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SBD/26/Leagues Governing Bodies
MLB FACES LOCAL THREAT TO ITS ANTITRUST EXEMPTION
Published October 26, 1995
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).