The Bucks plan to make a bid to host the NBA Draft as early as '98 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/28)....The NPSL Detroit Rockers will play all home games this season at Joe Louis Arena. The had played home games at Cobo Arena (DETROIT NEWS, 6/28)....Wayne Gretzky will become a free agent for the first time in his career (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 6/28)....The Ravens will have two record books in the publication of its media guide, including one for the Ravens and another for "Baltimore Pro Football History." Excluded will be CFL and USLF teams that carried the Baltimore nickname (Baltimore SUN, 6/28)....The Palm Spring Suns have cancelled a clothing optional night at the park claiming that too many people wanted to participate. "Nudist Night" was scheduled for July 8, but the demand exceed the stadium's 4,400 seat capacity. Event Sponsor Tom Mulhall: "We were concerned that we might have a safety and security problem" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/28).
WI Gov. Tommy Thompson is pushing to have a stadium financing plan for a new Brewers ballpark done by Saturday, "but he wasn't certain that would happen," according to Rinard & Lamke of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Another private commitment, this one a $1M low-interest loan by the Evan and Marion Helfaer Foundation, was offered as officials met in Thompson's Capitol office to discuss the project. They agreed the ballpark will not be completed until 2000, but that it can be built for $250M without "sacrificing its signature convertible-roof design." Acting Commissioner Bud Selig was not happy about giving up on the originally planned completion date and losing the '99 All- Star Game, which had been committed to the city. Asked whether another All-Star Game in Milwaukee was possible, Selig said "I'll talk to the commissioner on the way home." Selig said he is "not actively pursuing" Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist's idea that MLB contribute $12.5M toward the stadium. Selig: "It's never been done before" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/28).
Without public funding for a new arena or "drastic renovations" to Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders say they will be forced to move within five years, according to this morning's NEWSDAY. Ownership reached that conclusion after losses of $12M over the past two seasons. Two prospective ownership groups also agree the team "cannot remain viable in 24-year-old Nassau Coliseum for long." Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta has proposed that private investment convert the Coliseum into a convention center, with a new arena and hotel complex built, but the team seeks county and state financing for a package that would include a team contribution. Islanders Co-Chair Bob Rosenthal: "It's not our style to threaten, and we have never threatened the county. We want the team to stay here, but we have made it clear to [Gulotta] that we need a new facility. ... Five years is too long for this team to really thrive." Gulotta stressed no public money would be needed under his plan. Rosenthal: "The existing template for new buildings all around the country calls for those interested, private and public to pull their groups together." The team seeks an 18-20,000 seat arena with 60-100 luxury boxes. Rosenthal: "We've called what we want 'Madison Square Garden East.' We're overdue for the county and the state and us to provide that facility" (Greg Logan, NEWSDAY, 6/28). SUITORS: NEWSDAY reports The Marquee Group, headed by former MSG President Bob Gutkoswki, is involved in talks about purchasing the team. One source involved in the talks: "Our interest would be to keep the team on Long Island, but without renovations or a new building, the team will go someplace else. The municipality has to kick in." Another group of investors that owns a minor league hockey team is also interested, with a source from that group saying the team would be worth more immediately if it were moved to Nashville (Greg Logan, NEWSDAY, 6/28).
A "disappointing paid attendance" of only 27,782 was announced at Comiskey Park last night for the opening game of the Indians-White Sox series. The White Sox win brought them within two games of the first place Indians, but over 18,000 empty seats "suggested fan apathy is still a problem winning alone apparently can't make disappear" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/28). Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a regular at White Sox games until the players strike two years ago, "ended his self-imposed exile" and attended his first game at Comiskey Park in more than a year last night. The Mayor, who declined an invitation to attend Opening Day at Comiskey, said he "was upset with the strike like a lot of fans were, but I decided this year I would come back" (Art Golab, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/28).