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MLB Power Rankings: Ebbets Field and the Top 50 Stadiums in Baseball History

With the addition of MLB Network and expanded coverage on ESPN and other networks, a baseball fan can literally watch hundreds of baseball games each year from their own home. That said, nothing beats attending a game in person, as it is as much a part of summer as anything.

I have the privilege of living in the Chicago area and going to several games each year at the baseball mecca that is Wrigley Field, and with so many stadiums being rebuilt in the last decade it is one of the few classic stadiums still standing.

Baseball went through a stretch in the 1960 and 1970 when “cookie cutter” multipurpose stadiums were all the rage, and because of that there was an era of stadiums that were uninspired to say the least.

Still, there have been some truly great stadiums over the years, and what follows is the 50 greatest stadiums in baseball history.

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MLB Power Rankings: 15 Best Up-and-Coming Prospects in the AL West

Baseball is all about rebuilding.

Just ask the 1997 Florida Marlins. Or maybe the 2003 Marlins.

With by far the biggest minor league system out of any of the major professional sports, baseball teams are constantly cycling through new players.

All it takes is a slow start to the season. If teams find themselves out of contention early, it’s not uncommon to see them dump big contracts and look towards the farm system and the future.

So, to fully have a grasp on where your team is headed, it is important to keep an eye on the minor leagues and the top prospects.

Let’s take a look at the young guns that can eventually help rebuild some of the teams in the AL West.

Also, I’ll just do it by position, as opposed to ranking them in order. A prospect all-star team, if you will.  

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MLB Trade Ideas: 7 Teams That Could Pursue Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp

When many teams around MLB contact the Los Angeles Dodgers front office about the possibility of a prospective trade, the first player usually brought up in any conversation is outfielder Matt Kemp.

In the weeks prior to the trade deadline last season, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was adamant that Kemp wasn’t available for trade, but that didn’t stop other teams from inquiring. It could be a different story this year. Kemp’s current contract expires at the end of this season, and owner Frank McCourt may very well base the decision to retain Kemp on his production during the first half of the 2011 campaign.

If Kemp isn’t extended for more than two years, he will become a free agent for the first time after the 2013 season. Considering he will earn $6.95 million this year, his salary demands could easily reach eight figures as he enters his final year of pre-arbitration.

Like many of his teammates, Kemp’s 2010 statistics saw a significant decline from his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove year in 2009. Despite the fall in production, we already examined why many expect Kemp to significantly improve in 2011 here.

The following slides show seven teams that may pursue Matt Kemp in the months leading to the 2011 trade deadline, and even if the Dodgers decide that Kemp’s best future is in Los Angeles, Colletti will once again find himself in a position of entertaining dozens of phone calls before July 31.     

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Power Ranking the Greatest Aprils in Dodgers History

In the 127-year history of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, there have been many great seasons and Hall of Fame players, including several outstanding Aprils.

Originally from Brooklyn, the Dodgers not only switched cities, but also changed team names, including wacky names like the Robins, Atlantics, Grays, Superbas, Grooms and Bridegrooms.

The Major League Baseball season begins in late March or early April, and it can be tough to have a successful season without a strong start. As a franchise, the Dodgers have won 22 pennants, the second-most of any team behind the New York Yankees, due in big part to a plethora of great Aprils.

Here are the 10 greatest Aprils in Dodgers history.

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MLB Power Rankings: Which Teams Are in the Black and Which Ones Are Going Broke

Forbes has released its list of the most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball. And, as in most things that have to do with money, they appear to have done a terrific and thorough job.

According to Forbes, the value of baseball franchises has never been higher. Still, some of the more valuable teams, like the Mets, also are the most financially troubled.

The most shocking and disturbing thing about this list is the gap between the value of the top teams and the bottom teams.

Now, I want you to enjoy this slideshow so I won’t give away too many details, but the gap is larger than a billion dollars. The increase in value is fairly slow and steady until we approach the upper-echelon of organizations.

I’ll leave the dynamics of how and where the teams are generating their revenue and value to Forbes.

We are going to discuss how this value affects their payroll and what kind of production they are receiving for their payroll. We can also mix in a little future speculation.

Notes: The 2011 salary figures are estimates that include projected arbitration etc. by Baseball-Reference.com. The individual salaries for players were obtained on SportsCity.com.

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Ranking MLB’s Most Valuable Teams

Mike Ozanian is a senior editor at Forbes, and this is a guest column for Bleacher Report.

Baseball has emerged from the recession with a big bang.

The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year. All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians. The increase in team values is the result of greater revenue for teams playing in new stadiums, like the New York Yankees (up 6% in value to $1.7 billion) and Minnesota Twins (up 21% to $491 million) as well as the Florida Marlins (up 13% to $360 million), who are scheduled to move into their new stadium in 2012.

Strong attendance and local television ratings boosted the values for teams like the Philadelphia Phillies (up 13% to $609 million) and Cincinnati Reds (up 13% to $375 million). The Yankees are baseball’s most valuable team for the 14th straight year (since Forbes began valuing franchises in 1998). The gap between the Yankees and No. 2 Baltimore in 1998 was 12%. Today the Yankees are 86% more valuable than No. 2 Boston.

The top 10 MLB teams:

#1 New York Yankees: $1.7 billion

#2 Boston Red Sox: $912 million

#3 Los Angeles Dodgers: $800 million

#4 Chicago Cubs: $773 million

#5 New York Mets: $747 million

#6 Philadelphia Phillies: $609 million

#7 San Francisco Giants: $563 million

#8 Texas Rangers: $561 million

#9 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: $554 million

#10 Chicago White Sox: $526 million


Yankee Global Enterprises is a three-engine money-making machine. The baseball team generated $325 million in revenue from regular-season tickets and luxury suites in 2010. Sponsorship revenue at the stadium is $85 million annually thanks to deals with PepsiCo, Bank of America, MasterCard, Delta Air Lines and others.

The YES Network, the team’s 34%-owned regional sports channel, is the most profitable RSN in the country and had over $400 million in revenue last year. The Yankees own a stake in Legends Hospitality Management, which manages stadiums, and generates $25 million in operating income. The enterprise value for the Yankees, YES and Legends is $5.1 billion.

Another big winner was the Texas Rangers (up 25%, to $561 million). Ray Davis and Bob Simpson bought the team, the lease to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and some nearby real estate from Tom Hicks in a bankruptcy court auction for $593 million in July. Not only are the Rangers, which needed assistance from MLB to meet payroll last season, much better capitalized (the new owners infused the team with $225 million of equity), the team also has a new, richer cable deal. It signed a 20-year TV deal with Fox Sports Southwest that is expected to pay more than $1.5 billion over the life of the contract. The afterglow of the team’s first World Series appearance in October will also boost sponsorship and ticket revenues this year.

A year ago baseball teams were still fretting about the recession and what it might mean for attendance. Yet 73 million fans showed up at the ballpark last summer, which was the sixth highest total of all-time and down just 0.4% from 2009. Twenty teams drew at least 2 million fans, while nine teams topped the 3 million mark, led by the Yankees at 3.8 million. An overall improvement in the economy and better lending conditions boosted the average multiple of revenues that teams are valued at slightly to 2.5.

Overall, revenue for baseball’s 30 teams increased 4%, to $6.1 billion. Total operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell 5%, to $494 million as rising stadium (rent and operating costs) and team (marketing and player development) expenses ate into profits.

The most profitable team was the San Diego Padres, which had an operating income of $37 million in 2010. The team’s attendance surged by 200,000 at Petco Park as the Padres finished just two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The Padres managed to post a 90-72 record despite a payroll of just $38 million, which was the lowest in baseball. The Padres also benefited from a revenue-sharing check of more than $30 million.

Thanks to more than $400 million sent from high-revenue to low-revenue teams, several teams with low attendance were able to post operating profits of at least $10 million. Among them: the Pittsburgh Pirates ($25 million), Kansas City Royals ($10 million), Oakland Athletics ($23 million) and Marlins ($20 million).

Only three teams had a negative operating income in 2010: the Detroit Tigers (-$29 million), Mets (-$6 million) and Boston Red Sox (-$1 million), which collectively spent $475 million on players (including benefits and bonuses). Each ranked among the top six biggest spenders last year, but the Mets and Red Sox own stakes in regional sports networks, which offset any losses on the diamond.

Bad news in baseball? Two marquee franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mets, are suffocating from debt and legal issues. The Dodgers, owned by Frank McCourt and his estranged wife Jamie, have $433 million of debt, while the Mets, owned by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, owe creditors $450 million. Both teams are begging lenders for more money and are looking for investors.

The Dodgers and Mets problems could seep into the rest of the MLB. The Mets’ overall revenue fell 13% last year thanks to a 25% drop in gate receipts. The Dodgers’ total revenue was flat. Problems among big-market teams caused baseball’s revenue-sharing pool to shrink last season for the first time since the new sharing system was put in place in 2002. Low-revenue teams divvied up $404 million compared to $433 million in 2009, with the Yankees writing the biggest check of $119 million. The Mets’ revenue is expected to fall further in 2011, which could dent revenue-sharing even more.

Kurt Badenhausen and Christina Settimi of Forbes.com also contributed to this story.

See the Full List Ranking MLB’s Most Valuable Teams

Plus, check out more great content from Forbes.com:

MLB’s Highest Paid Players

NBA’s Most Valuable Teams

NBA’s Highest Paid Players

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

L.A. Dodgers: Which Minor League Prospect Will Be Called Upon First in 2011?

With Opening Day only one week away and the list of injuries seemingly growing, fans across Dodgertown are left wondering if a door may open for one of several minor league prospects within the organization.

The track record of general manager Ned Colletti suggests that he much rather prefers middle-of-the-road veterans over the youngsters, however a handful of the farmhands have already shown positive value over the course of Cactus League play this spring.

There are still at least two to three roster spots wide open, and considering that Vicente Padilla, Jon Garland and Casey Blake may not be ready for the opener against the San Francisco Giants on March 31, management may indeed turn to one of the youngsters early.

The following slides show seven current minor league players who may be called upon much earlier than anticipated, offer a brief background on each, as well as offer a short summary on how each performed during their opportunities this spring.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: 9 Innings of Trade Candidates for James Loney

After a disappointing 2010 campaign, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed first-baseman James Loney only to a one-year deal.

With a decrease in home-runs and batting average each of the last four seasons, anything more than a one-year deal may have been questioned.

So, the question remains; Should the Dodgers give him one more year to get back on track, or put him on the trade block?

Well, here are some potential candidates if L.A. chooses the latter. 

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2011 MLB Predictions: Felix Hernandez and the Top 20 AL Cy Young Candidates

The decision to award the 2010 Cy Young to Felix Hernandez was a historical aberration. His 13-12 record was by far the worst of any starting pitcher to win the award; his 12 losses were the most for any pitcher who failed to win 20 games.

That did not matter in the eyes of the voters, however. Had he worn a jersey reading “New York” rather than “Seattle,” he could have won close to 25 games, so good were his statistics other than his Win-Loss record.

Now, with Opening Day just over two weeks away, our attention turns to the 2011 award, and whether or not someone can dethrone King Felix.

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MLB Power Rankings: Baseball’s Top 10 Rookie Hazing Costume Rituals

It’s been going on for many moons in leagues across the nation.

In Major League Baseball, it’s no different. The rooks get messed with by the savvy vets.

The objective? Humiliation.

Over the past decade, hazing has gotten a bad rap, mostly due to the fact that high-school athletes seem to focus their hazing rituals on cruelty rather then good-natured fun.

While most stories involve cross dressing and costume shenanigans, let’s take a look at some funny times in MLB hazing history.

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