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Miami-Dade seeks solution for a Marlins ballpark

 

By Sarah Talalay

Staff Writer

Posted December 9 2005

 

MIAMI ? Miami-Dade County Commissioners pushed Thursday for one more stab at salvaging a deal to help the Marlins build a ballpark, perhaps next to Dolphins Stadium with the help of Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.

 

Commissioners asked County Manager George Burgess to meet with the Marlins to analyze whether any ballpark options remain. Later Thursday, Burgess met with Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy to see if a deal is still possible.

 

"We met to discuss where we are currently with regard to discussions with the county and the club and others, and looked to explore different avenues to bridge the gaps and agreed to follow up and explore those avenues and talk again early next week," DuPuy said after the meeting.

 

Burgess issued a statement saying: "It was a good meeting. I expect the dialogue to continue."

 

Talks have focused on whether a deal can be struck with Huizenga, who, sources say, has offered 15 acres and about $50 million for a ballpark near Dolphins Stadium. It's unclear precisely how a deal would be structured, but even with the Marlins and county participating a funding gap that might be as high as $100 million remains.

 

County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who gave an impassioned speech about the pride a community feels for a winning baseball team and including references to Livan Hernandez's 1997 "I love you, Miami" pronouncement, pushed for Burgess to explore all options for a ballpark.

 

"Some of you may consider the story of the Florida Marlins a tragedy," Sosa said, "I consider this an opportunity."

 

Commissioners asked Burgess to report back by the end of January. The county had pledged $138 million in tourist taxes to a stadium next to the Orange Bowl, but that figure might be reduced since it included $60 million freed up when the City of Miami sold Miami Arena in 2004. The Orange Bowl location is no longer under consideration after talks broke down with the city. The team has received permission from Major League Baseball to seek relocation.

 

Although Marlins President David Samson says the team would prefer to stay in South Florida, he met with San Antonio, Texas, officials Tuesday and plans to visit other communities interested in luring a team. Samson, who earlier this week said talks with Huizenga are ongoing, declined comment Thursday.

 

While commissioners asked Burgess to investigate stadium possibilities, a few of them lashed out at the team. Commissioner Natacha Seijas said she loves baseball and doesn't want the team to leave, but accused Samson and team owner Jeffrey Loria of trying to extract too much from the county. She expressed disdain for the team seeking a new home while trading its best players.

 

"I do not like baseball because of what they've done," Seijas said. "This is not baseball they're playing, this is speculation."

 

Commissioner Barbara Jordan complained that some of her favorite players have been traded. "If they let D-Train go, I don't care where they go," she said.

 

Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, whose district includes the Orange Bowl, expressed frustration that the City of Miami is able to come up with $110 million for a renovation of the Orange Bowl but couldn't complete a deal for a stadium next door for the Marlins. "My district is up in arms. They don't understand what's going on," he said.

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The county is clearly trying to distance itself from the behavior of the city of Miami.

 

I really loved Bruno Barreiro's comments that his "district is up in arms". He can't mean the 60 or so people who would have been relocated to make way for the project, on can only surmise he's talking about the politically connected insiders who speculated on property surrounding te OB who are now left holding the bag.

 

I'm still trying to figure out Ariolla's comments yesterday that the OB is currently being used 125 days a year - that's one out of every three days - I hope some enterprising reporter can get Joe to explain that one.

 

BTW the interview is up on 790theticket website for those interested in hearing Joe's remarks.

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I'm still trying to figure out Ariolla's comments yesterday that the OB is currently being used 125 days a year - that's one out of every three days - I hope some enterprising reporter can get Joe to explain that one.

 

There's an event calendar on their web site but there's no way they use it 125 days... Most of it is used car tent sales that last a week, & garbage like that.

 

They're sure as hell not getting good concerts there, not with all the other new venues down here.

 

How come the gap keep going up by the day? common, now is 110 million, few days ago was 80.

 

Where are you reading that? The 110 figure is what Miami's spending to renovate the Orange Bowl.

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County commissioners still interested in helping the Marlins build a new stadium

 

BY TERE FIGUERAS NEGRETE

 

tfigueras@herald.com

 

 

Though city of Miami leaders have thrown in the towel, Miami-Dade County officials are not quite ready to give up on building a new stadium for the Florida Marlins.

 

''Miami is not in the picture anymore,'' said County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who sponsored a resolution Thursday that directs County Manager George Burgess to look into alternate deals.

 

The most promising recent prospect is the plan floated by former Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga to build a Marlins ballpark near his Dolphins Stadium.

 

Commissioners unanimously approved the item. Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who has long voted against using public dollars for a ballpark, was absent due to a death in the family.

 

Burgess will have until the end of January to return to the commission with a report on the county's options.

 

''What are the options out there? Is there a deal already with Huizenga? We don't know,'' Sosa said. ``We believe the Marlins should stay in South Florida.''

 

Burgess, though, was cautioned that the county doesn't want to step up its contribution toward a new retractable roof stadium, said Commissioner Sally Heyman.

 

''We've got nothing further than what we were prepared to do in the past,'' Heyman said.

 

Before a deal with the city, county and team unraveled, the county had pledged $138 million toward a $420 million, 38,000-seat, retractable-roof facility.

 

-- TERE FIGUERAS NEGRETE

 

Thought I'd send a related article. By the way, I love Rebeca Sosa!

 

:hug

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Miami-Dade seeks solution for a Marlins ballpark

 

By Sarah Talalay

Staff Writer

Posted December 9 2005

 

MIAMI ? Miami-Dade County Commissioners pushed Thursday for one more stab at salvaging a deal to help the Marlins build a ballpark, perhaps next to Dolphins Stadium with the help of Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.

 

Commissioners asked County Manager George Burgess to meet with the Marlins to analyze whether any ballpark options remain. Later Thursday, Burgess met with Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy to see if a deal is still possible.

 

"We met to discuss where we are currently with regard to discussions with the county and the club and others, and looked to explore different avenues to bridge the gaps and agreed to follow up and explore those avenues and talk again early next week," DuPuy said after the meeting.

 

Burgess issued a statement saying: "It was a good meeting. I expect the dialogue to continue."

 

Talks have focused on whether a deal can be struck with Huizenga, who, sources say, has offered 15 acres and about $50 million for a ballpark near Dolphins Stadium. It's unclear precisely how a deal would be structured, but even with the Marlins and county participating a funding gap that might be as high as $100 million remains.

 

County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who gave an impassioned speech about the pride a community feels for a winning baseball team and including references to Livan Hernandez's 1997 "I love you, Miami" pronouncement, pushed for Burgess to explore all options for a ballpark.

 

"Some of you may consider the story of the Florida Marlins a tragedy," Sosa said, "I consider this an opportunity."

 

Commissioners asked Burgess to report back by the end of January. The county had pledged $138 million in tourist taxes to a stadium next to the Orange Bowl, but that figure might be reduced since it included $60 million freed up when the City of Miami sold Miami Arena in 2004. The Orange Bowl location is no longer under consideration after talks broke down with the city. The team has received permission from Major League Baseball to seek relocation.

 

Although Marlins President David Samson says the team would prefer to stay in South Florida, he met with San Antonio, Texas, officials Tuesday and plans to visit other communities interested in luring a team. Samson, who earlier this week said talks with Huizenga are ongoing, declined comment Thursday.

 

While commissioners asked Burgess to investigate stadium possibilities, a few of them lashed out at the team. Commissioner Natacha Seijas said she loves baseball and doesn't want the team to leave, but accused Samson and team owner Jeffrey Loria of trying to extract too much from the county. She expressed disdain for the team seeking a new home while trading its best players.

 

"I do not like baseball because of what they've done," Seijas said. "This is not baseball they're playing, this is speculation."

 

Commissioner Barbara Jordan complained that some of her favorite players have been traded. "If they let D-Train go, I don't care where they go," she said.

 

Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, whose district includes the Orange Bowl, expressed frustration that the City of Miami is able to come up with $110 million for a renovation of the Orange Bowl but couldn't complete a deal for a stadium next door for the Marlins. "My district is up in arms. They don't understand what's going on," he said.

 

 

EXACTLY! EX-FREAKIN-ACTLY!

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Marlins defnitely got the attention of the county with the firesale and relocation threat, huh?

 

What makes me discouraged is why, if Huizenga was trying to help, the Marlins kind of ignored him and didn't seriously sit down to work something out. Instead they toured San Antonio.

 

 

I know why. Because they don't care. No matter what happens they don't want to stay here. Loria is an a**hole and he doesn't give a rat's a** about the team. All this bs about him crying, gimme a break! He needs to sell the team to that billionaire who is interested.

I hope I'm wrong but I really don't think I am. But if they stay and they get a nice stadium of out this i'll feel alot better about losing everyone.

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Am I missing something here? If the county is willing to kick in 138 mil to the 212 mil the Marlins are going to pay in rent money, plus the free land and 50 mil that Wayne is willing to kick in, then I don't see such a big gap in funding. Do the math. That is 400 mil in money not including the land. That's well over 400 mil total. Plus that doesn't include anything from the City of Miami whom I still think will get back into the negotiations. From what I see the money is out there. It is just a matter of all sides sitting down and hammering out a deal.

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Am I missing something here? If the county is willing to kick in 138 mil to the 212 mil the Marlins are going to pay in rent money, plus the free land and 50 mil that Wayne is willing to kick in, then I don't see such a big gap in funding. Do the math. That is 400 mil in money not including the land. That's well over 400 mil total. Plus that doesn't include anything from the City of Miami whom I still think will get back into the negotiations. From what I see the money is out there. It is just a matter of all sides sitting down and hammering out a deal.

 

 

What we don't know is what Wayne is expecting for his land and $50M contribution. Wayne's demands are probably not that different from what he is collecting today.

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The question remains what Huizenga (the person/the corporate entities) wants in return for his alleged contribution of land and $$$.

 

Via email I've asked every reporter and columnist (not Baxter or Spencer or Berardino) who has mentioned it in one way or another, none know or have been able to ascertain the other side of the equation.

 

Considering the lease arrangement Huizenga has used to strangle the Marlins for so long, before anyone starts counting on WH for anything they ought to know the "whole" story.

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My question is simple: What the hell does DuPuy accomplish by being here? He is just another person to get in the way, and MLB is not going to contribute anything tangible to the negotiations (they've shown that in this city and others in the past numerous times). Why add an extra voice in the negotiations, instead of just letting the people who have money invested handle things?

 

Seems to me anyone not named Loria, Huizenga, or Burgess is just getting in the way of something getting done.

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I honestly believe that Dupuy is here because MLB doesn't want to give up on this market. I think he is a good mediator for these negotiations. Remember, MLB can't make Loria sell the team, but they can stop him from relocating the team, which would really put Loria behind the eight ball. The only leverage that Loria has now is that MLB is backing him in his search for a new city. If we could prove to MLB that the stadium can get done and that it's Samson and Loria that are being unreasonable, their stance might change. If MLB doesn't back the relocation then Loria has to negotiate in good faith with Wayne, the City, and the County. He can't continue to lose money so he either sells, or negotiates a stadium. The whole key here is MLB.

 

As for Wayne? How much can he really be asking for if he would be the one giving the least amount of money. The county 138m, the Marlins 212m in rent, and Wayne only 50m. He is also throwing in the land but let's remember that it's not prime real estate that he is giving up. I really think that he is doing this for the sole purpose of his Wayne's World thing and to bring the Superbowl here on a permananet basis. I think he is looking at the big picture here and realizes that he will make alot more money in the long run by chipping in to the Marlins Stadium. Who knows?

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Marlins defnitely got the attention of the county with the firesale and relocation threat, huh?

 

What makes me discouraged is why, if Huizenga was trying to help, the Marlins kind of ignored him and didn't seriously sit down to work something out. Instead they toured San Antonio.

 

according to samson the marlins are in ongoing discussions with huizenga...for what its worth

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My question is simple: What the hell does DuPuy accomplish by being here? He is just another person to get in the way, and MLB is not going to contribute anything tangible to the negotiations (they've shown that in this city and others in the past numerous times). Why add an extra voice in the negotiations, instead of just letting the people who have money invested handle things?

 

Seems to me anyone not named Loria, Huizenga, or Burgess is just getting in the way of something getting done.

 

Maybe because he is a better spokeperson than Samson? That little man has burned too many bridges for him to be allowed to continue to be in charge

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Am I missing something here? If the county is willing to kick in 138 mil to the 212 mil the Marlins are going to pay in rent money, plus the free land and 50 mil that Wayne is willing to kick in, then I don't see such a big gap in funding. Do the math. That is 400 mil in money not including the land. That's well over 400 mil total. Plus that doesn't include anything from the City of Miami whom I still think will get back into the negotiations. From what I see the money is out there. It is just a matter of all sides sitting down and hammering out a deal.

 

For anyone who thinks the Marlins are going to get any money from the City of Miami, you all can keep dreaming....all that money that had been promised to the fish from the city has now been earmarked for the Orange Bowl improvements...that is another reason that the funding gap grew. The city will not be giving anymoney which is why the Marlins ahve to strongly consider the Wayne offer cause like has been said the Fish contributing 212 million ($30 million up front, rest in rent payments) plus 138 from the county that leave 350 million, which means you then get Wayne's 50 makes it 400 and then the land is free, you are going to be close :) GETER DONE LORIA

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