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MLB umpires "were threatened with 'swift action' Tuesday in a strongly worded letter" from MLB if they "fail to abide by baseball's policies and practices," according to Hal Bodley of USA TODAY. The letter, written by MLB attorney Robert Kheel, said that the umps face "suspensions or even more severe action if they follow through on their 'no tolerance' stand" (USA TODAY, 10/1). Highlights of David Letterman's "Top 10 Signs The Umpire Is Nuts." No. 10: His Chest Protector Has Large Silicone Implants. No. 9: Cleans Home Plate With His Tongue. No. 8: The First Batter Has Worked The Count to 46 Balls, 29 Strikes. No. 6: Was Seen Checking Into Motel 6 With The Philly Phanatic. No. 3: Insists That "Baseball Fever" Is The Cause Of That Weird Rash On His Back ("Late Show," CBS, 9/30). RACING: The IRL increased its '98 schedule to 10 races as it has added Dover Downs, DE, to its schedule with a race on July 19 (IRL). A second IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway has been added for September 20 and will serve as the final event on the '98 schedule (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/1). GENERAL: The National Lacrosse League, a new eight-team league combining teams from the Major Indoor Lacrosse League with two expansion teams, begins its inaugural season January 3, 1998 (NLL)....USA Baseball will relocate its national headquarters to Tuscon, AZ's Hi Corbett Field on a permanent basis, contingent upon city approval. USA Baseball's administrative offices are currently located in Trenton, NJ, and the organization expects to complete the move sometime in mid-November (USA Baseball)....The CISL will assume operational control of the Anaheim Splash, having terminated the franchise rights of the current owners due to a failure to meet financial obligations (CISL).
THE DAILY charts MLB final attendance figures for each team. Our focus is on the second half of the season, including the last five weeks of the schedule, when the wild card and pennant races should have become more competitive while going up against the start of the NFL season. NOTES: "1st Half Season Avg." is based on attendance through the All-Star break; "2nd Half Analysis" looks at attendance from All-Star break through August 24; from August 24 through the end of the season and total second half average (THE DAILY).
SEASON AVG 2ND HALF ANALYSIS 2ND HALFTEAM1ST HALFFINAL7/10-8/248/24-9/28TOT+/- BAL45,29345,81646,49746,02746,278+ 2% CLE42,20642,55942,86242,99642,912+ 2% SEA38,56239,49440,96639,82340,497+ 5% TEX37,59236,81537,87631,08035,277- 6% TOR32,13331,96732,75530,90131,712- 1% NYY30,33233,08335,87436,13835,978+19% BOS26,68527,82728,89929,37629,089+ 9% CHI23,32323,91326,71522,38424,677+ 6% ANA21,88621,81923,86118,96521,746- 1% KC19,24919,71020,59019,58020,207+ 5% MIL16,37919,71023,03718,04420,877+27% MIN17,82817,42119,76613,84216,959- 5% DET15,50817,28020,05719,68719,883+28% OAK16,56715,96514,18817,31215,407- 7% AL27,35728,08629,76327,75428,912+ 6% NL COL48,12348,00648,14947,62147,891- 0% ATL41,01042,76546,31241,26544,317+ 8% LA37,55940,97445,37945,78145,556+21% STL33,22432,81934,63929,83032,361- 3% FLA29,81029,55528,58330,89429,335- 2% CHI25,71027,72532,93225,30426,960+ 5% SD26,96626,11724,86724,95124,908- 8% HOU22,33325,26928,48329,21828,599+28% CIN22,76922,32224,10818,69421,776- 4% NYM21,69722,64327,18320,00623,692+ 9% SF19,69821,13518,88327,94523,414+19% PIT19,30620,71322,89521,28222,192+15% MON19,47118,48919,85513,70217,058-12% PHI18,76819,35918,72521,34219,998+ 7% NL27,37528,49030,67428,60229,763+ 9% TOTAL27,36628,28830,21228,18629,338+ 7%YR SEPT. ATTENDANCE GAMESYR SEPT. ATTENDANCE GAMES'928,900,262181'959,277,085188'9312,038,777207'969,563,591182'94'9710,029,154190
The NHL's 81st season gets underway tonight with ten games on the schedule. In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes that the NHL season "brings both great opportunity and great danger for the business of the game." The "upside" is the Olympic participation where a Canada-U.S. final, "even if it is played live at dawn, could be the most significant game in the history of the sport. Hockey would really matter, at least for the moment, outside of traditional hockey hotbeds, and a lot of eyes would surely be opened to the sport's possibilities." But the "danger" for the upcoming season lies in NC, where the Hurricanes "are in for a terrible struggle to find a berth in the public imagination." Brunt: "Hockey is going through a period of hyper-inflation. Salaries are going up, but franchise values are going up faster. The league is about to embark on an ambitious expansion that includes one sure thing (Atlanta, irony of ironies) and a bunch of maybes. A little setback down south, and the foundations of the pyramid suddenly get a little shaky" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/1). In Calgary, Mark Miller writes the NHL is "heading into one of its most crucial seasons" and adds, with the Olympics, the game "will finally achieve the profile it's aspired to for so long in the U.S." (EDMONTON SUN/CALGARY SUN, 10/1). MONEY, IT'S A FACT: In N.Y., Joe Lapointe previews the season, noting that "some of the sport's biggest stars are unlikely to be in uniform" for the opener. Currently, up to eight restricted Group 2 free agents, including Mighty Duck Paul Kariya and Red Wing Sergei Fedorov, are unsigned (N.Y. TIMES, 10/1). On ESPN SportsZone, Al Morganti writes "with so many high-profile players still not signed," there are "some very loud suggestions from across NHL management offices that part of the problem" is the NHLPA. NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow said while the union does act as a "sort of clearinghouse" for information, "I don't and we don't work as a player's agent in the negotiations" (SportsZone, 10/1).
The NFL's CBA runs through 2000 and there has been speculation that NFL owners would reject an extension through 2001 unless the players "agreed to significant changes in the current salary-cap system," according to Paul Domowitch of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. But with talks set for a new TV deal, the league "can ill afford the threat of another labor war." Therefore, when owners meet in Washington in two weeks for their owners meetings, league sources say Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "will recommend that the owners approve a one-year, as-is extension of the CBA through 2001, then resume the fight for the salary-cap reform next year." But NFLPA Assist. Exec Dir Doug Allen criticizes the league for asserting that large signing bonuses violate the "spirit" of the salary cap. Allen: "How can they stand there and claim they didn't understand you could allocate signing bonuses? That is beyond ridiculous. ... The bottom line is they don't like their own spending habits and they don't like free agency. But that boat left the dock a long time ago" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/1).