I will hold my comments to a later post. I am curious what y'alls think of this (from the Cape Cod Times).
Major League Baseball plays hardball with Cape Leaguevar isoPubDate = 'March 07, 2008'
The annual operating budget for the Cape Cod Baseball League is between $1.5 million and $2 million — not much more than the yearly salary of a backup infielder in Major League Baseball.
Yet the volunteer-staffed Cape League and the multimillion dollar MLB are locked in a struggle over money in what could be labeled a David vs. Goliath battle, with the Cape League's $100,000 annual grant from MLB hanging in the balance.
According to Cape League sources, the six teams in the 10-team Cape League that share nicknames with major league franchises are facing a choice: Purchase all future uniforms and souvenir merchandise from more expensive MLB-licensed vendors or lose the annual grant.
MLB is also requesting an 11 percent royalty on sales next summer of existing inventory from the six affected Cape League teams. Non-clothing items such as coffee mugs and teddy bears that are not available through MLB vendors could no longer be sold.
The affected teams are the Chatham A's, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Harwich Mariners, Bourne Braves, Orleans Cardinals and Hyannis Mets.
All six teams are considering changing their nicknames rather than shutting out local merchants, according to sources. But it is too late to adorn uniforms and merchandise with new logos before the June opening of the 2008 season.
Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop and league president Judy Walden Scarafile refused to comment on the trademark dispute.
Currently, the Cape League purchases a portion of its merchandise and uniforms from local vendors, some of whom also provide sponsorship. Those merchants would be cut out of the new arrangement.
Originally, the Cape League had until 5 p.m. today to sign the agreement. The deadline was extended to March 21, allowing Cape League officials more time to research the issue.
The Cape League hopes to reach a compromise with MLB that will allow local merchants to remain involved in sales of uniforms and other merchandise. The league is also seeking to delay a new agreement until Sept. 1, thus avoiding losing revenue in the 2008 season.
The league also would no longer be allowed to use the MLB logo on its programs and yearbooks. Recently, MLB granted approval for usage of its logo, but that could prove temporary. Originally, the Cape League paid a token $1 fee for use of the logo. That agreement ended more than five years ago.
Negotiations are ongoing. But a source, while hopeful a compromise will be reached, said the league was not going to "roll over" or be "strong-armed" by MLB.
Cape League officials have been told that failure to comply with the terms of the new agreement would place their MLB funding in jeopardy.
MLB has provided an annual grant to the Cape League since the late 1960s, originally contributing $10,000.
Loss of the $100,000 grant would constitute a major hit to a league that relies largely on volunteers, sponsorships and the generosity of local communities. A source said expenses would need to be reduced, and the league could be forced to cut its budget for umpires.
The Cape League has long been a breeding ground for future major league players. There are currently more than 1,000 former Cape Leaguers in pro baseball, including more than 200 playing at the major league level.
MLB has made the same demands to eight other summer baseball leagues to which it has been providing grants. But none of those leagues includes more than two teams with nicknames of major league clubs.
Staff writer Rob Duca can be reached at email@example.com.