SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies


     In the aftermath of the Fourth of July weekend and with the
All-Star Game next week, MLB has hit its halfway point of the
season.  The league is "still staggering" with a 20% drop in
attendance, writes Claire Smith of the N.Y. TIMES, as only
Montreal, Cleveland and Boston have drawn more than last year.
But acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has hope:  "We seem, at
least through last Sunday [June 25], to have stopped the decline"
(N.Y. TIMES, 7/2).
Keown writes to fans that "baseball is still waiting for you. ...
The baseball people don't care what brings you back ... It's the
apathy that's killing them."  Keown said that with school out and
the NHL and NBA through, "baseball is officially out of excuses"
(S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/5).  An editorial in the N.Y. TIMES states
that "gimmicks ... have failed to lure back the fans. ... The
message for Major League Baseball is not hard to divine.  The
game is still loved, but the greedy business of Major League
Baseball is being rejected" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3).
     NOT SO FAST:  But in Boston, Peter Gammons writes that
because the game is "covered" differently by its media, "rumors
of baseball's death turned out to be exaggerated, vastly
exaggerated."  Gammons points to better-then-expected attendance
numbers and rising young stars:  "Small market whiners should
shut up, do what the Indians did and get a grasp of what's good.
They could have a team in Green Bay, WI and no one in LA, they
could have drawn a 13.9 on NBC and their champion could be riding
a Ryder truck to Nashville" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/2).  Ira Berkow also
points to the success of the Indians as a good sign: "Despite
mighty and impressive efforts by its leaders to destroy it,
baseball lives.  And Cleveland appears just the tip of the
iceberg" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/5).  In Milwaukee, Michael Bauman claims
there is "a different ethic among baseball fans" in Wisconsin,
and that "baseball is not dead here. It is damaged, wounded and
short on affection. But as bad as the situation is, it does not
have to be permanent" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/3).  Selig
said owners and the MLBPA will do more to promote the game:
"You're going to see a Herculean effort in the next few months
and years" (Tom Pedulla, USA TODAY, 7/3).
     MIDSUMMER CLASSIC?  In Tampa, columnist David Whitley writes
of his boycott of baseball: "So here we are, with the All-Star
Game closing in, and I know as much about the baseball season as
the average Tibetan monk whose monastery doesn't get cable"
(TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/3).  Mark Bradley in Atlanta writes that on
"July 4, 1995, all I want to know about baseball is this:  When's
the next strike" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/4).  Tom Boswell
speculates on the rating for the Game: "The past two years have
been 15.7 and 15.8.  My wager for Tuesday.  Double Digits. ... By
next year there may even be an all-star game that feels like a
full fledged, unrestrained celebration of baseball.  For now,
however the only final score that matters greatly on Tuesday
night will be that nasty Nielsen" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/5).
     THE OTHER GAME IN TOWN:  One owner told Mark Maske of the
WASHINGTON POST that owners will ask the MLBPA to schedule a
bargaining session, and "that negotiating meeting could
apparently take place by -- or during -- the all-star break"
     CHECK THE NUMBERS:  A Harris Poll of 1,004 adults shows
baseball has lost one-third of its fans since last year.  A
survey conducted from June 8-11 reported that 33% said they
followed the sport, down from 49% in May '94.  71% of those who
follow baseball were less interested in the game than before the
baseball strike, 12% were more interested, and 16% said their
level of interest had not changed.  The margin of error on the
survey is +/- 3% (AP/ ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/2).  ABC News
also reported on the Harris Poll, and profiled the success of
Mike Veeck and his St. Paul Saints ("World News Tonight," ABC,
     A VOTE FOR PALERMO: N.Y. NEWSDAY's baseball writer Jon
Heyman calls on former umpire Steve Palermo to be the next MLB
Commissioner.  Heyman:  "The best thing for Baseball's powers to
do now is hire an American hero such as Palermo.  He has the
trust of the players, the admiration of the owners, and the
respect of the country" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 7/2).
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