SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • MLB OPENS SEASON WITH LABOR PEACE, BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN

              MLB's season opens today with 12 games on its schedule. 
         With a winter storm hitting the Northeast, MLB's decision to
         start east coast teams on the west coast and in as many
         "warm-weather sites as possible" may pay, according to
         Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES.  AL VP Derek Irwin: "We're
         going to prove to be very smart with the warm-weather
         schedule we have this year" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1).  With the
         season's start, writers commented on the state of the game: 
              RENAISSANCE OR BUST?  In Chicago, Dave Van Dyck called
         it the "year of the Dove.  A time for healing."  Van Dyck:
         "The game wants to clean up its act, as if it were as simple
         as dusting off home plate before Tuesday's first inning"
         (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/31).  In N.Y., Mike Lupica: "It is all
         going to be quite good, starting this week.  All people who
         have spent the last few years proclaiming the game finished,
         please take not" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/30).   But in
         Minneapolis, Jim Souhan: "Ugliness remains. ... baseball has
         become identified as the game of greed and disrespect"
         (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/31).  Also in Minneapolis, Jay
         Weiner, in an extensive piece entitled, "Can Baseball
         Survive In The 21st Century?" asks: "On the Opening Day,
         this Question Lingers: Can Baseball Preserve Such a Norman
         Rockwellian Past As the Nation Zooms to an Information-Age
         Future?" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/1).  On ESPN's "The
         Sports Reporters," Michael Wilbon: "Baseball, like PBS and
         Cadillac, better find some fans under 65 years old, or we're
         going to find out they're in serious trouble still coming
         off the strike even though its three years later" ("The
         Sports Reporters," 3/30).  In Sacramento, Mark Kreidler:
         "Every step now is a tentative one; this is a sport suddenly
         searching for its market after decades of knowing what it
         was without needing to ask" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/29).
              HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: The celebration of Jackie
         Robinson's 50th anniversary of breaking the MLB color
         barrier was featured throughout the U.S., with special
         sections in many large-market papers.  On the N.Y. TIMES'
         front-page on Sunday, Claire Smith wrote that "even as
         baseball begins a season of tribute to Mr. Robinson ... many
         in the sport express concern that baseball is disconnected
         from the black athletes he paved the way for and the black
         fans who watched him. ... While black Americans may no
         longer be disenfranchised by baseball, they are increasingly
         disinclined to play the sport" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/30).  In DC,
         Mark Maske wrote "the game's leaders admit there is plenty
         of work to do to ensure that minorities have equal
         opportunities off the field."  Hall of Famer and former
         manager Frank Robinson: "It's discrimination, but it's
         covered up a little better now.  It's not as open as it was
         years ago" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/28).  
    
    

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  • MLS KICKS OFF SECOND SEASON TO SMALLER CROWDS THAN LAST YEAR

              MLS opened its second season with lower attendance and
         goal scoring, but also with "higher-quality play," according
         to Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES.  Longman notes that this
         year, MLS "will have to survive on the caliber of its play,
         not the novelty of its existence" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1). 
         Attendance for six matches this season has averaged 21,272,
         "considerably behind" the 33,598 for a similar period last
         year, but ahead of MLS Commissioner Doug Logan's 20,000
         projection for the season.  Logan called Kansas City "a
         little soft," noting the Wizards' opening game attendance of
         10,196 (Jerry Langdon, USA TODAY, 3/31).  In Boston, the
         GLOBE's Frank Dell'Apa: "Major League Soccer's novelty
         effect appears to have subsided judging by attendance, which
         was mostly unimpressive during the first week of the season.
         ... Now, substance is becoming the criteria to attract fans
         and maintain credibility" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/1).  But the
         GLOBE's Will McDonough, on an expected crowd of 54,000 for a
         World Cup qualifier/MLS doubleheader on April 20 at Foxboro:
         "It's hard to believe how soccer interest has developed here
         in such a short time" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29).  In L.A., the
         Galaxy-United game drew 53,147 (L.A. TIMES, 3/30).
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: AEG, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS
  • STERN REACTIONS: MEDIA RESPOND TO CALIPARI, HALBERSTAM FINES

              Media reactions continue over NBA Commissioner David
         Stern's $25,000 fining of Nets Coach John Calipari and
         $2,500 fining of Heat radio broadcaster David Halberstam for
         remarks made last week.  
              GOOD CALL? In N.Y., NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell, on
         Calipari:  "He got what he deserved:  Tons of bad publicity,
         plenty of sleepless nights, added stress."  Powell: "He
         didn't deserve to lose his job or get a suspension, and a
         single mistake shouldn't become a scarlet letter" (NEWSDAY,
         3/28).  The BOSTON GLOBE's Peter May notes that the NBPA
         "dared the league" to do something about Calipari's
         comments, two days before the fine (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/30).  In
         DC, Leonard Shapiro: "Broadcasters shouldn't come under the
         commissioner's jurisdiction, and shouldn't be on team
         payrolls in the first place, even if it's clearly the trend
         in pro sports these days" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/28).  In San
         Diego, Fritz Quindt, on Stern: "Nice precedent he's setting. 
         Honk if you think it goes beyond the power vested in someone
         who puts his signature on a basketball" (UNION-TRIBUNE,
         3/31).  In N.Y., Bob Raissman: "Announcers are always faced
         with walking a tightrope.  Stern's ruling may lead some
         voices to feel the rope is greased.  With the NBA setting
         this precedent, might other leagues follow suit?" (N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS, 3/28).  In Dallas, Cathy Harasta noted that
         Stern's decision -- "though the fines were skimpy,"--
         indicated he felt the NBA "must be vigilant about what is
         said, even if the remarks go beyond the game" (DALLAS
         MORNING NEWS, 3/29).  In S.F., David Steele noted the NBA
         "stepped way beyond the normal and accepted boundaries of
         corporate America. It's about time somebody did" (S.F.
         CHRONICLE, 4/1).  In Utah, Brad Rock:  "The fines were
         important for two reasons: first, because the NBA sent a
         clear message that it won't tolerate racially offensive
         remarks; second, those employed by the league or its teams
         are now accountable for what they say, even if the remarks
         aren't directly about basketball" (DESERET NEWS, 3/28).  
              NET RESULT: In a meeting with Nets execs yesterday,
         Calipari received a formal letter of reprimand for his
         comments, according to Selena Roberts in the N.Y. TIMES. 
         The team did not levy an additional fine to the NBA's, and
         "there was no apparent move" to force Calipari to
         "relinquish" some "power and control" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1).
              BOOK REPORT: A Pocket Books publication called "Money
         Wars: Days and Nights in the NBA," by Armen Keteyian, Harvey
         Araton and Martin Dardis will be released next Tuesday.  It
         includes two chapters focusing on some of the "turbulent
         events" surrounding Michael Jordan's '93 retirement. 
         Keteyian: "There are two chapters specifically, out of 20
         ... that deal with Michael Jordan" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/1). 
            
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Heat, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, YankeeNets
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