SBD/13/Sports Industrialists

MIKE VEECK FOLLOWS IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS

     Mike Veeck, son of former baseball exec/promotional pioneer
Bill Veeck, was featured on last night's ESPN Cover Story.  Veeck
runs the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League and sells out his
6,000 seat park nearly 100% of the time while the Twins struggle
to draw 12,000 across the river in Minneapolis.  Veeck has many
ideas on how he would help revive MLB and solve some of its
problems.  Veeck: "I don't believe like Ken Burns said that
baseball is a metaphor for life.  I think that's a crock.  But
what I do believe is that our games are the way we escape."
Veeck, on his team: "It's baseball first, and then all of the
embellishments that we throw in hopefully contribute a great deal
-- because fun is good."  Props at Saints games include a pig
mascot, a nun who gives massages and haircuts while you watch the
game.  Veeck, on his marketing technique: "You have to do
something to get the people on the fringe, who either are
marginal ball fans at best, or who want nothing to do with it."
ESPN's Grace Lee Nikkel reported that the team could make over
$1M this season.  STAR-TRIB columnist Sid Hartman: "It's a
Target-Wal Mart type of baseball operation."  Veeck:  "If they're
suggesting that we are discount -- you bet we are. ... I believe
that the fun and games and the silliness works better than ever.
It seems to be very self-evident that you must do additional
things to create excitement around this little jewel of a game we
call baseball" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/12).
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