SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         MLB franchises are considering "mandatory across-the-board
    reductions in minor league affiliates for every organization,"
    according to USA TODAY.  Any such action could not take place
    until after '97, when the agreement between MLB and NAPBL
    expires.  But MLB Dir of Operations Bill Murray said Astros Owner
    Drayton McLane and the strategic planning committee he heads are
    "actively investigating" it as a cost-cutting option.  At
    November meetings in Phoenix, MLB GMs floated the idea of
    limiting each team to four minor league affiliates -- one Rookie
    League, and one each in A, AA, and AAA.  The impact would be
    heaviest at the A level, where as many as 51 teams could be cut
    loose.  USA TODAY's Rod Beaton notes that would mean a savings of
    $500,000 to $1M per organization -- the typical price of a
    utility infielder.  Beaton asks, "Are the majors being penny wise
    and dollar foolish?" (USA TODAY, 1/5).
         SHUTDOWN BLUES:  In New York, Murray Chass examines the
    effect of the federal government shutdown on baseball with the
    unfair labor practices charge filed by the union last March still
    before the NLRB.  The NLRB -- with its employees furloughed --
    received a proposal from the MLBPA on the terms they want in a
    settlement, but owners never got the chance to read it and
    respond.  Randy Levine, chief labor negotiator for the owners,
    said they are "anxious" to resolve the matter without going to
    trial (N.Y. TIMES, 1/5).

    Print | Tags: Houston Astros, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, St. Louis Blues

         A panel of 14 NFL owners on hand for a presentation by
    Cleveland Mayor Michael White "came away convinced that the
    city's $175 million plan to renovate 65-year-old Cleveland
    Stadium is solid."  But, as Bart Hubbuch of the Akron BEACON
    JOURNAL notes, the message from the owners to White was:
    "Replace, don't rebuild."  NFL President Neil Austrian, who
    presided over the Atlanta meeting:  "The consensus of our group
    is that the $175 million is rock solid.  But you also have to ask
    whether it makes sense -- if you're going to spend $715 million -
    - to rebuild a stadium that was built in the 1930s."  White said
    their decision to renovate was based on the request of Browns
    Owner Art Modell.  But he said he told the NFL "we would not
    close our minds to any alternative."  Austrian described the
    proposal that another team move to Cleveland as merely an
    "afterthought" because of the implications of having another
    abandoned city.  White "surprised" the committee by saying they
    would even welcome Modell back, calling it a "small price to pay"
    to keep the Browns (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/5).  However, White
    ruled out the idea of letting the Browns go under the condition
    Cleveland would get another team at a later date.  White:  "That
    is DOA" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 1/5).
         NO DEAL:  Cleveland officials also denied reports that the
    city would negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the Browns,
    an idea originally floated by Maryland Stadium Authority Chair
    John Moag.  Nancy Lesic, Press Secretary for Mayor White:  "This
    is just a desperate attempt by John Moag to turn public opinion
    around in his favor, and I don't think that's going to happen"
    (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/5).

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
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