TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey wants to bring a major league team to the Meadowlands, a move the New York Yankees vowed to block.
Gov. James E. McGreevey supports the push by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
"He thinks New Jersey would be a good place for a team, he thinks we have the market for it," McGreevey spokesman Micah Rasmussen said Wednesday.
McGreevey and George Zoffinger, the authority's president, are in discussions with the commissioner's office to bring a team to New Jersey, Rasmussen said.
"He (McGreevey) said Zoffinger is going to pursue it hard," Rasmussen said.
Although the talks have not centered on any specific team, the Montreal Expos are owned by the other 29 teams, and the commissioner's office hopes to select a new home by the All-Star break.
Still, the Expos won't be headed to the Meadowlands.
"New Jersey is not on the list of candidates being considered," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
The rights of the Yankees and Mets would complicate a move to New Jersey. The Meadowlands are about 10 miles from Yankee Stadium.
"The commissioner's office has advised us that the Montreal Expos will not be going into the Meadowlands, and we will vigorously object and exercise all our rights if any attempts are made to put any major league team there," Yankees president Randy Levine said.
The Yankees maintain that New Jersey was within their territorial rights.
Zoffinger said he and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, a member of baseball's relocation committee, have spoken three times within the past six weeks, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Wednesday.
Zoffinger also met two weeks ago with architect Janet-Marie Smith, who helped design Baltimore's Camden Yards, and she presented him with two plans for what would be a $200 million to $300 million stadium. One plan would put it at the Continental Airlines Arena site, which is in the heart of the proposed $1 billion Xanadu retail and entertainment complex, while the other would put it behind the Meadowlands Racetrack on a site where horse barns are located.
"It's gone from something I didn't think was possible to something that actually could happen," Zoffinger was quoted as saying. "Jerry Reinsdorf told me that baseball is interested in the Meadowlands because we are building a family entertainment center and bringing mass transit to the site."
Simply put, this could be one of the dumbest ideas ever. Northern Jersey splits its fan-base between the Mets and Yanks. Southern Jersey has a strong Philly base.
Where are they expecting to get fans from? Are they expecting the casual Yankee fans to jump off the bandwagon during a period of winning? And Mets fans are fiercely loyal to their team. And I doubt people are going to be coming up from the Jersey shore to root for a new team.
The Nets and Devils have both had very successful runs over the past few years and they can't draw more than 10,000 a night. Why would a mediocre baseball team draw at the Meadowlands?
This is not a good idea but then again New Jersey has had an identity crisis for years. If they won the World Series would we have another parade around the parking lot?
On a more serious note, I think that Las Vegas will eventually be the home for the Expos. That city wants a pro team in the worst way. The sports book is so small that they would have no problems taking the Expos off the board.
Are you a professional halfwit or talented amateur?
It is a tough call. The owners of the Kings own the Palm casino and players stay there all the time. They could remove baseball from the sportsbook and it would not be much of a hit. The sportsbooks make up a very small percentage of total gambling and an even smaller percentage of profits.
From what I heard there is a finished stadium design and it would be located between the Tropicana and the airport at the south end of the strip.
Edit: Just found this article which has the stadium in a different location.
Is the sportsbook really that big of a deal? Here is a quote from Selig:
"Years ago you wouldn't have thought about Las Vegas. I was raised in that era, but today gambling is legal everywhere. In Detroit, you can walk out of the ballpark and there's a legal casino."
It's hard for me to believe that none of the players bet. Everybody has office pools for football and college basketball. Yeah, baseball is a different animal but if you wanted to find a bookie I am sure that a major league player would not have a problem finding one. If anything, it would be harder for players to bet on games because of their stature. The casinos would have pictures of every player on their cannot bet list and if a player was in a casino gambling it would be all over the papers the next day.
(edited by evilwaldo on 20.4.04 1345) Are you a professional halfwit or talented amateur?
Gammons is from Boston, but I wouldn't accuse him of a pro-Boston bias. His favorite team of the last ten years is very clearly the Yankees, if the praise he heaps on them in his every column is any indication.