N.J. officials want team in Meadowlands

4/15/2004 - New York Yankees

TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey wants to bring a major league team to the Meadowlands, a move the New York Yankees vowed to block.

Gov. James E. McGreevey supports the push by the New Jersey
Sports and Exposition Authority.

"He thinks New Jersey would be a good place for a team, he
thinks we have the market for it," McGreevey spokesman Micah
Rasmussen said Wednesday.

McGreevey and George Zoffinger, the authority's president, are
in discussions with the commissioner's office to bring a team to
New Jersey, Rasmussen said.

"He (McGreevey) said Zoffinger is going to pursue it hard,"
Rasmussen said.

Although the talks have not centered on any specific team, the
Montreal Expos are owned by the other 29 teams, and the
commissioner's office hopes to select a new home by the All-Star

Still, the Expos won't be headed to the Meadowlands.

"New Jersey is not on the list of candidates being
considered," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

The rights of the Yankees and Mets would complicate a move to
New Jersey. The Meadowlands are about 10 miles from Yankee Stadium.

"The commissioner's office has advised us that the Montreal Expos will not be going into the Meadowlands, and we will
vigorously object and exercise all our rights if any attempts are
made to put any major league team there," Yankees president Randy
Levine said.

The Yankees maintain that New Jersey was within their
territorial rights.

Zoffinger said he and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, a
member of baseball's relocation committee, have spoken three times
within the past six weeks, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported

Zoffinger also met two weeks ago with architect Janet-Marie
Smith, who helped design Baltimore's Camden Yards, and she
presented him with two plans for what would be a $200 million to
$300 million stadium. One plan would put it at the Continental
Airlines Arena site, which is in the heart of the proposed $1
billion Xanadu retail and entertainment complex, while the other
would put it behind the Meadowlands Racetrack on a site where horse
barns are located.

"It's gone from something I didn't think was possible to
something that actually could happen," Zoffinger was quoted as
saying. "Jerry Reinsdorf told me that baseball is interested in
the Meadowlands because we are building a family entertainment
center and bringing mass transit to the site."