Talalay: Selig's visit (Marlins Stadium Update No. 1117)
There was a flurry of activity Tuesday when the media learned MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and President Bob DuPuy would meet with reporters at Dolphin Stadium prior to the Marlins game.
Even Selig acted surprised the Dolphins interview room was packed, saying he thought he was meeting with just a few people.
Yes, his visit was significant: the commissioner doesn’t just show up. The Marlins ballpark IS a priority. But Selig is not the negotiator. There is no stadium deal yet.
Selig wouldn’t reveal what happened in two meetings, first with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and City Manager Pete Hernandez and then with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro and Manager George Burgess. He would only say the meetings were “productive,” “constructive” and he wants to get a deal done. No talk of site, he said. No financial terms, no deadlines.
But you can be sure each meeting wasn’t a two-hour getting to know you session. You can be sure Selig made it clear a ballpark financing deal needs to get done, once and for all. But everyone was advised to keep the post-meeting discussion vague.
Barreiro said the site was discussed – specifically the Orange Bowl site, which is in his district and which he, along with other county and city commissioners, favors.
The Marlins and MLB would prefer a downtown site. Of course, they can accept the OB site, but they will likely push to lower the team’s contribution from its earlier $207 million commitment since they don’t believe the OB site will be as successful as one downtown. How the financing will work - and if dollars approved to renovate the OB can be shifted now that UM is moving to Dolphin Stadium next year - remains to be seen.
If talks didn’t go well, Selig likely wouldn’t have been so tight-lipped. There were no talks of alternatives outside Florida, as there had been two weeks ago.
“I don’t really want to get into that now,” Selig said of relocation. “I really meant what I said today. I feel good about what happened today. Given the reception I got today from all the parties. I feel very good about where we are … I just don’t want to think about anything else right now.”
Instead Selig waxed about how great a baseball market South Florida will be with a new retractable roof ballpark where the Marlins will generate and control the kind of revenue needed to field a competitive team.
“This is a great market. I’ve never had any doubts about it and I don’t have any doubts today,” Selig said. “They just need to get a new ballpark.”
Selig may have visited to re-set the talks, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.POSTED IN: None