SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         With its cover story on baseball, the July 10 issue of
    SPORTS ILLUSTRATED examines the dilemma facing some erstwhile
    baseball fans:  How to reconcile anger at the sport with the fact
    that the season is turning out to be "fantastic."  Tom Verducci
    writes, "Like an ocean tide, baseball churns on relentlessly, its
    pull on you greater beneath the surface than above.  That hasn't
    changed.  Baseball's quietest season offers its own pleasures.
    You don't know what you're missing.  Or do you?" (SI, 7/10).  In
    L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "Declining attendance continues to
    affect nearly every franchise, but time seems to have eased some
    of the hurt.  Approaching the symbolic midpoint of a delayed
    season, the damage has become tougher to measure."  Newhan
    reports that a new marketing department will be opened in MLB's
    New York office with successful local promotions tried "on the
    national stage" (L.A. TIMES, 7/6).
         OFF-THE-FIELD:  In a separate piece, SI's Verducci writes
    that, after months of silence, labor negotiations between owners
    and players "are about to get more difficult."  Braves President
    Stan Kasten:  "A lot of teams are digging in more and more as
    this goes on.  The economics have changed too much since March."
    Verducci reports that one group of owners, led by the White Sox's
    Jerry Reinsdorf, is actually pushing for a return to the salary
    cap, while Red Sox CEO John Harrington can only hope to have a
    deal "maybe by Thanksgiving or into December."  Giants Owner
    Peter Magowan:  "It's scary.  On the other hand, the players
    ought to be able to see it:  The revenue isn't there anymore."
    According to Verducci, the owners have split into three groups:
    hard-liners, moderates and doves.  Some of the doves -- "ready to
    sign just about anything" -- want Bud Selig and his "small-market
    agenda" out of the way.  Harrington puts that faction at "two or
    three.  They'll never have a majority" (SI, 7/10 issue).
         ALL-STAR UPDATE:  In Ft. Worth, Kathryn Hopper reports that
    demand for tickets "isn't as hot as in years past," but local
    ticket brokers believe that could change.  Hideo Nomo could be a
    draw, particularly among West Coast fans and Japanese
    businessmen.  But Barry Lefcowitz, head of the National
    Association of Ticket Brokers, calls the game "a flop."  MLB
    spokesperson Rich Levin:  "It's a sellout. ... As far as we're
    concerned, it's a success" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/6).  A
    N.Y. POST header picked up on Lefcowitz's comment:  "ALL-STAR
    GAME'S 'A FLOP'" (N.Y. POST, 7/6).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Sports Illustrated

         The NLRB will decide in "two to three weeks" whether to
    allow a vote by members of the NBPA to decertify the union as
    their collective bargaining representative, according to this
    morning's WASHINGTON POST.  Attorneys for the NBA, the NBPA and a
    group of dissident players met in New York "to debate who is
    eligible to vote on decertification and when and how players will
    cast ballots if an election takes place, but failed to reach an
    agreement."  The NLRB officer who presided over the hearing asked
    the three sides to submit briefs on July 14, "making it likely"
    that Daniel Silverman, the NLRB's New York regional director,
    will announce his decision the following week.  Jeffrey Kessler,
    attorney for the 17 players who petitioned the NLRB for
    decertification, wants a vote in early August, while the league
    and union prefer to hold it during training camps in October.  If
    the lockout is still in effect in October, league and union
    officials would agree to voting at NLRB offices around the
    country (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6).
         SIGN HERE:  While Kessler submitted 180 signatures in
    support of the effort, NBA attorney Howard Ganz pointed out that
    146 were faxed from agents' offices.  Ganz:  "This proceeding was
    commenced under false pretenses.  The players who lent their
    names to decertification forms, we believe that evidence shows
    that players were sold a bill of goods" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6).
    Kessler said he hopes to have 200 signatures "real soon" (Thomas
    Hill, N.Y. POST, 7/6).   NEW YORK PRESS:  The New York media
    focused largely on the fact that teammates Patrick Ewing and NBPA
    VP Charles Smith were on opposite sides of the dispute.  Shaun
    Powell called it "Knick vs. Knick" (NEWSDAY, 7/6).  CNN's Mark
    Morgan: "This is not a run-of-the-mill labor struggle.  This pits
    players against players" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 7/5).
         COMMENTARY:  SI's "Scorecard":  "That [Simon] Gourdine's
    group could have reached an agreement that so many of its
    constituents find distasteful shows that they were out of touch
    with the people they were representing, a cardinal sin for union
    leaders. ... Somebody had better start actively cooperating.  The
    first step toward saving the season is having the players decide
    what they want and whom they want to get it for them" (SI, 7/10

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Sports Illustrated
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