SBD/26/Leagues Governing Bodies

MLB FACES LOCAL THREAT TO ITS ANTITRUST EXEMPTION

     A FL Appeals Court recently reinstated would-be team owner
Frank Morsani's suit against MLB, which could expose owners to a
"potentially huge liability" on two separate legal grounds,
according to legal columnist John McKinnon.  Morsani, a Tampa
auto dealer, claims that MLB conspired to block his purchase of
the Twins and Rangers during the '80s; a FL Trial judge had
thrown the case out.  McKinnon notes the suit exposes MLB's
antitrust exemption, declaring them liable for that type of
violation, and the suit opens up team owners "to unprecedented
new liability" for "interference with business relationships,"
which often results in "punitive damage rewards."  McKinnon notes
MLB has not appealed losses in the past, because it fears the
risk of landing in the Supreme Court where the antitrust
exemption could be eliminated.  However, McKinnon notes that a
huge financial loss in the Morsani case "could force baseball's
strategy to change" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/25).
     NIGHTLINE EXAMINES BASEBALL'S HEALING PROCESS:  ABC's
"Nightline" examined the role the World Series is playing in
restoring fans' faith in baseball.  ABC's Al Michaels led by
emphasizing the need for a Commissioner: "I think Bud Selig has
gotten somewhat of a bad rap.  He's a very well-meaning man, and
a good guy, and a pretty good business man, and runs a ballclub.
You cannot have an owner of a team as the Commissioner of
baseball."  NBC's Bob Costas was less than optimistic that
baseball's leadership can turn the game around, but pointed out
the positive that a revival of the game have brought to
Cleveland.  Costas:  "It may not be logical, but a winning
ballclub, an attractive ballclub, a new facility ... can part of
a city's renaissance.  I'm not trying to overstate the importance
of sports, but it can play a part in a community's comeback"
(ABC, 10/25).
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