x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Commissioner Selig must step in to solve issues in NY and LA

Not all is well with four of baseball's 30 franchises. Two are in financial limbo, and they happen to be in the top two markets.

As the season got under way, the business of baseball was in relatively good health.

The game grossed more than US$7 billion (Dh25.7bn) last season and attendance was mostly encouraging. What's more, a new agreement to replace the soon-to-expire collective bargaining agreement seems likely.

But not all is well with four of baseball's 30 franchises. Two teams are in financial limbo, and they happen to be in the top two markets.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are stuck in neutral while the owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, now legally divorced, battle over the division of their property, with the team stuck in the middle.

In New York, the Mets are being sued for their relationship with Bernie Madoff, who connived billions from investors. If the Mets lose the suit, the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, may be forced to sell the team.

Two other clubs have serious stadium problems. The Tampa Bay Rays are stuck in a horrible lease at Tropicana Field, and despite winning their division twice in three years, cannot attract fans.

The Oakland A's are similarly hamstrung by a bad ballpark. They would like to relocate to San Jose, but their rivals across San Francisco Bay, the Giants, hold territorial rights to San Jose and will not allow the A's passage.

Four franchises with uncertain futures is not good for business. Bud Selig, the commissioner, must step in to resolve the issues in New York and LA, and help the Rays and A's find new homes.