N.J. officials want team in Meadowlands

Updated: April 15, 2004, 12:00 PM ET
Associated Press

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 break.

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 Wednesday.

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."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press