Connect with us

Sports

Preakness May Have to Leave Baltimore for Laurel to Stay in MD

THE AFRO — Baltimore may have to rely on the CIAA Basketball Tournament to recoup whatever the city may lose in tourism dollars if the Preakness moves to Laurel in 2021.  Despite pleas to keep the second jewel of the Triple Crown in Charm City, Laurel Race Track appears to be the choice of The Stronach Group, who owns both venues, but wants grow the track that sits on the edge of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties into a “super track” in the near future.

Published

on

By Mark F. Gray

Baltimore may have to rely on the CIAA Basketball Tournament to recoup whatever the city may lose in tourism dollars if the Preakness moves to Laurel in 2021.  Despite pleas to keep the second jewel of the Triple Crown in Charm City, Laurel Race Track appears to be the choice of The Stronach Group, who owns both venues, but wants grow the track that sits on the edge of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties into a “super track” in the near future.

Baltimore acting Mayor Jack Young implored the state legislature last week to quash a bill that would continue funding for the Stronach Group, who has been guaranteed $87.2 million in Gov. Hogan’s 2019 budget to spend on racing facilities.  However, according to reports, the company has spent $14.3 million at Laurel and only $1.4 million at Pimlico.

The premiere HBCU basketball tournament traditionally brings an impact of $50 million to the city of Charlotte, who Baltimore won the bid from in February. If the Preakness moves 26 miles south and the basketball tournament proves successful, the tourism and hospitality impact could prove to be negligible.

However, Baltimore’s loss may be Laurel’s gain. Laurel could possibly get a boost from the Stronach Group’s plans to consolidate its facilities there and they have been very public about wanting to turn Laurel Race Track into an entertainment destination whether the Preakness moves or not. The group has made it known that it would like to host the Breeders Cup at the track, but that would require state lawmakers to approve an additional $120 million for upgrades at the property.

The state’s 2019 budget allocation to use on racing facilities comes from a state Racetrack Facility Renewal Account that is paid through casino slot games.

According to reports, the Maryland Stadium Authority estimates repairs and new construction around Pimlico would cost $434 million. Laurel Race Track needs $120 million to repair the barn area, modernize the clubhouse and relocate the wetlands on the property, but the Stronach Group wants the state to provide that money too.

However, Laurel also has its own concerns. Residents of the community have traditionally complained they weren’t interested in dealing with more traffic in the area where MD Rt. 198 extends from Fort Meade past Baltimore Washington Parkway to US Rt. 1. The two lane roadways in each direction have become congested in recent years thanks to housing communities being constructed and the emphasis on retail business.

“It would probably mean things get tighter in the area,” said Mr. W., a 30-year resident from Baltimore who didn’t want to be identified by the AFRO since he’s a government contractor. “I could see it benefitting the area because there’s a lot of redevelopment going on around here. I would hate to see the Preakness leave Baltimore though.”

The race track has also been under scrutiny from Maryland Jockey Club and state lawmakers, who have been evaluating conditions for employees who live there. Baltimore state Delegate Nick Mosby and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman lead a contingent that toured the facility on April 5.

However, if bringing Breeder’s Cup races to Maryland truly is a goal, each of Maryland’s century old racing facilities needs major renovations. Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., home of the Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Park in New York, which hosts the Belmont Stakes are entertainment venues with activities that attract more than gamblers who bet on races.

“I support improvement of Laurel and turning that into an entertainment destination, regardless of whether the Preakness moves,” Pittman said.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

Bay Area

Kaplan to WNBA: Bring New Team Here!

Support to bring a WNBA team extends past a solid fanbase, as local regulating agencies have also taken key votes to prepare for a WNBA team in Oakland. With the leadership of Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, in July 2021, both the Oakland Coliseum Authority and the Oakland City Council unanimously and enthusiastically voted in favor of a term sheet to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.

Published

on

@PaulCobbOakland @NNPA_BlackPress @BlackPressUSA @Kaplan4Oakland @WNBA
Ray Bobbitt, President of African American Sports and Entertainment Group, who purchased the Coliseum as part of its East Oakland Development Plan, thanks Rebecca Kaplan for providing the City Council leadership in 2021 for the AASEG to bring a WNBA Franchise along with jobs, housing, businesses and sports enterprises to Oakland. Photo by Jonathan “Fitness” Jones.

By Post Staff

Oakland Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan will introduce a resolution on Sept. 20, 1:30 p.m. to the Oakland City Council urging the Women’s National Basketball Association (“WNBA”) to approve the City of Oakland as the home for a new WNBA Team.

The WNBA has discussed plans to expand the number of WNBA teams on its roster for the past number of years. Kaplan said, “the City of Oakland must make it clear that not only are we supportive of bringing a WNBA Team to Oakland but are excited to be partners and collaborators with the WNBA during the expansion. This resolution, therefore, extends our strong support towards this effort and urges the WNBA to make Oakland the home for a WNBA team.”

When asked by the Post whether she had heard that San Francisco might be a potential WNBA competitor, even though Oakland started first with its bid, Kaplan said, “Oakland is ideally suited for a WNBA team because of our fervent and rooted fanbase, existing arena space and shared core values with the WNBA. The Bay Area has the fourth-highest number of WNBA fans among U.S. markets without a WNBA team — 418,816 WNBA fans, higher than eight current markets with a WNBA team. More than a half million Bay Area market adults play basketball, and the Bay Area ranks in the top 30 markets in household delivery for the WNBA Regular Season.”

In October of 2021, it was announced that WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard, who spent 15 years playing the WNBA and earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Attorney Jade Smith-Williams, of the law firm Baily & Glasser, LLP, a local Oakland women’s basketball legend and who played professionally overseas, would join in the leading efforts by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (“AASEG”) to have an Oakland Black and Women WNBA Team ownership process.

In addition to a strong fan base, Oakland already has a world-class arena at the center of a multimodal corridor ready to house a WNBA team. The Oakland Arena is easily accessible by both highway and public transportation, complete with a pedestrian bridge that allows fans direct access from the Coliseum BART station. The arena sits on 132 acres with 10,000 on-site parking spaces. It is also airport accessible, and a stone’s throw away from the Capitol Corridor rail line. This multimodal connectivity will allow not only Oaklanders to conveniently attend games but also fans from across California. From former Monarchs supporters to women’s basketball enthusiasts, Oakland will draw fans from the Bay Area megaregion and beyond.

Support to bring a WNBA team extends past a solid fanbase, as local regulating agencies have also taken key votes to prepare for a WNBA team in Oakland. With the leadership of Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, in July 2021, both the Oakland Coliseum Authority and the Oakland City Council unanimously and enthusiastically voted in favor of a term sheet to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.

Kaplan states, “Oakland is a community that values social justice, equality, and women’s rights. These principles align with those of the WNBA, and we are ready to move forward as a partner in advancing those goals as the home for a new WNBA team.”

Continue Reading

Activism

Veterans Fish Free

NABVETS and other Bay Area veterans groups will join together with East Bay Regional Park District to go fishing, 9:00am to 2:30pm Saturday, September 27 at the Oakley Regional Shoreline (Antioch Pier) at Bridgehead Road and Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA. 

Published

on

NABVETS and other Bay Area veterans groups will join together with East Bay Regional Park District to go fishing, 9:00am to 2:30pm Saturday, September 27 at the Oakley Regional Shoreline (Antioch Pier) at Bridgehead Road and Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, CA.

Buses will provide free transportation from Richmond and Concord. For information, view the flyer below or call 510-545-2554.

Continue Reading

Black History

COMMENTARY: Inspiring Tennis from Serena, Tiafoe, and Coco Gauff

The match that had people buzzing came last Friday, featuring Serena Williams, considered the best women’s player ever. Nearly 41-years old, a mother of a young child, Serena had announced her retirement. Friday would be her last match.

Published

on

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

Tennis, anyone? In my Mission District neighborhood growing up, we had courts. But us kids always chose the adjoining basketball court. And in the summer and fall, we chose the big patch of grass for baseball and football. They tried to get us to play tennis by giving us free rackets. But they were wooden, and we broke them at the handle easily. Besides, the famous players whose names graced the rackets were Rod Laver, Tony Trabert. White guys, not like any of us.

That was in my day. If only we had seen more people like us to encourage us to play in white spaces.

But imagine growing up now watching the U.S. Open.

This week an African American from Maryland, 24-year-old Frances Tiafoe, ranked No. 22 in the world beat the No.2 seed of the tournament, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and became the youngest American to advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Andy Roddick in 2006.

Tiafoe played with such joy, indicative of a love instilled in him by his father, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, who worked as a maintenance man at a tennis development facility in the DC area. While his dad worked late nights tending to the clay courts, his mother, a nurse, worked nights. It made the young Tiafoe sleep at the facility during the week. That’s how you fall in love with the game. It becomes part of your dreams.

But Tiafoe is a young emerging phenom. The match that had people buzzing came last Friday, featuring Serena Williams, considered the best women’s player ever. Nearly 41-years old, a mother of a young child, Serena had announced her retirement. Friday would be her last match.

For her send off, Serena gave us plenty of fight and passion. After a second-round victory that stunned even her fans, Serena had people talking about her possibly winning the whole thing. In the third round match, she was down 5-1 in the final set. She’s overcome that kind of deficit before, but … would she? Could she? Now?

Serena fought off six match points before she meekly hit a final ball into the net that made her younger opponent Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, the victor.

But we got what we needed. A life lesson. Serena in braids and a sparkly black tennis dress, showed the fire of never giving up. Six match points she battled. Commentator/former tennis champion Chris Evert described the Serena method as reaching for the stars, failing, then getting up to fight again.

The beauty of that process? Sometimes you’ll fail well enough to win. Over and over again.

That’s how Serena became such a dominant champion, winning 39 major titles — the most in history by man or woman in the open era. Among those laurels were 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles.

And to think, Serena and her sister Venus, another great champion, all did it out of that tennis haven — Compton, Calif.

When I saw them both play, I was already too old to play competitively. But I wasn’t too old to be motivated to pick up a racket and hit some balls. That’s how inspiring both Williams sisters have been for more than two decades.

Now here comes a new generation of fresh stars half their age, Americans in the U.S. Open quarterfinals like the exuberantly physical Tiafoe and the screaming 18-year-old Coco Gauff.

There’s some diverse tennis role models now if you want to work on your forehand.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him at www.amok.com

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending