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COULD LABOR STRIFE LEAVE PHOENIX HIGH AND EVEN DRIER?
Published September 19, 1994
In Tampa, Bill Chastain writes, while MLB's players and owners consider "various rudiments of the strike," Phoenix is faced with the "prospect of withdrawing from the expansion race in the even of a prolonged labor stoppage." Phoenix and Tampa/St. Pete have been considered the frontrunners for any baseball expansion. Chastain notes that Suns owner Jerry Colangelo's contract with Maricopa County provides up to $153M in public financing for a $275M stadium to house baseball in downtown Phoenix. But the agreement and the 1/4-cent sales tax to support it contain "sunset" clauses that cancel everything if no franchise is awarded by April 1. Colangelo is convinced the strike will end in plenty of time for owners, "who promised him a franchise behind closed doors, to follow through with their promise." Colangelo told the ARIZONA REPUBLIC last week: "My information is they will meet the timetable we have. Our deal goes away April 1. Baseball is aware of that. That's not pressure. That's reality" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18). TAMPA WATCH: In Tampa, Edwin Roberts thinks Orlando will get the nod over Tampa/St. Pete: "That city has more than enough tourist-tax money to build an open-air stadium (the kind preferred by club owners), and one very rich man has offered to buy a team" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18).