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"Pitchers and catchers report today."

Those are the sweetest five words in the English language for a baseball fan like me. While there are millions of us, only a fortunate few can afford to be owners. But if you can get your hands on a cool $20 million, you just might have a shot at buying your own baseball team.

The Las Vegas 51s began their seventh season this year up for sale as the Triple-A baseball franchise of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mandalay Baseball Properties is the majority owner of the team, and it has hired Lehman Brothers to broker the sale. The 51s have become profitable in recent years, and as rumors fly that Major League Baseball may bow to pressure for a major league franchise in Las Vegas, the 51s have become even more popular.

And the news gets better. Let's face it; American sports fans are spoiled. With few exceptions, we like our stadiums and ballparks modern. Las Vegas fans are no exception. Luckily for them, the city's mayor is open to the idea of building the team a stadium. In contrast to the $400 to $600 million spent to erect facilities for professional teams, the $30 to $40 million that would build a new home for the 51s is an absolute steal—no pun intended.



The 51s have been operating in Southern Nevada longer than any other sports franchise and have undergone quite a few changes for this season. For one thing, they named Lorenzo Bundy as their new manager for the 2007 season, making him the 18th manager in the team's history. But most interestingly, they have created a really, let's say, unique logo to mark this season.

In case you didn't know, the original nickname for this franchise was the Stars, a name they used for their first 18 seasons, from 1983 to 2000. Back when they were the Stars, they were an affiliate of the San Diego Padres organization. Then, a bolt of creativity struck the team, and they designed an entirely new alien-theme logo.

"Why?" you may ask. (Well, at least you should.) It seems the semi-secret government base known as Area 51, which is located 160 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was their inspiration. There are always reports of UFO sightings and alien activities around the base, and the franchise changed its nickname from the Stars to the 51s to open the 2001 season in honor of the aliens! That was also the year the team signed a player-development contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and became their Triple-A affiliate.

Now, if a minor league team is not your style and you have slightly more net worth, you could wait until the end of the season and put in a bid for the Chicago Cubs.


On the net:Las Vegas 51s
web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?
ymd=20061101&content_id=141549&vkey=news_t400&fext=.jsp&sid=t400


League President Agrees a New Ballpark Would Be Good for Las Vegas
www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sports/2007/mar/29/566616327.html

Tribune Plans to Sell Chicago Cubs
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR2007040200445.html?nav=rss_sports


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