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ESPN's John Kernan reports that Indianapolis Motor Speedway President & CEO Tony George's comments last week that CART has 30 days to stop using the IndyCar name "appear to have ended any possibility of a compromise that would bring the CART teams to Indianapolis." George: "I've heard [CART President] Andrew Craig say it's too late for '96, but let's talk about '97. Once we make our decision to go our separate ways and have competing races on Memorial Day weekend, I think that in and of itself puts some finality to all of this" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/25). Mario Andretti, a critic of George and the IRL, noted the likely economic losses in Indianapolis this year. Andretti said Texaco, which won't be at Indy this year, spent $482,000 on hotel rooms, plane fare and hospitality at last year's race (Bill Fleischman, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/26).
Agent Bill Strickland denied NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik's recent comments that the CBA with players was "98 to 99 percent written" before new NBPA negotiators slowed down the process. Strickland, who called the league's lawsuit against the union and six key agents "ridiculous": "As we all know, things that are agreed to verbally don't always work out the same way when two sides try to sit down and write the agreement. ... It's just that the players are taking a firm stance in how things are traded off" (Frank Hughes, WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/26)....The AHL has surpassed the 3 million mark in league attendance for the second straight year and is on pace to break last year's record (AHL)....Following low attendance and player complaints, the Senior PGA Tour is weighing a move of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf from PGA West in La Quinta, CA, to FL -- possibly as soon as '97 (USA TODAY, 3/26).
Cubs President & CEO Andy MacPhail has become the unofficial spokesperson on the issue of granting the players service time for the '94-95 strike, and his message is: "The game will be shut down again before the players union gets service time for days it was on strike." MacPhail, who offered to become a point man on the issue at last week's owners' meetings in Phoenix: "They didn't play. There was no revenue generated, the game suffered considerably because of the strike. ... They are not entitled to it. The fact they got it in '81 is idiotic. If anyone is holding on to expectations that (they deserve it because of past years), I would like to hear a rational explanation for it." One reason MacPhail is speaking out is because service time is not an "official negotiating subject," and neither MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr nor MLB spokespersons are able to comment on the matter. MacPhail, on the chances for compromise: "Zero" (Dave Van Dyk, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/26). BRIGHTER SIDE: In the new issue of GQ, Peter Richmond examines the state of baseball through the eyes of Ken Griffey Jr., Buck O'Neill, Ernie Banks and Mike Veeck. Richmond writes, "If baseball really wants to promote itself, it should freeze Ken Griffey's expression when he's talking about his games. Any of his games. And plaster it on billboards" (GQ, 4/96 issue).