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Baseball: S.A. reps say talks with MLB go well

 

Web Posted: 04/06/2006 12:00 AM CDT

Tom Orsborn

Express-News Staff Writer

 

A high-ranking Major League Baseball official assured Mayor Phil Hardberger and County Judge Nelson Wolff on Wednesday that MLB soon would announce whether it believes San Antonio is a viable market for the Florida Marlins.

 

MLB president Bob DuPuy spoke to Hardberger and Wolff in separate phone calls that lasted about 20 minutes each. The Marlins are waiting for baseball to finish its analysis of San Antonio before they respond to Bexar County's stadium-financing offer.

 

"This is the next step we were looking for," Wolff said, referring to DuPuy's phone call. "I think we will get a fair shake from baseball."

 

Hardberger characterized his conversation with DuPuy as "warm, friendly and non-hurried." In baseball's hierarchy, only commissioner Bud Selig ranks ahead of DuPuy.

 

"I was impressed he was willing to spend that much time on the phone, especially since the call came after 6 o'clock in New York," Hardberger said.

 

Hardberger never spoke with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue last year when the New Orleans Saints spent the season in San Antonio because of Hurricane Katrina.

 

"You can't help but make the contrast," Hardberger said.

 

Hardberger said he also was impressed by DuPuy's familiarity with San Antonio.

 

"He mentioned he had been here four or five years ago and was quite taken with the city," Hardberger said. "He said his opinion at that time was that San Antonio was not ready for Major League Baseball, but that he understood many changes have been happening here."

 

While DuPuy didn't say when baseball would complete its study, Wolff said it is "sensitive" to the county's desire to accelerate talks with the Marlins in hopes of taking the stadium-financing proposal to voters Nov. 7. The county has until Aug. 15 to place an item on the ballot to extend a 1999 tax on hotel and car rentals for at least two more decades.

 

If approved, the measure would allow the county to put up $200 million of the $310 million the Marlins say would be needed to build a ballpark.

 

"DuPuy is aware of what I am faced with time-wise," Wolff said. "He was aware of a lot of things."

 

That includes the Marlins' efforts to determine how much revenue they could generate from a television deal with FSN Southwest, Wolff said. With television contracts considered teams' key revenue source, the difference in media market size between 17th-ranked Miami/Fort Lauderdale and 37th-ranked San Antonio is a major concern for the Marlins.

 

"I mentioned to (DuPuy) the media market size is a little bit illusory when you compare it to other cities," Hardberger said. "Of course, when you have two big metropolitan areas jammed into each other you get a bigger market. San Antonio sits by itself, but it has some things that aren't obvious to everyone."

 

That list includes a Hispanic population of about 60 percent and a growing reputation as a gateway to Latin America, Hardberger said.

 

"With Hispanics making up a large portion of professional baseball players, a team here would be of interest to all of Latin America," Hardberger said.

 

Said Wolff: "DuPuy understands the Mexico market and thinks it's important to baseball."

 

With that in mind, former mayor Henry Cisneros is exploring whether the Marlins' broadcast territory could extend into northern Mexico.

 

"I told Mr. DuPuy we are trying to strengthen our ties with Mexico, especially Monterrey, and that I had a meeting with the owner of Mexicana Airlines about establishing shuttle service between San Antonio and Monterrey," Hardberger said. "There is a better than average chance we can make that happen, which would increase the interchange between Monterrey and San Antonio."

 

Cisneros isn't the only prominent San Antonio representative working to recruit the Marlins. Hardberger said many top business leaders have encouraged the team to move, including AT&T Inc. chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, Valero Energy Corp. chairman Bill Greehey and Clear Channel Communications chairman Lowry Mays.

 

"I told Mr. DuPuy this is not like the Marlins would be coming into some city where there are many viewpoints, conflicts and fights," Hardberger said. "The reaction they would receive in San Antonio will be quite a bit different than what they've received in Miami."

 

 

http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/stories...lb.954ea46.html

 

Okay, so now we have current mayor Hardberger, former mayor and current County Judge Wolff, and former Mayor and HUD secretary Cisneros involved in this? Who's the next former mayor to join the attempt?

 

So Cisneros' job is basically to convince MLB to allow SA to include northern Mexico when it comes to TV market in the analysis?

 

And what's with Hardberger trying to get shuttle flights between SA and Monterrey? I seriously doubt there's enough demand for that. Guess it depends how full the one non-stop flight a day from SA to Monterrey is, but still....

 

They're just getting really unrealistic now.

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As far as I know, in San Antonio the majority of the Hispanic population it?s from Mexico and their primary sport its not baseball but football or soccer :mischief2

 

 

The majority of SA's hispanic population is DESCENDED from Mexico. The majority are born in the US though. And baseball IS big in Mexico, not as big as soccer, but pretty big non-the-less. Here in San Antonio soccer trails way behind football, basketball, and baseball though.

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As far as I know, in San Antonio the majority of the Hispanic population it?s from Mexico and their primary sport its not baseball but football or soccer :mischief2

 

 

The majority of SA's hispanic population is DESCENDED from Mexico. The majority are born in the US though. And baseball IS big in Mexico, not as big as soccer, but pretty big non-the-less. Here in San Antonio soccer trails way behind football, basketball, and baseball though.

 

 

So they descend from Mexico, how that reflects they like baseball.

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And what's with Hardberger trying to get shuttle flights between SA and Monterrey? I seriously doubt there's enough demand for that. Guess it depends how full the one non-stop flight a day from SA to Monterrey is, but still....

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Monterrey want a piece of the action when SA was courting the Expos?

I believe there was some Monterrey investors interested in partnering with SA at the time, so it may not be too unrealistic. who knows

 

I agree Baseball is just as big in Mexico, net to Futbol=Soccer. GoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaL.

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So they descend from Mexico, how that reflects they like baseball.

 

 

It really doesn't. I was just making sure to get the descended in there since everyone seems to think 90% of the hispanics in SA are illegals for some reason.

 

And point out that the insinuation of all mexicans and their decendents are only interested in soccer is completely wrong.

 

And what's with Hardberger trying to get shuttle flights between SA and Monterrey? I seriously doubt there's enough demand for that. Guess it depends how full the one non-stop flight a day from SA to Monterrey is, but still....

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Monterrey want a piece of the action when SA was courting the Expos?

I believe there was some Monterrey investors interested in partnering with SA at the time, so it may not be too unrealistic. who knows

 

I agree Baseball is just as big in Mexico, net to Futbol=Soccer. GoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaL.

 

The half-hearted plan back then was for the Expos to split games between San Antonio and Monterrey for 10 years, basically until San Antonio could support them on their own. 'Twas not a serious attempt, though.

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I find it funny that San Antonio's political leaders are trying to capitalize on the fact that a large portion of San Antonio's population is hispanic, while also saying that a team there would be of interest to all of Latin America...

 

If he's trying to play the latino card, maybe he failed his geography lesson, and didn't bother to notice that Miami, the most latino-influenced major city in the U.S., is the "Gateway to the Americas." Certainly, San Antonio's latino population can't offer anything to major league baseball that Miami's doesn't.

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I find it funny that San Antonio's political leaders are trying to capitalize on the fact that a large portion of San Antonio's population is hispanic, while also saying that a team there would be of interest to all of Latin America...

 

If he's trying to play the latino card, maybe he failed his geography lesson, and didn't bother to notice that Miami, the most latino-influenced major city in the U.S., is the "Gateway to the Americas." Certainly, San Antonio's latino population can't offer anything to major league baseball that Miami's doesn't.

 

 

I pretty much agree with you there. There is no logic for leaving Miami to come to San Antonio except for stadium issues, especially since the team itself believes the attendance issues are based on the poor stadium.

 

It'd make more since for some other teams.

 

Why would you trade in the "Gateway to the Americas" for the "Gateway to Mexico" as SA is often thought of (and really SA does have a better relationship with Mexico than any other city, state, or country does). Especially when baseball is bigger in the Carribean than in Mexico.

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