SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL OWNERS INITIATE THEIR NEW PARTNERS WITH FEE HIKE

     Although the official announcement that MLB will expand to
Tampa Bay and Phoenix is expected after an ownership vote today,
sources told the TAMPA TRIBUNE that a ploy by baseball owners to
raise the expansion fee yesterday caused great concern among the
new cities' ownership groups.  Joe Henderson and Bill Chastain
report that the owners tried to raise the fee to $175M, an
increase from the $140M price that Arizona's Jerry Colangelo and
Tampa Bay's Vince Naimoli had been "was firm."  Both Colangelo
and Naimoli apparently were told of the price increase before
yesterday's meetings, and "refused to budge."  At one point,
"Colangelo threatened to walk away from his bid and go public
with the owners' tactics.  And Naimoli was prepared to renew his
dormant lawsuit against owners," resulting from MLB's '92
blockage of his purchase of the Giants.  Eventually, "after hours
of haggling, marked by sharp exchanges" behind closed doors, both
Colangelo and Naimoli agreed to a compromise:  both will pay
"slightly more than" $150M (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/9).
     BRIDESMAIDS:  While negotiations between owners and
Colangelo and Naimoli went on, representatives from the Northern
VA and Orlando groups waited in the lobby.  Orlando group leader
Norton Herrick "insinuated" that baseball officials had him stay
close to put pressure on Naimoli and Colangelo:  "They could say,
'If you don't want to pay the price, we'll go to Herrick.'  Vince
[Naimoli] would have been better off paying me and D.C. $10-
million to get us out of the lobby, he might have saved money
that way" (Romano & Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/9).
     WELCOME TO BASEBALL, JERRY:  In this morning's ARIZONA
REPUBLIC, Eric Miller notes Colangelo's mood:  "It was obvious
that Colangelo wasn't quite used to the raucous political ways of
the 28 team owners who conduct their often-secret business
operations differently than the National Basketball Association.
... It almost seemed as if Colangelo was having second thoughts
about joining the ranks of the baseball-owners club."  Colangelo:
"Six or nine months ago, I said the only thing that could prevent
this from happening was greed" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/9).
     LEAGUE MATTERS:  A three-quarters vote from each league is
necessary for expansion.  Which league (or leagues) the teams
will be placed in is still uncertain.  Both leagues and the
expansion committee debated that Wednesday.  Colangelo said the
teams may be assigned to one league now, but play in another
(Henderson & Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/9).  ESPN's Peter Gammons
reported several owners want Phoenix to join Tampa Bay in AL, to
avoid interleague play ("SportsCenter," 3/8).  There was also
talk that the teams may not receive a cut of national TV revenue
for as many as five seasons.  Florida and Colorado missed TV
revenues for only one season (Romano & Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES,
3/9).
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