SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL'S BACK II: NO TAKERS FOR GENE ORZA FAN CLUB

         MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza continues to receive
    criticism for holding out the possibility that the players would
    boycott the All-Star Game if the owners again renege on the
    pension fund payment.  For his part, Orza claims he responded to
    a hypothetical posed to him by a USA TODAY reporter.  But others
    in baseball amnd the media made a point of the poor timing.
    Rangers President Tom Schieffer, whose team hosts this year's
    game: "It would be nice if Mr. Orza will let us play baseball for
    a while.  We have plenty of time to get into an argument.  We're
    going to play the All-Star Game.  I think he knows that" (DALLAS
    MORNING NEWS, 4/28).  In New York, Bill Madden writes that Orza
    "knows the owners have no intentions of creating another public
    relations boondoggle for themselves by holding back the pension
    payment.  He also knows the owners are privately in agreement
    that failing to make the payment last year was just plain stupid"
    (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/30).  In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "It would
    seem to be an issue that could have waited beyond opening day"
    (L.A. TIMES, 4/30).  N.Y. TIMES' William Rhoden called Orza's
    comments "absolutely insane."  NEWSDAY columnist Mike Lupica, who
    said he counts Orza as a friend, added that if any union
    officials "talk about boycotts of the All Star game or strikes,
    they ought to be fired" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 4/30).
    

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  • BASEBALL'S BACK: WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ON THE FANS' REACTION

         "OUTSIDE THE LINES":  ESPN presented a special "Outside the
    Lines" on baseball's return.  In the first segment, Bob Ley
    reported from Fenway Park, where the Red Sox have put a lower-
    budget team on the field and are beginning to plot out strategies
    for a new stadium.  Mark Malone reported from small-market
    Pittsburgh, where the Pirates and Expos played, two teams with
    similar finances.  Pirates President Mark Sauer:  "Under the
    current economic system in Major League Baseball, this franchise
    cannot compete."  Other reports:  The saga of Andy Van Slyke;
    MLB's "Welcome to the Show" ad campaign and efforts to improve
    fan relations; the umps' lockout; Denver's new park; and how
    replacement players can expect to be treated as time goes on
    (ESPN, 4/28).
         ATTENDANCE BY THE NUMBERS:  ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported
    that attendance for second-day ballgames was down 34.7%, the
    average drop was 10,598.  Olbermann also noted that AA Jackson
    and AAA Iowa outdrew the Pirates Thursday ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
    4/28).  CNN's Mark Morgan reported AL attendance for home openers
    was down 20.2%, and the NL down 17.3% (not including Colorado)
    ("Sports Tonight," 4/29).
    
    
    AVERAGE FIRST WEEKEND ATTENDANCE:
    YEAR
    AVERAGE
    1990
    18,719 (lockout year)
    1991
    28,514
    1992
    30,334
    1993
    32,323
    1994
    28,035
    1995
    25,464 ("Baseball Tonight," 4/30).
    ACTING MLB COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: "Attendance was down. But it was down in various places for certain reasons. There was less time to plan. I am not suggesting there isn't a problem we shouldn't worry about. We have to work hard as an industry, and on a local basis. It's going to be a while before we know. I wouldn't let one or two days establish a trend" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 4/30). BASEBALL WEEKLY EDITOR PAUL WHITE: "When it comes to putting their dollars down and spending, that's where [the fans] see their chance" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 4/29). GIANTS OWNER PETER MAGOWAN, at the team's home opener (22,914 in attendance): "Everybody has been very, very friendly. But, remember, these are our best fans out here now" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 4/29). MLB PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER JIM SMALL: "To quote Mark Twain, reports of baseball's demise are just wrong" (Baltimore SUN, 4/30). CHICAGO TRIBUNE'S BOB VERDI, reporting that all is well at Wrigley Field: "The national pastime can struggle through out our land, but official pardons are always negotiable at Clark and Addison" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/29). NEW YORK TIMES' HARVEY ARATON: "There can be no true measure of how much damage the strike has done until sometime this summer. ... [But] let them see this as a wake-up call" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). RANGERS PRESIDENT TOM SCHIEFFER: "This was an earthquake on the 6-7 range. This was not a little tremor" (FORT WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM, 4/29). ESPN'S PETER GAMMONS: "I think it's great that fans have said to both the owners and the players, 'A pox on you, you have to come back to us.' ... It's about time that baseball start running itself as a small business and reached out just like a mom and pop company and started bringing its fans back" ("Sunday SportsDay," 4/30). BRAVES DIR OF TICKET SALES PAUL ADAMS: "By June 1st, we'll be back to drawing 45,000-plus on a regular basis" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29). CUBS PRESIDENT ANDY MACPHAIL: "It's a combination of apathy and aggravation. And in some ways apathy is worse than aggravation" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/30). NBC NEWS' "MOMENT OF THE WEEK": When fans at Shea threw dollar bills on the field Friday night (NBC, 4/29).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBC, Pittsburgh Pirates, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • MASSACHUSETTS PGA STOP GETS PUBLIC BOOST

         MA Lawmakers approved a $150,000 grant to subsidize the
    "financially troubled" PGA Tournament at Pleasant Valley Country
    Club in Sutton.  This year marks the first time that MA taxpayers
    will "directly subsidize" the PGA event, called the New England
    Classic (BOSTON HERALD, 4/28)....In Tampa Bay, the St.
    Pete/Clearwater Sports Foundation is looking for a major sponsor
    in order to announce their plans for a new LPGA Tour stop at
    Largo's Bayou Golf Club.  Originally, the Foundation hoped to
    announce its sponsor today, but they now need more time (TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 4/28).
    

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  • RULING SAYS REPLACEMENT UMPS CANNOT WORK IN TORONTO

         The Ontario Labor Relations Board ruled Friday that MLB
    umpires cannot be locked out of games played at SkyDome and that
    replacement umps will not be allowed to work Blue Jays' games
    after the team's first home stand which ends Wednesday.   Regular
    umpires must work the next homestand, which begins May 9, or they
    would be in an "illegal strike" (Donovan Vincent, TORONTO STAR,
    4/29).  Jays President Paul Beeston, on the possibility of
    regular umpires returning for games at SkyDome only: "That is
    probably the scenario that you will see.  Because as much as it
    is an illegal lockout, it is also an illegal strike" ("Sports
    Tonight," CNN, 4/28).  ESPN's Peter Gammons said the situation
    "might" be settled because of the ruling and his guess is that
    they will settle ("Baseball Tonight," 4/20).  The two sides are
    reportedly about $10M apart in what would be a four-year
    contract.  "That's less than $400,000 a club, a bargain price for
    the best umpiring" (Dave Anderson, N.Y TIMES, 4/30).  In New
    York, Phil Mushnick writes, according to a source "intimate with
    MLB's replacement umpires," several replacements "have been
    subjected to 'psychological terrorism,' including late night
    obscene phone calls to their wives and children during their
    absence from home" (N.Y. POST, 5/1).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Time Warner, Toronto Blue Jays, Walt Disney
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