SBD/8/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         "While expansion will be a big issue this week, it will
    still rank behind strike talk on the ownership hit parade,"
    writes Jayson Stark from the owners' meeting at The Breakers in
    Palm Beach, FL.  The negotiating committee will report to the
    full ownership on the talks, with a possible lockout strategy on
    the agenda with the NLRB due to make its ruling "any day now"
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/8).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said
    he believes talks will resume at the beginning of next week, and
    there were "some indications that a bargaining session could take
    place on Monday in Chicago."  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said he had
    heard nothing from owners (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).
    McMorris:  "I want to be part of getting this over with and I
    want a deal that's meaningful" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 3/7).
         REPLACEMENT NEGOTIATORS?  ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that
    big market teams, such as the Mets, Blue Jays and Yankees, are
    going to "get together to try to map their strategy to get this
    thing finished" ("SportsCenter," 3/7).  Unless the union can
    change his mind, Special Mediator William Usery is expected to
    ask the owners to put their "best offer" on the table.  That
    raises the issue of "how hard-line that final proposal should
    be."  Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner and Mets Owner Fred
    Wilpon, both recent additions to the Executive Council, are
    willing to "preach" a pro-settlement stance (Tom Keegan, N.Y.
    POST, 3/8).  Don Mattingly expressed disbelief that Steinbrenner
    and other big-market owners would let Bud Selig "run the show"
    (Jeff Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8).  The Phils' Dave Hollins
    called on his boss, Bill Giles, to get involved:  "He's a guy who
    could get the hard-liners thinking about the fans" (Paul Hagen,
         NOWHERE TO GO BUT DOWN?  SI's Tim Kurkjian quotes Fehr from
    last Saturday:  "Remember what Resindorf said -- May of '96, May
    of '96."  Kurkjian reports that Fehr's "animosity" toward the
    owners, and White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf's "similar feelings"
    toward Fehr "are key points in the stalled talks."  One owner
    says Reinsdorf "doesn't want to break the union, he wants the
    demise of Fehr" ("Scorecard," SI, 3/13 issue).  In L.A., Ross
    Newhan cites one member of the owners' negotiating team who said
    that Fehr "actually interrupted one promising session to conduct
    a news briefing because he said he had a commitment to an Eastern
    writer on deadline."  On the other side, Newhan doubts the
    union's claim Reinsdorf is pulling the strings.  Noting that
    McMorris wouldn't go to dinner with fellow owners if Reinsdorf
    was present, Newhan writes "it is difficult to believe" he would
    act as Reinsdorf's "front man" (L.A. TIMES, 3/8).  In Washington,
    Tom Boswell reports, "Many players are mad enough to pull
    everything off the table; let the owners have the pleasure of
    watching their replacement teams for a couple of months"
         WOLF IN BIRD'S CLOTHING:  Orioles Owner Peter Angelos
    arrives in Palm Beach today.  Sources said the Executive Council
    meeting last night "became, in part, an Angelos-bashing session."
    AL President Gene Budig meets with acting MLB Commissioner Bud
    Selig today on the Orioles, "and it appears the league may be
    shying away from a legal battle with Angelos and simply may
    permit the Orioles to forfeit replacement games" (Mark Maske,

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Sports Illustrated, Toronto Blue Jays, Walt Disney

         The NHL is proposing that five IHL franchises move to the
    AHL and that the NHL tranfser all IHL working agreements to the
    AHL, according to an AP report picked up in this morning's
    CINCINNATI ENQUIRER.  The plan would transfer IHL teams in
    Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo, Peoria and Ft. Wayne to the
    AHL.  Cincinnati Cyclones' GM Doug Kirchofer downplayed concerns
    that the IHL's value as a developmental league is diminishing,
    but added:  "They have in their power the means to make us what
    we don't want to be."  Panthers Asst GM Chuck Fletcher said he
    was unaware of any move away from the IHL (Randy Oppenheimer,

    Print | Tags: AHL, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL

         MLB's Expansion Committee recommended that Tampa Bay and
    Phoenix be awarded expansion franchises for the '98 season.  Full
    ownership is scheduled to vote on the recommendation on Thursday,
    but labor matters could delay that agenda (Mult., 3/8).  Reaction
    from the four markets:
         TAMPA BAY:  The area's "18-year-long quest to join the major
    leagues appears all but completed," according to Henderson &
    Chastain in this morning's TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Managing General
    Partner Vince Naimoli:  "I'm absolutely elated.  We are ready to
    go forward now."  Naimoli has been told to sign a merchandising
    agreement before the meetings' end -- "another strong sign that a
    franchise is about to be granted."  Also, area stores and the
    Thunderdome have plans to start selling team memorabilia on
    Thursday (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/8).  The team will be called the Devil
    Rays with the logo featuring a realistic drawing of a manta ray.
    The color scheme will include aqua, purple, black, green, yellow
    and white.  Caps will feature a picture of a devil ray.  Namoli
    says pre-orders for the merchandise "are several times more" than
    for any other MLB team (Topkin & Romano, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES,
    3/8).  However, in an informal poll in today's TRIBUNE, fans
    "overwhelmingly rejected" the choice of Devil Rays.  Out of 82
    fans polled, 68 gave the name a grade of D or F.  Naimoli would
    not confirm the name, but said the team's logo and colors have
    been carefully chosen:  "We've done consumer research that
    indicates these colors and logo will be the hottest-selling
    merchandise in the sports industry" (Bob Chick, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    3/8).  Naimoli wanted to use "Stingrays," but a Hawaiian Winter
    League team already owns that name (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
         PHOENIX:  Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo reaffirmed his belief
    in the Phoenix market, saying that was the reason his group was
    willing to pay up to $140M to gain entry into the league: "If
    someone handed me one-third of the teams in baseball, I wouldn't
    touch them with a 10-foot pole" (Ronald Blum, AP/ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 3/8).  Colangelo announced three new investment
    partners in his ownership group, including comedian Billy
    Crystal.  Also on board:  Bank of America and the owners of
    Phoenix radio station KTAR.  Phoenix attorney Joe Garagiola Jr.,
    whom Colangelo has hired as the expected team's GM, said the
    investors have requests in writing for about 30,000 season
    tickets and that they have commitments from area corporations or
    individuals to lease all 77 luxury suites in the retractable-dome
    stadium that would be built for the team (Eric Miller, ARIZONA
    REPUBLIC, 3/7).  Multiple reports say the team will be called the
    Arizona Diamondbacks (Mult, 3/8).  ESPN's Peter Gammons reported
    that Phoenix "has a huge celebration planned for the weekend"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/7).
         NORTHERN VIRGINIA:  Sources say that Northern VA is "running
    a strong third" in the expansion derby," according to the
    WASHINGTON POST.  One owner who participated in the expansion
    committee meeting:  "They're going to be in the second round of
    expansion.  We'll probably announce that within the next 12
    months" (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).  William Collins,
    head of the Virginia Baseball Group told the committee that his
    group was ready to "pay now and play later," according to sources
    cited by the WASHINGTON TIMES.  Collins says his group is "not
    flinching" at the reported $140M entry fee: "Whatever baseball
    says, we stand ready, willing and certainly able to put that
    money in place immediately" (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES,
         ORLANDO:  Norton Herrick, lead investor of the Orlando
    effort, says he is still "very optimistic" about Orlando's
    chances, and "suggested he might have the support" of Marlins'
    Owner Wayne Huizenga.  Herrick says he met with Huizenga before
    proceeding with Orlando's bid, and received his "blessing to
    proceed."  Huizenga said later he would wait until the
    committee's recommendations before deciding how to vote.  Paul
    Jacobs, a lawyer for the Orlando group, said both Tampa and
    Orlando could support MLB teams:  "I don't think either would be
    mutually exclusive by any means" (Henderson & Chastain, TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 3/8).
         NATIONAL REAX:  Reactions to MLB expanding in the midst of
    the strike were as expected.  Tom Boswell writes, "That's like
    Germany announcing a new Volkswagen for the U.S. market in
    December, 1944" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).  Jayson Stark writes,
    "Most businesses in the free world might have a hard time
    explaining why they're expanding during what is supposed to be
    their darkest hour" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/8).  In DC, Dick
    Heller writes, "By proceeding with their expansion pipe dreams,
    the owners are telling the world, 'Look how tough we are.  A
    little thing like this strike won't interfere with our plans'"

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Bank of America, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Phoenix Suns, Tampa Bay Rays, Walt Disney
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