SBD/23/Leagues Governing Bodies

UBL LOOKING TO START IN '96, BUT STILL LACKS ESSENTIALS

     In Washington, Leonard Shapiro examines the state of the
United Baseball League and writes that with less than a year to
go before they begin play, UBL organizers "have yet to announce
the identity of a single franchise owner, club executive or
player, let alone what stadiums they've secured and whcih
television entities -- if any -- will broadcast their games."
UBL co-founder Robert Mrazek, who promises details "in due time":
"I don't want to sound as if we're bewildered or befuddled
because we're not.  We're making progress.  It's do or die for us
in '96.  We think the opportunity is there.  We have an abundance
of solid, serious investors.  We'll be able to hire major league
players.  The most difficult problem is with stadiums."  Shapiro
notes, "With the new TV networks being formed by Paramount and
Time Warner, with CBS out of the NFL, NBA, and major league
baseball picture and with a 500-channel cable universe a virtual
certainty, UBL officials are confident they can provide
attractive programming."  Agent Leigh Steinberg believes that
cable outlets and some networks will be interested, but adds,
"The key is do they have adequate money to cover their losses and
have enough deep-pocketed owners who won't panic?" (WASHINGTON
POST, 5/20).
     VIRGINIA BASEBALL THREATENED BY UBL?  Virginia Baseball
officials are reportedly "working behind the scenes, trying to
get where St. Petersburg was in the most recent major league
baseball expansion process -- in a secured position to be awarded
the next team."  The group is also pursuing the possibility of
luring an existing team to the area.  If that happens, RFK
Stadium would be used as a temporary home until a new stadium is
built.  But RFK officials have been involved in negotiations with
the UBL, which hopes to lease the stadium for its Washington
franchise.  Privately, DC officials "acknowledge that the best
chance to bring baseball back to the Washington area is through
Virginia Baseball, and they will be reluctant to make a deal"
with the UBL if it endangers Virginia Baseball's chances of
bringing a franchise to the Washington area.  DC Sports
Commission Dir Jim Dalrymple said he has had little contact
recently with the UBL:  "There's nothing really moving on that
front" (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/20).
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