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The Devil Rays placed ads in local papers this morning informing fans that the team's name would, in fact, be the Devil Rays. Team Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli originally named the team Devil Rays, but allowed fans to choose between that and Manta Rays after initial reaction to the name was negative (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/3).
Whether a city is capable of supporting an MLB team is examined by Ty Ahmad-Taylor in the Sunday N.Y. TIMES. Money and fans are "just two factors in deciding where teams play," as the piece notes that some cities have been awarded teams after threatening legal action against the league's antitrust exemption. Economists say an MLB team can make it in a metropolitan area with: 1) a population over one million; 2) a high percentage of men between 18 and 54; 3) per capita income above the national average; 4) high population growth; and, 5) a high proportion of businesses with more than 500 employees -- likely to buy luxury suites. 55 metropolitan areas with at least one million in population were measured against the four necessities of supporting a team: 27 areas were classified as definitely able to support an MLB team; nine were listed as "possibly" able; 19 not able (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2). Cities in caps do not have an MLB team or expansion franchise. DEFINITELY CAN SUPPORT A TEAM: L.A./Long Beach; New York; Chicago; Philadelphia; WASHINGTON; Detroit; Houston; Atlanta; Boston; DALLAS (separate from Fort Worth); Twin Cities; Orange County; Baltimore; Phoenix/Mesa; Seattle/ Bellevue; Oakland; PORTLAND, OR; Kansas City; San Francisco; SAN JOSE; Ft. Worth/Arlington; INDIANAPOLIS; COLUMBUS; CHARLOTTE; HARTFORD; MIDDLESEX, NJ; LAS VEGAS. COULD POSSIBLY SUPPORT A TEAM: San Diego; NEWARK; Denver; Cincinnati; SACRAMENTO; ORLANDO; BERGEN CO., NJ; GREENSBORO/WINSTON-SALEM; ROCHESTER. CAN NOT SUPPORT A TEAM: RIVERSIDE/SAN BERNANDINO; NASSAU/SUFFOLK; St. Louis; Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Tampa Bay; Miami; NORFOLK/NEWPORT NEWS; Milwaukee; SAN ANTONIO; FT. LAUDERDALE; NEW ORLEANS; BUFFALO; SALT LAKE CITY; PROVIDENCE; MEMPHIS; NASHVILLE; MONMOUTH, NJ; OKLAHOMA CITY (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2).
Negotiations between the Rams and NFL officials hinge on the amount of PSL money the team will offer the league, according to the BOSTON GLOBE's Will McDonough. "Sources close to the negotiations" say the team has increased its original $25.5M offer to $40M, but the league wants $70M, "and has taken the stance that $40 million is not enough" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/2). Rams President John Shaw says the two sides "remain far apart financially," and that the team will file a lawsuit by April 17 if nothing is worked out at the April 12 owners meeting. Shaw held out the possibility that the Rams "could decide to pack their bags, head to St. Louis for the '95 season and tell the league: Try to stop us." Shaw: "I'm not saying that's a probability, but there's a chance of that" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/1). THE COMMISH: In Atlanta, Len Pasquarelli writes, while settling without a court battle may look like a victory for NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, "no one should be deceived ... For one thing, the league is caving in to Georgia Frontiere, one of its least-formidable owners and a person her colleagues felt they could crack -- and possibly force to sell the team." Second, "a compromise renders the NFL's relocation guidelines ... all but meaningless. Finally, the league is once again showing its true colors. To no one's surprise, the favorite tint is green. All along, while Tagliabue hid behind flimsy excuses" -- protecting CA's fans and Fox's interests -- "the Rams situation has boiled down to money" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/2). THE MOUSE WAITS TO POUNCE: Tony Tavares, President of Disney Sports Enterprises, says Disney may be interested in an NFL team if the league approves a Rams move. Tavares: "We're waiting to see how it all shakes out. We don't want to interfere in the Rams' business" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/3).