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Former MSG President Bob Gutkowski says power corrupted him and he thinks the same can be said for current and past MSG figures Pat Riley, Dave Checketts, Mike Keenan and Neil Smith, according to Steve Jacobson in NEWSDAY. Jacobson writes of a recent lunch he had with Gutkowski when he quoted Shakespeare and noted: "All of us at a certain level start to have 'the disease of me.'" On Pat Riley, Gutkowski said it was the "best time for Riley to go," but he criticized his exit "by fax." Jacobson writes Gutkowski also "resented" Checketts' attempt to "bypass him" in the corporate structure. Gutkowski also blames the sale of MSG to ITT/Cablevision for Keenan's exit. Gutkowski: "If the Garden hadn't been up for sale, I believe I could have kept both (Keenan and Smith) to try to repeat" (NEWSDAY, 9/8).
"In an industry of butchered promises and renegotiated contracts and pitchers flipping fingers at fans, the Haases, like Ripken, seem to represent the last noble vestiges of a game gone bad. They used sports the way it should be used: as a tool for empowering and enriching," writes Joan Ryan in today's SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE column. Ryan notes that in a recent conversation with A's President Wally Haas, he said his father's illness was "weighing" on him and the family was ready to "pass the baton" with the A's. Haas: "I don't want to make more of it than it is, because baseball is not curing anything. It's not stopping crime. But, right or wrong, it's a powerful presence, and I feel there is no ceiling to what you can do within a community with a sports franchise" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/8).
The Devils and NJSEA have a court-mandated September 15 deadline to solidify a tentative agreement reached on July 13 that would keep the team in NJ until 2007. If the deadline passes, either the deal will fall apart, or the two sides can ask Superior Court Judge Peter Ciolino for an extension when they go before him next week. The Devils didn't submit their proposal to NJSEA until last Friday and NJSEA didn't start reviewing it until Tuesday. Michael Rowe, the exec in charge of Byrne Arena and Giants Stadium, said NJSEA attorneys have looked at the proposal, but declined to say if there are problems (AP/ESPNET, 9/8).