Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Andrew Zimbalist is currently a paid consutant to MLB, has been such on and off for some years

1/29/13, "Important Disclosure on Zimbalist's Rays-to-Tampa Argument: He's Paid by MLB," shadowofthestadium.blogspot.com

"Last week, the Tampa Bay Times posted a Q and A on the Rays Stadium Saga with leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist.  I questioned a few of his statements, such as:
  • Downtown Tampa is the hub of regional business (Westshore has more office space);
  • St. Pete should offer the Rays a buy-out;
  • MLB could contract the Rays if no new stadium is built.
Then, after the Rays essentially echoed many of Zimbalist's sentiments on Thursday, I made a discovery:

Andrew Zimbalist is currently paid as an MLB consultant.

Zimbalist confirmed in an email he has worked off-and-on for the league over the years (including now).  He said he has also worked for the player's association, various teams, and numerous municipalities, but never directly for the Rays.

This isn't to question the validity of what Zimbalist was saying; merely to point out his relationship with MLB.  It's an important disclosure that was omitted from the Times article; especially significant given the "MLB has lost faith in Tampa" statements made just days later.

Below is a statement provided by the Tampa Bay Times:

"In response to a Times inquiry today, Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist confirmed Monday that he is a consultant for Major League Baseball. He declined to discuss whether he is on a retainer or works on a project-by-project basis. One of his most recent projects was economic modeling to change baseball’s revenue sharing system. He said he has no current projects for Major League Baseball.
Zimbalist has written numerous books on baseball economics and has consulted on various sides of contentious baseball issues over the years. He helped the U.S. Justice Department draft a bill to partially lift baseball’s anti-trust exemption. He has represented the players’ union in contract negotiations with baseball, consulted for the city of Minneapolis in fighting baseball’s threat to eliminate the Minnesota Twins and helped Tampa’s Frank Morsani, a would-be owner, sue Major League Baseball. 

The Times did not know of any ongoing relationship between Zimbalist and Major League Baseball when it published an interview with him on Jan. 21. If we had, we would have disclosed that to our readers. Zimbalist said nobody within baseball asked him to make the comments published in that article."" via BTF


BTF commenter to above article:

"7. Nasty Nate Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

...and my only interest was in finding a workable solution for the benefit of all fans and residents in the Tampa Bay area...
I wonder which specific problem(s) a solution is being sought for?

What are the problems that need solving?

I can think of a couple

(1) The owners aren't making as much money as they want.
(2) The game experience is pretty bad for the fans because of the low quality of the park.
(3) The team may leave the region (not just St. Pete itself).
(4) The team wants to break or amend its lease but is not having success.

If the most pressing issues are #1 and #4, then it shouldn't be framed as some public problem that everyone needs to join together to solve."

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