SBD/10/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 211: USERY UNLOADS ON OWNERS

         Special Mediator William Usery addressed the owners at their
    meeting in Palm Beach, FL, for 30 minutes yesterday, and, as
    expected, he urged them to make their "best offer" when
    negotiations resume.  What was not expected was Usery's
    "emotional and somewhat irritated" appearance at a press
    conference later.  Usery:  "After 30-something years in this
    process and over 1,000 national major disputes in America, this
    one has gotten almost for us where it's embarrassing and
    ridiculous" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/10).  Acting MLB
    Commissioner Bud Selig and Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, who is
    heading the owners' negotiating team, said they would comply with
    Usery's request.  But Murray Chass notes, "It's what would happen
    after they make their 'best offer' that could have an impact on
    the progression of the talks."  According to a source at the
    meeting, Chuck O'Connor, management's chief attorney, suggested
    the negotiating committee "make its 'best offer' to satisfy
    Usery, but then not budge from that offer."  That position "would
    confirm the fears" of the union (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).  ESPN's Peter
    Gammons:  "A lot of owners think they see a victorious end-game
    now. ... After they make the 'best' offer next week and get it
    rejected, you may see the owners declare another impasse,
    implement this proposal and have something in place if the
    players cross" ("SportsCenter," 3/9).
         WHERE NOW?  In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby reports the talks
    will resume Tuesday -- most likely in Dallas or Atlanta (ROCKY
    MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Walt Disney
  • HIP-HIP HOO-RAY, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER; MLB OK'S EXPANSION

         MLB owners unanimously welcomed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and
    Arizona Diamondbacks to baseball.  The Teams will start play in
    the '98 season.
         THE TAB:  Each team will pay a $130M entry fee -- which
    essentially be rise to $155M when other factors kick in.  For
    each of their first five years, the new teams will receive $5M
    less than existing franchises from MLB's Central Fund.  The loss
    in revenue from the fund, which includes national TV/radio
    rights, will total $25M.  Teams begin making payments on July 1,
    1995 with a $32M contribution.  They will then pay $25M on July
    1, 1996, $40M on July 1, 1997 and $33M on November 1, 1997 --
    before the expansion draft.  Each expansion team will be allowed
    to choose 40 players from existing clubs (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY,
    3/10).
         THE LEAGUE:  Owners did not decide where to place the new
    clubs.  That will be determined by January 1, 1997.  Many expect
    Tampa Bay to go to the AL because of the NL's presence in South
    FL and Atlanta (Jason Davis, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/10).  Placing a
    team in each league would create a need for interleague play,
    "which many owners want to avoid."  Phillies Owner Bill Giles:
    "That's why we tabled it" (Henderson & Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    3/10).
         THE FIELDS OF DREAMS:  Tampa Bay will play at the five-year-
    old Thunderdome in St. Petersburg, current home of the NHL
    Lightning.  Discussions in '92, when the Giants were planning a
    move to the area, showed plans to redesign some features of the
    dome into "the mold set by Camden Yards."  There have also been
    discussions about installing a grass field in the indoor facility
    (Noam Neuser, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/10).  Most of the $35M-$43M
    necessary for improvements will come from state taxes (TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 3/10).  Maricopa County, AZ, will fund $238M of a new
    $278M needed to build a retractable dome stadium in downtown
    Phoenix for the Diamondbacks.  The facility will seat 47,000 and
    be located just two blocks east of America West Arena.
    Colangelo's ownership group will pay $24M for the arena, while a
    loan for $15M will be paid through advanced suite sales.  Sixty-
    two of the 70 available luxury suites have already been reserved.
    According to the ARIZONA REPUBLIC, Bank One has reportedly agreed
    to pay $110M for 30-year naming rights for the facility (Bill
    Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/10).
         DEVIL OF A NAME:  Amid controversy about the name chosen for
    the Tampa team, the Devil Rays, Vince Naimoli, head of the Tampa
    Bay ownership group, announced the team will let fans decide
    between Devil Rays and Manta Rays.  Through March 17, fans will
    be able to call a local phone number to register their choice
    (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/10).  Columnist David Whitley: "With the
    nation looking on, Naimoli spent his 15 minutes of fame
    explaining how naming the team Devil Rays will not cause citizens
    of Tampa Bay to scratch 666 into their scalps, drink chicken
    blood and start playing Nirvana CD's backwards" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    3/10)
         FRONT OFFICE:  Rich Dozer is expected to be named
    Diamondbacks' President (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/9).  Colangelo has
    hired Joe Garagiola Jr. as Diamondbacks' GM.  Tampa Bay has yet
    to name any baseball personnel, but Naimoli says within 60-90
    days he plans on naming a GM to make most on-field personnel
    decisions (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays
  • ORLANDO AND NO. VIRGINIA LEFT AT THE ALTAR

         Groups from Orlando and Northern VA were both told that
    additional expansion could come soon.  Acting MLB Commissioner
    Bud Selig:  "I expect the clubs will continue to consider
    expanding and it will take place sooner rather than later" (MLB).
    In Orlando, Norton Herrick still has the exclusive rights to seek
    a team for the city.  A penny tourist tax to build a $150M park
    is also still in place.  Herrick:  "It's just a temporary
    setback.  We'll be there for the next expansion, we'll continue
    to push" (Lawrence Lebowitz, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/10).  In and
    around DC, the two groups attempting to bring baseball to
    Northern VA said yesterday they would "turn their attention to
    purchasing an existing franchise and moving it to Virginia"
    (Lipton & Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/10).  Columnist Tom Boswell
    writers that this will be the last expansion for a "long time,"
    especially if owners get the labor deal they want.  Boswell
    believes the DC area's best bet is an existing team and urges
    Virginia Baseball Chair Bill Collins's to look "to buy the first
    team that's driven into bankruptcy by the strike" (WASHINGTON
    POST, 3/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
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