move was likely based not on Longoria’s playing ability, but for financial reasons: keeping him in the minors for even a couple weeks impacted the length of time before he would ultimately be eligible for arbitration, free agency, and all that good stuff.

Doesn’t matter now – the Rays called Longoria up on Saturday to replace infielder Manny Aybar, who heads to the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

Joining Longoria in Florida will be pitching prospect Jeff Niemann. The two were the 2nd and 99th ranked prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Niemann was the fourth overall pick in the draft in 2004, Longoria went third overall in 2006.

Longoria is expected to make his major league debut tonight when the Rays host the first-place Orioles. Niemann will make the start on Sunday.

There’s A Lot Of Money In Minor League Baseball

The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sport (who even knew there was such a thing?) recently did a study on the economic effects of minor league baseball in the state, and the results are a bit staggering:

The Division of Tourism found that more fans in North Carolina attend minor league baseball games than NASCAR events.

In turn, they spend about $60 million as a whole. Some $47 million pours in to the state economy, not counting the $5 million that is generated by a local sales tax. Those numbers are expected to rise when the Knights move to Charlotte.

I’m not an economist (in fact, that was my very worst subject in school – I got a D in Economics II), but that sounds like a lot of money being generated from the state’s nine minor league teams.  I’d love to see a study like this for every state that hosts at least one minor league team, independent or affiliated.

(Weird fact that I just learned: not only don’t the Charlotte Knights play in Charlotte, they don’t even play in North Carolina.  Their current location is in Fort Mill, just over the border in South Carolina.  There is an expected 30% increase in revenue when they actually move into the state.)