NFL commissioner wants players back at bargaining table

This letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went out to players Thursday and was published by's Mike Freeman. Here it is in its entirety:

Dear NFL player,

As you know, negotiations between the NFL Players Association and the clubs have not led to an agreement. Last Friday, the NFLPA Walked out of the federal mediator’s offices in Washington, told us that it had abandoned its right to represent you as a union, and filed a lawsuit. Some hours later, the clubs instituted a lockout.

Md. tracks losing millions, ask for extended subsidy

Track operators used unaudited financial statements Tuesday as fuel for their argument for a state subsidy beyond the 2010 racing season.-Maryland Jockey Club, Jim McCue via AP
Maryland's thoroughbred racetracks lost record amounts of money in 2008 and 2009, in a sign that even the coveted Preakness Stakes is no longer enough to hold the state's racing industry together.

Track operators used unaudited financial statements Tuesday as fuel for their argument for a state subsidy beyond the 2010 racing season, despite the fact that the Maryland Jockey Club's owners spent millions of dollars over the last two years fighting several legal battles.

When asked if the tracks would have been in the black if not for the expensive legal battles the club has waged in its attempt to get slots at Laurel Park, Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas said the financial situation was dire.

Train, Bruno Mars headlining Preakness' Infieldfest

Preakness Stakes organizers are learning that revamping the image of the historic race's infield party (read: drunken boozefest) doesn't necessarily mean making it old. Now in the third year of Infieldfest promoters announced this week that Grammy Award winners Bruno Mars and Train will lighlight the entertainment -- a far cry from the good old days when the Runing of the Urinals used to be the party's prime entertainment.

It's also a far cry from ZZ Top. We're not knocking the rocker ... but the headline act in 2009, the first year Preakness organizers overhauled the infield by nixing the BYOB policy, definitely put an older spin to the infield, which suffered in attendance that year.

The NFL lockout unfolds on Twitter

Finally -- a decent reason to follow Twitter. No where on Friday has news been more aflurry on the lockout than n the social network for people with 140-character attention spans.

We're still in the middle of it now so I'll update this later but I've taken the liberty of compiling the story as it has unfolded on Twitter:

AdamSchefter 5:02pm via ÜberSocial

RT @AndrewSiciliano: Mort reporting NFLPA decertifies in federal court in Minneapolis

RayRice27 5:04pm via Echofon

Looks like we are about to get locked out

Bethesda developer spunky -- or pig-headed?

rosecroft at duskReal estate mogel and former Democratic Party big whig Nathan Landow just doesn't seem to know when to quit. Or he's got pluck -- we still can't decide. Two weeks after the sale of Rosecroft Raceway to gaming company Penn National Gaming was finalized, Landow is still contesting the transaction with a motion pending in court.

Landow was the losing bidder to Penn National at the track's auction in January. Oriole Owner Peter Angelos was also a bidder but stepped out after the first round, meaning he was likely only in the race to drum up interest and bidding.

NCAA's inconsistent suspension policy

Below is a great read from the NYT's Michael Sokolove on the suspension of Baylor basketball star Perry Jones. The piece highlights the inconsistencies in the NCAA's policy regarding payments and gifts for athletes and coaches. Somehow a $1,000 loan to a player's mother is worse (more suspendable) than a B.C.S. championship game QB's dad seeking cash payments during his son’s recruitment?

You be the judge. Read on:

On the N.C.A.A. Benching of Perry Jones

That Perry Jones may have run run afoul of some N.C.A.A. rules, triggering his suspension for Baylor’s Big 12 tournament game last night, is, in one sense, not shocking.

Lockout down to the wire ... again

When the NFL owners and players announced last week they were extending their contract negotiations by one more week, it seemed like a positive move.

But I've seen glaciers move faster than these guys. Compared to their speed, dripping molassas would win a footrace by a mile. Are they even talking in there? Or are they just playing tic-tac-toe? Showing each other photos of their kids? Taking naps?

Stronach: why is everyone picking on me?

MARYLAND HORSE RACINGPoor, poor, Frank Stronach. He’s just a guy who likes horses and racing and is trying to get things done around here. Why do these pesky Marylanders keep dragging him into their little quibbles?

That’s what it seems like the intention was behind a letter Stronach, chair of MI Developments, which owns Maryland’s two thoroughbred racetracks, released to the media Tuesday. You know, the same day he was named in a lawsuit by would-be casino developer David Cordish, who’s sore about Maryland’s racing interests getting in the way of his development planned 12 miles north of Laurel Park.

Maryland casino spent millions on Anne Arundel campaign

Slot MachineThe casino being planned near Arundel Mills mall spent roughly $1 million a month lobbying voters to approve its zoning as a slots facility in Anne Arundel County, according to election records.

PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, a subsidiary of Baltimore's Cordish Cos., gave $3.1 million in contributions to the political group Jobs and Revenue for Anne Arundel County between August and November last year, according to the University of Maryland's Center for American Politics and Citizenship. The political group was lobbying county voters to vote "yes" on the Question A referendum that asked whether zoning should be approved for the casino and another site in the county.

Maryland casino developer hits racetracks with $600m defamation suit

By Liz Farmer
Examiner Staff Writer

The developer of Maryland’s largest casino is waging another battle against the state’s racetrack operators that fought to stop his development -- this time with a $600 million lawsuit filed in Baltimore Tuesday.

Baltimore-based Cordish Companies and two of its gaming subsidiaries say the owners of Laurel and Pimlico racetracks, the Maryland Jockey Club and others conspired against the developer to kill its planned casino near the Arundel Mills mall, costing Cordish millions in legal fees and damage to its reputation.

In a 43-page complaint, Cordish levels charges of conspiracy, defamation and tortious interference, saying that jockey club and track owners Penn National Gaming and MI Developments conspired in “an illicit campaign to destroy PPE of Maryland,” the Cordish subsidiary that broke ground on the Arundel Mills casino this month.

Maryland casino developer suing racetrack owners

The developer of a highly contested casino near the Arundel Mills Mall in Anne Arundel County is filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a slew of horse racing industry interests, including the owner of three of Maryland's four racetracks.

Baltimore's Cordish Co. and two of its gaming subsidiaries are claiming it was severely harmed and spent millions of dollars defending itself against false allegations made by opponents to its Arundel Mills casino. Cordish and its affiliates are asking for $300 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

(More) 'Beer here' on Opening Day

The Bullpen

Opening Day at Nationals Park this year may not include a win for our beloved basement dwellers, but it will give fans more chances to drown their sorrows.

The Bullpen, the outdoor bar, music and food joint that has operated across the street from the center field gates on Half Street, has announced plans to open a beer garden on the same block, according to the blog JDLand.

New owner for Rosecroft means slots surge in Maryland

If a bid of $10.25 million by Penn National to buy Rosecroft Raceway is approved, the move would put the company in position to be largest slots operator in Maryland. – Andrew Harnik/Examiner file
The emergence of Penn National Gaming as Rosecroft Raceway's new owner sets the stage for a new slots battle in Maryland that will be just as fierce as the last one, which stretched out for more than a decade.

Already a co-owner of Maryland's two thoroughbred tracks, Penn National swooped in as the victor in Rosecroft's bankruptcy auction, bidding $10.25 million for the beleaguered Prince George's County harness-racing track.

UConn booster gets uppity -- but after $7 M, wouldn't you?

Yeow-zah! Robert G. Burton, the largest donor in the history of the University of Connecticut's football program is peeved (that's a G-rated understatement) he wasn't kept in the loop when the school hired Paul Pasqualoni as its new head coach this month.

Check out this link to Burton's "personal and confidential" letter to the athletic director posted by the Connecticut Post (nice work guys!)

Here are a couple of the highlights:

Maryland's second casino opening Tuesday

Slot Machine

After multiple delays, Maryland's second casino — and the only one at a racetrack — is scheduled to open Tuesday at Ocean Downs Racetrack outside Ocean City.

Ocean Downs Casino and the Maryland Lottery conducted a demonstration of the casino last week that was attended by more than 500 guests. The grand opening is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The casino features 750 slot machines, retail and food service and is expected to generate an estimated 250 new jobs, according to officials.

Per Maryland Lottery requirements, 100 percent of Ocean Downs’ gambling and food and beverage revenue from the grand opening will be donated to the American Legion Post 166.

Ocean Downs, a harness racing track in Worcester County, was expected to open in May 2010, which would have made it the first casino in the state. But construction delays slowed progress. Penn National Gaming's Hollywood Casino in Perryville was the first to open in Maryland in September.

With the Ocean Downs Casino, Maryland will have two of its five designated slots sites up and running more than two years after voters approved gambling in the state.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Nationals' baseball academy close to construction after delays

The Washington Nationals are close to realizing their promise of bringing a youth baseball academy to the inner city -- thanks to the District footing at least two-thirds of the bill.
More than five years after baseball returned to D.C., a baseball academy in Southeast's Fort Dupont Park is expected to get the go-ahead for construction if approved by the city zoning board Thursday. The cost to build the academy is $13 million to $15 million, according to the Nationals. D.C. has authorized a grant of more than $10 million.