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In Vancouver, Mike Beamish compares the last round of NHL expansion (Anaheim & Florida) with the latest round of NBA expansion (Toronto and Vancouver), and concludes when the NHL decided to expand, "Rather than just the dregs, which is what any previous expansion team had been offered, the Panthers and Mighty Ducks were allowed to be respectable in their first season in the interests of establishing a hockey footprint in the American Sunbelt." By the same process, the NBA, "a league accustomed to innovation and less rigid infrastructure, chose the traditional style when it made its move into Canada. The theme of the latest NBA shakedown: Let's hose the hosers." The new NBA teams had to pay an entry fee of $125M, but will only get the 6th or 7th pick in the '95 draft, and the current teams will get to protect eight players on their 12 man rosters for the expansion draft. Other restraints: the new teams have agreed to a $10.6M salary cap in their first year versus the approximately $16M for other teams (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4). The cap rises to 75% of the league's cap in the 2nd season, and then equal in the 3r. The expansion draft is tentatively scheduled for June 21 in Toronto -- a week before the regular NBA draft (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). VANCOUVER WATCH: The Grizzlies have "deposits on hand" for just over 7,000 season tickets and 1,244 suite seats at "now under-construction" General Motors Place. The NBA requires that 50% of the dollar value of a minimum 15,000 season tickets be in place by December 31. With that deadline "hanging around their necks like an albatross," the Grizzlies announced three new ticket-buying plans -- aimed at "casual fans, youngsters who attend elementary or high school, and employees who may want to purchase season tickets through payroll deductions if their companies participate." Grizzlies VP/GM Stu Jackson admitted it's difficult for the Grizzlies to create a "sense of urgency for ticket buying." But he adds: "In-house, there's a real sense of urgency" (Dan Stinson, VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4). WORK STOPPAGE GOOD FOR VANCOUVER: "The only possible silver lining of a shutdown" for Vancouver is that the '94-95 season might be delayed -- and with it the "onerous stipulation that the Grizzlies must come up with 15,000 season ticket buyers" by December 15. But then any work stoppage "might bring out the fans' frankly-I-don't-give-a-damn resentment" (Mike Beamish, VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4).
There is speculation that the CFL's Las Vegas Posse, which drew only 7,438 for Doug Flutie's Calgary Stampeders, may play their last two games of the season in a test market. CFL Commissioner Larry Smith and others met via conference call over the weekend to discuss the Las Vegas problem. Posse coach Ron Meyer said that every indication is that they will finish the season in Vegas (Baltimore SUN, 10/4)....The Norwich, CT, Navigators received official word yesterday that they will be the Yankees' AA-affiliate for at least the next two seasons (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/4).... Unless Pawtucket officials can replace "undersized" McCoy Stadium, the Red Sox' AAA team may move, with Providence and Worcester as possible sites (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3).
Whit Hudson learned Monday that NBA owners will not vote until mid- to late-October on whether to approve his purchase of a 40% share of the Heat. Hudson, who plans to buy the shares of Heat part-owners Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham, hoped to have the sale approved tomorrow at the NBA owners meeting in New York. But the league said the purchase will be discussed but not voted upon. That means Hudson must wait even longer to hire a GM, leaving Schaffel and Cunningham in charge of team operations. Hudson said the delay "is nothing out of the ordinary." NBA attorney Joel Litvin said the vote is being delayed because paperwork surrounding the sale was not complete. Hudson meets with the NBA's finance committee today and Wednesday to address any financial questions (Alex Marvez, MIAMI HERALD, 10/4).
Orioles owner Peter Angelos responds to his "outsider" status among MLB owners in this morning's Baltimore SUN. Angelos: "When is the appropriate time to speak one's mind? ... You mean when I bought this ballclub for the purpose of having Maryland ownership that I signed onto some organization in which what I have to say is to be heard one year from now?" Angelos recalls one of his first owners meetings at which he took issue with negotiator Richard Ravitch's contention that "rational persuasion will have no place" in negotiations with the MLBPA: "He was passing himself off as a negotiator, but if he believes that he's (an) idiot." Angelos continues, "Am I sorry for taking on (Mr. Ravitch)? I'm sorry I didn't totally demolish him." On Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "He is a very successful autmobile dealer. What makes him think he has the abilities to do what he is attempting to do here is beyond my comprehension" (Mark Hyman, Baltimore SUN, 10/4). HE'LL GET HIS: Phillies President Bill Giles responds that Angelos comments during the strike have not been "helpful" and notes: "We've had these problems before with different people.... You don't put them on (influential) committees." Angelos agrees that the committees are "stacked," but he claims that he "will play a role" in the labor talks "eventually, and maybe sooner than one might think" (Mark Hyman, Baltimore SUN, 10/4). TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT? Ken Rosenthal responds to Angelos comments, writing that Selig might be making a "little list" of such statements which could "come in handy" when considering a team for Northern VA. Rosenthal writes that Angelos "probably couldn't block" such a move and even though the potential for a VA franchise is questionable, "the owners know how to keep score" (Baltimore SUN, 10/4).