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Some CFL owners want the Shreveport Pirates to move out of LA and into a larger market in the U.S. One CFL owner said, "Let's get realistic about Shreveport. Shreveport is a bush- league city that no one has ever heard of or cares to visit, and we've discovered that in (the Pirates') first season of operation that they do nothing to enhance the CFL's image." There has been pressure on the Glieberman family to move their team into a larger market, but they "have no intention" of moving out of Shreveport. In Baltimore, the most successful CFL franchise, club officials are angered by the lack of help from the league office. Baltimore VP Tom Matte: "The league, and I've got to word this carefully, doesn't help. They don't do anything. ... If they want to make franchises a success, you have to have guidelines for game-day operations and everything. They do have some guidelines, but they're so general it's crap. Total crap" (Marty York, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/8).
Joel Bernstein, a Manhattan attorney, has been retained by a group of season-ticket holders to launch a class-action suit against MLB. The action alleges "unjust enrichment" and fraud on the part of the owners and seeks $183M in damages. Bernstein has "process-servers spread out across the nation," serving notices to owners and MLB officials. Bernstein: "The owners are only offering refunds or credits on 20 unplayed games. But they have earned $15 million in interest on the advance payments for those games that were not played. This is what the law calls unjust enrichment. ... If they were selling season tickets while knowing the season probably wouldn't be played out, you could say that was fraud (N.Y. POST, 11/8). BASEBALL MEETING: "Where do we go from here? That was the "principal question" Monday when execs of the 28 clubs opened a 3-day meeting in Phoenix, according to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Jerome Holtzman. "No. 1 on the agenda" for the owners: "How do we sign the 595 players not under contract for 1995?" The main problem for the teams is to determine what revenue estimates can be used to pay players in '95 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/8). One team, the Royals, is likely to trim its payroll from $42M to "just more than" $30M. Right now they have five players which take up $20M, so the team may trade a high-price talent to get to the $30M level (Dick Kaegel, K.C. STAR, 11/8). Baseball's traditional Winter Meeting of all GMs will be held next week in Scottsdale. NEW TALKS: Labor talks are set to resume next week in Rye, NY. Mediator Bill Usery has proposed "going round the clock until at least Sunday" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/7).
The NHL and the NHLPA resumed negotiations in New York yesterday for approximately seven hours. During the talks, the two sides reportedly agreed to temporarily halt discussing levies on club payrolls, "their greatest source of disagreement." Joining NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman were two players, NHLPA President Mike Gartner and NHLPA VP Ken Baumgartner, and two execs, Flyers GM Bobby Clarke and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. The two sides agreed to meet again on Thursday, probably in Toronto (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 11/8). OWNERS SOFTENING? Under pressure from club owners, the NHL "appears to be softening its stance" toward the NHLPA. A source independent of both sides in the dispute contended that league officials are considering allowing the season to start while they continue bargaining with the union, a course they have twice before rejected (L.A. TIMES, 11/8). NHLPA HAS "DROP-DEAD" DATE: A source close to Goodenow told the N.Y. POST that the players will not agree to play anything less than a 50-game season to begin no later than the weekend of January 7-8. Working back three weeks -- to provide for a re- training camp -- that would place the NHLPA's "drop-dead" date for an agreement at approximately December 16 (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 11/8). IHL ON THE RISE: According to the latest figures released by the IHL, league attendance has increased by nearly 2,000 fans per game from this point last season. The league also reports that nearly one-third of all IHL games have been played in front of crowds in excess of 10,000 people. Chicago Wolves Exec VP Wayne Messmer conceded that the increase in interest can be attributed in part to the NHL lockout. But Messmer insisted that is only a small part of the reason for increased IHL interest: "We came up with our marketing plan well in advance of the NHL work stoppage" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/8).