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EXCITEMENT RAINING DOWN ON TACOMA: Since Mariners moved their AAA affiliation from Calgary to Tacoma, there is now renewed interest in a region "eager to play ball." 6,500 of 10,000 tickets have already been sold for tonight's Rainiers' opener, "making a sellout likely." Along with the renewed fan interest, the team has sold 24 corporate sponsorships to local and national companies for $37,500 each. Among the sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Domino's Pizza, Pepsi, and Boeing Co. Rainiers Dir of Community Relations Kevin Kalal: "I thought we would have trouble selling 20 corporate sponsors when we started, but now we're looking for two more on top of the 24." According to Kalal, the team has also sold more caps in December '94 than all last year (Angelo Bruscas, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 4/6). The Tacoma AAA team was known as the Tigers in '94. BISONS HOPE TO HERD SOME YOUNG'UNS: The AAA Buffalo Bisons will be focusing on making games more enjoyable for kids this season. Through the corporate sponsorship of Jubilee Foods, Independent Health, Polaroid and Putt-Putt, the team is able to offer "Kids Korner" -- an area designated for kids -- which includes a special concession stand serving such items as grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a photo booth where they can get their picture taken with a favorite team mascot or character and a new play area. Bisons Public Relations Dir John Isherwood: "Bison baseball is all about the family and kids" (Bisons). TAKING ONE LAST BITE OUT OF BIG MAC: The AAA Syracuse Chiefs, playing their last season at 62-year-old MacArthur Stadium, have a new logo and slogan this season called "Last Crack At Big Mac." The slogan is being used to commemorate the final season at MacArthur and is being used on all Chiefs printed materials and merchandise (Chiefs). SPORTSCENTER COMING UP NEXT: This Sunday will mark the first nationally televised game in franchise history for the AAA Phoenix Firebirds when they take on the Las Vegas Stars on ESPN. With the national exposure, the team is sponsoring a contest to award two season tickets to the fan displaying the most creative Firebirds/ESPN banner (Firebirds). TRACKING MICK E. MOOSE: The IHL Minnesota Moose have announced the kick-off of the "Big Game Hunt," a "fan friendly" program created to alleviate confusion as to where the Moose are playing their playoff games. Due to schedule conflicts, the Moose will be playing their first round playoff games in the Target Center instead of the normal St. Paul Civic Center. Details of the "Big Game Hunt" are being broadcast on local radio and newspapers (Moose).
According to reports in the ARIZONA DAILY STAR and TUCSON CITIZEN, the White Sox are considering moving their spring training facility to Tucson. The team currently trains in Sarasota, FL (WASHINGTON POST, 4/6)....Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas said yesterday he will meet next week with Pirates owners to discuss his bid for the team. Rigas, who has a $85.15M bid for the club, says he is committed to the deal but wants to "take a closer look" because of the strike and "uneasy settlement between players and owners" (Baltimore SUN, 4/6)....WI voters Tuesday rejected a plan to create a sports lottery to help fund a new ballpark for the Brewers by a 2-1 margin. Owner Bud Selig says area business leaders and lawmakers now "must step up to the plate" if the team is to survive. Expanded Indian gaming and sales taxes have been mentioned as other ways to finance a $223M ballpark (Baltimore SUN, 4/6).
Orioles Owner Peter Angelos donated thousands of dollars to four Maryland lawmakers instrumental in passing bills that would have barred replacements from playing in state-owned Oriole Park at Camden Yards, according to the CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE. State Senators John Pica, Norman Stone and Thomas Bromwell and Delegate Gerald Curran all rejected notions that Angelos' donations, made after the '94 elections, create a conflict of interest. The bill would have protected Angelos in any legal battle with other owners for refusing to field replacement players. The donations from the team, Angelos' law firm and Angelos himself, range from $2,000-4,500. All four legislators sponsored the bill in some way; Pica and Stone are associates in Angelos' law firm. Deborah Povich, of Common Cause Maryland, called the donations "clear attempts to curry favor from legislators" (Peter Brush, CAPITAL NEWS/WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/6).