Saturday, December 03, 2011

Interesting times (Marlins edition)

The Dolphins *used to* share the stadium with the Florida (and now Miami) Marlins.  Lets take a quick trip in history shall we?

  • Joe Robbie wanted football, baseball, and soccer to play in his venue so he built it accordingly.  He had hoped to own teams in each sport
  • H Wayne bought the stadium when he bought the Fins, and was granted an expansion baseball team
  • They coexisted for several years,  but H thought baseball needed its own stadium, so he lobbied long and hard to get one for his team
  • Remember that he essentially wanted it to be publicly funded - or heavily subsidized through tax breaks
  • Failing that, he sold the team, and wrote an awful lease for the new owner to use JRS (and by awful, we mean totally benefitting him)
  • A few owners came and went, with each trying to secure a stadium for themselves
  • Finally enter the current owner, who made it happen.  For better or worse, he got the city of Miami to build him a stadium.  And to top it off, its on the site of the old Orange Bowl (this is particularly amusing, because Joe Robbie moved the Fins from the Orange Bowl, and had made comments that the city was impossible to work with as he built his own stadium)

That takes us to today.  There was a lot of consternation about this stadium deal.  Accusations of back-room deals, lack of accountability, sketchy financials, and the like dogged them along the way.

But the deal went ahead.  I have to admit I don't understand the finances.  The city borrowed close to $500 million at an interest rate that would seem fairly high (I think it was on the order of 8%, which is bad for municipalities), but is trying to tell everyone that they only took out loans for under $200 million.  In any event, they built 4 parking garages as well, and are leasing the spaces in it to the Marlins.

Everything is "on schedule" but there is a cost to doing that, and its cut corners.  We saw one example when the garages showed cracks in the concrete.  More will come, I am sure. 

And then we hear that the garages - since they are leased exclusively to the Marlins - don't qualify as "public" which means that the city has to pay taxes on them.  Oops.  That's money they don't have, and can't get easily.  In addition, the deal has not been signed with parking authority to run the garages - and their retail space. And with opening day about 4 months away, that means there will be no tenants and no revenue in the retail space - and no method for ingress and egress (which means that the city will have to pay off-duty police to manage traffic).

Meanwhile, the SEC (the commission that oversees financials, not the football conference) opened an investigation into the city of Miami finances - unrelated to the Marlins. Basically they were trying to figure how the city stayed solvent, and improved its bond rating...no final word yet, but we hear that they have uncovered an elaborate shell game where money has been moved around to make the books look good.  And that investigation has been going on for 2 years, which probably means its big.

And then yesterday, the SEC widened its investigation to look into the stadium agreement.  It seems clear to me this is not about the Marlins, at least overtly. The larger issue is how much money the city borrowed, how they got it, the interest the paid, and how they plan to repay it.  Now the fact that the SEC also subpoenaed the Marlins finances and campaign contributions tells me that there is a larger tale - and the underpinnings of the deal are at issue.  It might affect the Marlins, but this is about how we came to this state...needless to say relentless critic of the Marlins Norman Braman is enjoying this turn of events.

Now one side note: the Marlins assured us that there would be parks on all 4 corners, and there would be a fun walkway between downtown and the stadium.  Turns out that the stadium is so large it actually abuts residential areas on all 4 corners - there is no room for a park!  And walkways?  Haha.  Nope.



Friday, December 02, 2011

The Packers

The Green Bay Packers announced that they will be having an offering of 250,000 shares of stock in the team, starting next month.

I still love the idea that the Packers are publicly owned.

On a more serious note...

Sunday is the day Jim Mandich will be inducted into the ring of honor (posthumously).  It should be at least a little emotional, with over 40 former Dolphins - who played with Jim - in attendance.  Included on that list are many that played for the undefeated team.

On the list are not so regulars Larry Csonka and Jake Scott.  Now that's kind of cool.

A giveaway?

I saw that the Fins are pimping tickets to the Nat Moore BBQ Bash before the Raiders game, with a chance to win seats on a fighter jet for the game flyover.

Okay, I'm trying to figure that out.  The flyover happens just before kickoff.  The BBQ goes on for 2 hours before kickoff.  So assuming you won, you would have to leave the BBQ less than hour in, and you would get back about 1/3 way through the second quarter.  

Essentially, you would miss the BBQ (the reason you'd be buying the ticket) and a segment of the game (the reason you're heading out to the stadium).

But then, considering how well the Dolphins have played for 11 weeks, missing the game may not be the worst thing.  

And that's a pretty good prize, isn't it?  Not having to watch the game!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Say NO to Internet Censorship

As a pretty heavy Internet user, I wanted to pass this along:

This week Congress is debating whether to grant themselves the
power to turn off parts of the Internet. Fun sites you YouTube.
Informative sites like Wikipedia. Political sites like MoveOn.org.

If enacted, new laws would force Internet Service Providers to block
websites that any corporation suspects violates a copyright or suspects
doesn't monitor it's users' content close enough for copyrighted
materials. That means that any website, foreign or based in the U.S.,
could be wiped out on suspicion and made unavailable to everyone in the
world.

This week there will be a historic filibuster of the Internet Censorship
Act where the names of every person that signs a petition against Internet
censorship will be read. I added my name. Please add yours too.

http://pol.moveon.org/nointernetcensorship/?r_by=33343-18969411-9IWrtfx&rc=pac_nointernetcensorship_letter.email.g0

Thanks!

Who would have guessed?

With the dolphins starting 0-7 and the eagles underperforming, who had Jack Del Rio as the first coach fired?


And with the owner announcing the sale of the team, it seems likely this will be team to move to el-lay

Mor-on parcells

Apparently he made several comments while doing an interview last night with (gasp) a national broadcast.


He talked about Sparano, the dolphins, and other topics. But speaking about the dolphins amuses me.


Because HE IS STILL ON THE PAYROLL. Rather than talking about Sparano, etc why not pick up the phone and call your boss (the guy who is paying you) and telling *him* what you think. After all, that was what he paid you for.


Oh forgot. You can't do that; you're a wanker.

Please not him!

Andy Reid is on the hot seat in Philly, and I'm guessing he gets fired before Sparano.

Assuming both get fired, I do NOT want Reid here. No question that the guy can develop a QB and he has a good offensive mind.


But he can't win consistently and struggles in the playoffs. I'd rather not have him around as another retread.


Oh and while I'm at it, I'm still disturbed by the story from a few seasons ago - about his older sons running a drug house out of *his* house. I know you're away more often than not, but c'mon man!

Parcells says?

Bill Parcells says of Andrew Luck:


"Anyone who says that this guy is the hands down, Heisman Trophy winner or the first pick in the draft right now, I don't know they know what they are talking about. There's not been enough work done yet."


And since he had so much success here with his approach, you can discount that.  He's an idiot.




Monday, November 28, 2011

Spoilers?

I've heard several people talk recently about how the Dolphins are prepared to play "spoiler" to other teams in their last 5 games.

Okay, I'm confused by this. 

Why?  Because there's nothing to spoil. 

There are 5 games left, and here's how they stack up:
The Patriots - they win the division, hands down. Can't do much there.
The Jets - maybe, just maybe, Miami could eliminate the Jets.  But if the Jets lose just one other game, its irrelevant. And even if they were to win out, its still a long shot for the Jets to make the playoffs.
The Raiders - they lead their division, and are in the mix for the wildcard if Denver catches up to them.  And a loss to Miami probably doesn't change anything
The Eagles - they are going nowhere; no chance to affect them
The Bills - same as the Eagles

So, I would argue there's nothing to "spoil"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

JT

I heard this morning that JT is suing a guy who he had a business dealing with. (you can read about it here: Jason Taylor -- Investment Broker Ran Off With My Money! | TMZ.com)

Of course this is not the first time this has happened.  A few years ago, he invested in some property off shore for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the deal went south.  

This allegation - at its heart - is over $275,000.  Now, I'm not going to say its chump change.  And if the guy stole it, then certainly its wrong.

But consider this: Taylor has made more than $30,000,000 in his playing career, and has more from endorsements and other things (like Dancing with the Stars).  So, the amount represents less than 1% of his net worth.  Which would equate - in average Joe dollars - to $500 off of a $50,000 salary.  Again, I'd be pissed if someone stole $500, but it wouldn't be news worthy.

I find it interesting how the citizenry reacts to numbers sometimes - especially when there is a big name attached to it.