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That sound you just heard was Clay Bennett having another stroke moment.

Judge Marsha Pechman ruled against Clay Bennett and company today in their attempt to combine the lease issue and the damages issue.

This means that if somehow Bennett and company win the case to break the lease there will be a separate trial to determine the cost they would have to pay to break the lease. This trial would take considerable time to play out so any hope of a move this year was squashed today.

This is a huge win as it will lock the team here for this upcoming season unless they can negotiate a settlement with the city that lets them out of the lease. Obviously that isn’t going to happen so the team WILL be here for 2008-2009 meaning that the vote to relocate will expire and Bennett will have to re-apply at some later date if he still owns the team and wants to attempt a move.

More details later as we hear more.