SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         MLB's top officials -- including acting Commissioner Bud
    Selig, NL President Leonard Coleman and AL President Gene Budig -
    - said they expect owners to vote today on a proposal to begin
    interleague play in '97.  According to Mark Maske of the
    WASHINGTON POST, "The measure almost certainly will pass if it's
    voted upon, for little opposition has mounted to it during the
    owners' quarterly meetings here" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/18).  Other
    reports note that while interleague play may be popular, the
    subsequent need to re-examine the DH rule could cause
    complications -- particularly with the union.  Last night, ESPN's
    Peter Gammons said he believes a vote will be tabled today.
    Gammons:  "The point is maybe they should work the deal out with
    the union, get an agreement there, and then just make it official
    -- rather than make it official and then have to barter with the
    union" ("SportsCenter," 1/17).  Red Sox CEO John Harrington is
    expected to introduce the proposal to try it for one year "and
    see how it goes."  Harrington, Phillies President Bill Giles and
    Astros Owner Drayton McLane -- the major proponents of
    interleague play -- "appear to have the necessary votes" (Alan
    Truex, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/18).
         THE GREAT DH DEBATE:  In New York, Murray Chass writes that
    the DH issue "threatened ... to undermine the revolutionary
    concept before it can be implemented."  One possible scenario:
    the union could propose adding the DH to the NL, instead of
    dropping it from the AL -- most likely causing NL owners to turn
    against interleague play.  MLBPA Assoc General Counsel Gene Orza:
    "Why is the elimination of the DH the proposed solution rather
    than the expansion of the DH?"  Chass notes, while no one in
    management would admit to it, "the desire to eliminate the [DH]
    is more an economic issue than one of sanctity of the nine-man
    lineup" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18).  In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck also
    notes the possibility of the union using interleague play as a
    "catalyst for the expansion of the DH rule" -- although the
    current state of labor relations means "it probably won't come to
    that" (Baltimore SUN, 1/18).  In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg notes
    the average salary for 10 regular DHs in the AL was $3,458,573 in
         NEWS & VIEWS:  Gammons:  "I think one of the things baseball
    people have come to realize is that baseball is not simply a part
    of some historic trust, it's part of an entertainment industry"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/17).  CBS' Dan Rather mentioned the
    expected approval of interleague play, saying it will be accepted
    because of "a concern over falling attendance" ("CBS Evening
    News," 1/17).  In Philly, Bill Lyon writes, "Baseball desperately
    needs to do whatever will bring back the fans, whatever will
    broaden and deepen interest.  Interleague play is so obvious"
    (PHILA. INQUIRER, 1/18).  The Rangers (who would play the NL
    West) oppose interleague play because of added travel and an
    increased number of late-night games (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM,
    1/18).    TV SITUATION:  Despite an offer from Time Warner Sports
    President Seth Abraham to have interleague games carried on HBO,
    Bill Giles, head of MLB's TV Committee, said the networks that
    have regular-season TV rights under the new deal -- Fox, ESPN and
    Fox/Liberty cable -- will carry the interleague games (Rudy
    Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/18).
         RELATED ISSUES:  One "frequently discussed scenario" cited
    in the ST. PETE TIMES has the Devil Rays in the AL East and the
    Diamondbacks in the NL West.  D'Backs Managing General Partner
    Jerry Colangelo:  "I've been told by enough people that if
    interleague play is approved they will probably go 15 and 15.
    And if it goes that way, we're in the NL" (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE
    TIMES, 1/18).  Naimoli told the TAMPA TRIBUNE he feels they will
    end up in the AL East, even though it would mean a "double
    switch" of teams in the other divisions (Bill Chastain, TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 1/18).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cablevision, CBS, ESPN, HBO, Houston Astros, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, New York Liberty, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Viacom, Walt Disney

         As they emerged from a meeting with NFL owners in Atlanta,
    NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Cleveland Mayor Michael White
    "each predicted yesterday that the future of pro football in
    Cleveland will be resolved within a month," according to the
    Akron BEACON JOURNAL.  Tagliabue:  "It's not going to be any long
    delay.  We're in a position to move by early February."
    Tagliabue downplayed rumors the Bucs would move to Cleveland, and
    White denied having any contact with Bucs officials or "anyone
    remotely associated with Tampa Bay."   But the BEACON JOURNAL's
    Adams & Hubbuch note, "White didn't seem to rule out that a third
    party might be negotiating to bring the Buccaneers to Cleveland"
    (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/18).
         ART'S SIDE OF THE STORY:  ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Browns
    Owner Art Modell did not speak with the owners very much, rather
    he let his attorney handle the presentations since he felt "he
    would be too emotional" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/17).  One
    anonymous team official, comparing the two presentations:  "Art's
    lawyer blew away the city" (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18).
    Modell's attorney, Robert Weber, said a "violent" campaign
    against Modell made it impossible for him to return to Cleveland
    (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/18).  A released issued by the Browns
    defended the move and outlined the chronology of relations with
    local politicians.  Modell was quoted as telling fellow owners:
    "If the league allows the Mayor to hold the Browns hostage, then
    every one of you are hostages too" (Browns).  Giants co-Owner
    Robert Tisch, who said Modell did not make such harsh comments in
    the owners meeting:  "I don't know why he put out that release"
    (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/18).   OUTLOOK:  In Atlanta, Len
    Pasquarelli reports league officials "all but conceded that the
    relocation of the [Browns] is likely to be approved, even if
    reluctantly, within the next two weeks" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    1/18).  In Chicago, Don Pierson writes, "The handwriting on the
    wall is becoming more clear:  It's only a matter of time before
    the franchise is playing in Baltimore" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18).
    USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes writes Tagliabue and the Cleveland
    delegation "appeared headed for a settlement" -- although no
    potential solutions were offered (USA TODAY, 1/18).  ESPN's Chris
    Mortensen:  "Some people I know in the league -- who are in the
    know -- don't really know what is going to happen"
    ("SportsCenter," 1/17).  In Baltimore, Ken Rosenthal writes,
    "Peace is nearly at hand" (Baltimore SUN, 1/18).
         NO SYMPATHY:  Raiders Owner Al Davis said Modell does not
    have "clean hands" on the issue of franchise relocation.  Davis:
    "You've got to remember that Modell was the one who spoke out
    adamantly against the Rams and the Raiders and put a lot of
    obstacles in our way in Los Angeles.  Then, here he is standing
    up and -- in about one month -- changing everything he said in
    the last 15 years" (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/18).
    Davis went on to call Modell's move to Baltimore a "diabolic
    plot" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18).

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Oakland Raiders, LA Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walt Disney
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