SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

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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