SBD/14/Franchises

IF NOT THE PIRATES, WILL THE MARINERS SAIL THE POTOMAC?

     The declaration by Mariners ownership that the team will be
sold if local voters reject the September 19 referendum on a new
stadium "is the worst case scenario," but cannot be seen "as idle
threats," according to this morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.
Angelo Bruscas and Rebecca Boren outline the possibilities the
Mariners face if next week's vote to fund a retractable dome for
the team fails, and point to a sale to the highest bidder as the
most likely possibility.  The team has said that if the vote
fails "they will be more than willing to listen to offers from
the Virginia group."  Mariner shareholder Wayne Perry: "The day
after the vote, the north Virginia group can call here."   While
it is possible that other ways of funding the stadium could
arise, Bruscas & Boren note that is unlikely.  It is also "highly
unlikely" that other local owners could be found to keep the team
at the Kingdome.  The possibility of moving the club to Vancouver
is also discussed, but, again, not likely due to BC Place's
similarities to the Kingdome (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/14).
     POLL NUMBERS:  Sources tell THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that
polling by a local TV station is showing the Yes vote on the
stadium trailing by a 52-36% margin, with 12% undecided.  Just
before Labor Day, polls showed 55-33%, which was up from 66-33%
on July 4th (THE DAILY).
     HISTORY:  Also in this morning's POST-INTELLIGENCER,  Bill
Knight chronicles the history of baseball in Seattle.  Knight
notes that the Mariners have never had the support new teams such
as Colorado and Florida have because of the strange circumstances
surrounding the team's arrival and shaky ownership.  The Mariners
were created in exchange for the dismissal of a lawsuit against
MLB by the city.  Seattle had sued after the expansion Pilots
left for Milwaukee in '70 -- after just one season (POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 9/14).
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Franchises, MLB, Seattle Mariners

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