SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • AHL READY TO POUNCE SHOULD THE NHL DISTANCE ITSELF FROM IHL

         "The NHL is moving toward having little or nothing to do
    with the IHL," writes Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO
    STAR.  The party line, according to NHL Senior VP Brian Burke:
    "At this point in time, we do not view the IHL as a competitor."
    But with IHL expanding into NHL markets and using veteran players
    to attract larger crowds, McKenzaie reports many NHL GMs are
    concerned about the league's value in developing young talent.
    Nine of the 26 NHL clubs presently supply the IHL with talent, a
    "good many" of which are considering a move to the AHL.  Fifteen
    of the 16 AHL clubs are currently affiliated with NHL teams, but
    AHL President Dave Andrews is pursuing expansion and "openly
    wooing" teams with IHL ties.  Andrews:  "Our major problem is we
    don't have a great inventory of cities that would be ready to
    play next season.  We're prepared to go outside our geography, to
    the midwest or the south, to accomodate the NHL teams who are
    interested in moving over."  McKenzie reports the NHL "will be
    working much more closely with the AHL on marketing and
    sponsorship projects.  NHL contact with the IHL will be kept to
    the bare minimum" (TORONTO STAR, 3/3).  For more, see Insider
    Interview, #21.
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL
  • BASEBALL EXPANSION COMMITTEE INVITES CITIES TO GIVE UPDATES

         In what may be an effort "to protect itself" against
    complaints that "groups did not get a chance to be heard," the
    five finalists for baseball expansion will give brief updates
    before the MLB expansion committee Tuesday before the committee
    makes its final recommendation.  The owners are expected to award
    two franchises at their meetings March 7-9 in Palm Beach, with
    Tampa Bay and Phoenix "widely considered the favorites" (Marc
    Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/3).  But USA TODAY's Hal Bodley
    reports, "It's no better than 50-50 that ownership will be asked
    to vote on the two cities at this meeting."  Bodley also notes
    the questions the committee is facing on where to place the new
    teams.  Because of the lack of a fifth team in both Western
    divisions, "Both leagues need Phoenix."  However, Bodley notes
    that two leagues of 15 teams would create a  need for inter-
    league play -- thus raising the DH question.  Bodley expects the
    franchises the be awarded before Phoenix's April 1 deadline for
    stadium financing and then "set the fee ($140 million) and keep
    the newcomers hanging for awhile as to which league they'll play
    in" (USA TODAY, 3/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 204: BACK TO SQUARE ZERO?

         "Anger at the baseball peace talks.  Owners say union boss
    Don Fehr demanded to go back and look anew at the owners revenue
    sharing decision of January 1994, instead of the current economic
    issues.  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said he thinks it's time he
    and other moderates turn it over to the hardline owners,"
    according to ESPN's Keith Olbermann in last night's
    "SportsCenter."  Said McMorris:  "I think I was used by Don Fehr
    and his staff'" (ESPN, 3/2).
         BUD'S OUT:  In addition, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
    emerged from a one-on-one meeting with MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr to
    announce that he was leaving Scottsdale.  One person familiar
    with the talks said that Selig told Fehr "he was frustrated and
    didn't like what was happening" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).
    Selig convinced McMorris to stay and head a reconfigured
    management team:  McMorris, Cubs President Andy MacPhail,
    Phillies President Dave Montgomery, Brewers VP Wendy Selig-Prieb
    (Selig's daughter) and lawyers Chuck O'Connor and Rob Manfred.
    Selig:  "I didn't give him any choice" (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY
    MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).
         BAD COP/BAD COP:  McMorris, asked if by hard-liners, he
    meant White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf:  "That would be the likely
    alternative. ... If we are going to war, going to spend
    considerable time in the courthouse and every day is going to be
    a confrontation, we have owners who have a longer history dealing
    in that than I do" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).  Several reports
    note that Nashville attorney Robert Ballow also would step
    forward if negotiating duties are handed over.  Ballow, who
    counsels the Tribune Co., has a "union-busting reputation" (Ross
    Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/3). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes,
    "The message was clear   -- and perhaps even orchestrated.  The
    union's window of opportunity is closing, and the time to cut a
    deal may never be better" (Baltimore SUN, 3/3).  In Washington,
    Mark Maske writes with Reinsdorf and Ballow, "the chances of the
    strike extending into the summer would increase dramatically"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 3/3).  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark writes
    Selig's exit "was a sign that the hard-liners on the owners' side
    were showing their muscle again" (PHILA.  INQUIRER, 3/3).  Hal
    Bodley writes, "Selig's action was seen as a ploy to jar the
    union" (USA TODAY, 3/3).
         WHAT DID THEY SAY?  McMorris cited "the union's refusal to
    delineate where it stood on a tax level and continued opposition
    to the owners' revenue-sharing plan" as reasons for his
    displeasure (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).  But Murray Chass cites a
    union source who claims they were "prepared to accept" the
    owners' revenue-sharing plan and that there had been
    "misunderstandings" due to reports given by Mediator William
    Usery (N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).  Fehr "hinted" a proposal would be
    forthcoming today based on Wednesday's late-night meeting of
    McMorris and Manfred and union officials Lauren Rich and Michael
    Weiner (Mark Maske, WAHSINGTON POST, 3/3).  USA TODAY reports
    that at that Wednesday meeting, MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich
    suggested a luxury tax of 25% over $59M, or 145% of the average
    payroll.  McMorris claimed no teams' payroll approached $59M (Hal
    Bodley, USA TODAY, 3/3).      LAST NIGHT'S TV:  On ABC's "World
    News Tonight," Mark Potter reported on replacement games from the
    Dodgers/ Yankees in Ft. Lauderdale:  "So far, fans aren't
    flocking to see them" (ABC, 3/2).  CBS "Eye on America" covered
    the start of spring training.  CBS's Dan Rather's lead-in:  "The
    regular players have been eplaced by a collection of has-beens,
    never-weres, and wanna-be's.  What the union calls scabs" (CBS,
    3/2).  Reds GM Jim Bowden said some of his minor-leaguers
    reported "physical threats" if they played this spring.  Asked if
    they came from major leaguers, Bowden said, "It is all hearsay
    until more facts are brought forward, but yes that is what we
    were told" (CNN, 3/2).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, CBS, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Philadelphia Phillies, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: NEWS FROM SIX MARKETS

         CHICAGO: After refusing to play in exhibition games, Michael
    Jordan left White Sox camp in a "surprising move."  Jordan walked
    out only hours after he and other Sox minor leaguers were told
    they would be separated from those who will play.  As he left,
    Jordan told a reporter he was "going home" to Chicago and "wasn't
    sure when he'd be back" (Paul Sullivan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/3).
    Columnist Bernie Lincicome on Jordan's departure: "He is in the
    position of being used, not for his ability, but for his
    celebrity, not something he has always avoided doing himself.
    Maybe simply the last thing he wanted to be was ironic" (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 3/3).
         MINNESOTA:  Beginning Sunday, WCCO Radio plans to broadcast
    10 spring games.  Midwest Sports Channel and WCCO-TV don't plan
    to broadcast any games, "although MSC might pick up games"
    between the Twins and Red Sox that are broadcast by NESN
    (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/2).
         NEW YORK:  During individual meetings with their minor-
    leaguers yesterday, the Mets learned that more than two-thirds
    will "honor the union's stance and not play" (N.Y. POST,
    3/3)....WABC will reportedly not air tomorrow's Mets-Yankees game
    and "may cancel the two following broadcasts" (Bob Raissman, N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 3/3).
         OAKLAND/S.F.:  Chevron, "one of the biggest sponsors" of A's
    and Giants broadcasts, will continue to advertise during
    replacement ball because of "guaranteed rating deliveries."  The
    guarantees ensure the company the rates paid for games during the
    strike will be directly tied to the size of the audience (SAN
    JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/3).
         SEATTLE:  The Mariners, who begin play in the Cactus League
    today, have hired 34 substitutes and are "expecting to sprinkle
    in" the 20 or so minor leaguers who yesterday told the club that
    "they will cross the line despite union pressure to resist"
    (SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER, 3/3).
         TEXAS:  Rangers President Tom Schieffer, on replacement
    baseball:  "A lot of people would like for it to be a disaster,
    but I don't think it will.  I think people will find that
    baseball is baseball and that if teams are competitive and the
    players play hard, the games will be fun to watch" (T.R.
    Sullivan, FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, 3/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, YankeeNets
  • CHIEFS WANT TO EXPAND PLAYOFFS, ELIMINATE BYE WEEKS

         A proposal submitted to the NFL by the Chiefs that would
    expand the NFL playoff pool from 12 to 16 teams will be discussed
    at the NFL owners meeting next week, according to this morning's
    ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  Under the plan, none of the teams would
    receive bye weeks as the two top division winners in each
    conference do now.  Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt concedes it has "only
    a remote chance of passing" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 3/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Kansas City Chiefs, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
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