SBD/23/Leagues Governing Bodies

SELIG AT THE BAT: SAYS GAME IS IN NEED OF SOME SERIOUS SPEED

          MLB Acting Commissioner Bud Selig met the press
     yesterday in Cleveland and "expressed optimism" that the low
     TV ratings for the '97 World Series would improve and
     "indicated that the game's leaders will intensify their
     efforts to quicken the pace of play," according to Mark
     Maske of the WASHINGTON POST.  Selig, on the TV ratings:
     "The problem with ratings is, everything is down.  Every
     week I look at football ratings.  Basketball, hockey --
     they're all down.  And (Tuesday) night was pretty good.  We
     don't have any of the big markets in this Series. ... We
     started on a Saturday night, and that's a horrendous
     television night.  NBC has been a huge winner (over the
     other networks) every night" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). 
     Selig, after Tuesday's 14-11 Marlins win, which lasted 4
     hours and 12 minutes and ended after 12:30am ET: "Am I
     concerned?  Of course.  But change in this business is very,
     very difficult.  Even when it makes all the sense in the
     world."  More Selig: "That was a game that was terribly
     ugly.  I thought the 'Unfinished Symphony' had a better
     chance of finishing before that game.  I mean, 25 runs and
     the pitchers were still falling behind every hitter.  Ball
     One. Ball Two. Ball Three.  It reminded me of watching my
     own team. ... What drives people crazy is watching pitchers
     circling the mound, waiting for a message from heaven." 
     Selig said he will push for a shortened season which would
     allow the World Series to be played earlier and not face the
     cold temperatures that have hit Cleveland (Ken Daley, DALLAS
     MORNING NEWS, 10/23).  Selig, on moving the World Series to
     a warm-weather site: "I can't fathom that ever happening. 
     The pace of the game is the only thing we can do something
     about, and we'd like to" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).  One MLB
     official on moving to a neutral site: "Can you imagine this
     World Series being played in New Orleans or San Diego, where
     there is absolutely no interest in either of these two
     teams?  You wouldn't come close to filling the stadium for a
     week" (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/23).
          BUD'S LIGHTER SIDE: Selig, asked about the comments
     made by NBC's Don Ohlmeyer on the World Series: "Short of
     shooting him, what do you want me to do?" (Mult., 10/23).
          REAX: In Washington, Mark Maske: "This World Series ...
     hasn't helped baseball's recovery" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). 
     In S.F., Tim Keown: "[A]t the moment of peak interest, the
     World Series is bringing everybody down" (S.F. CHRONICLE,
     10/23).  In N.Y., Mike Lupica: "The weather outside is
     frightful.  So is the national pastime" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
     10/23).  Header above Tim Sullivan's column in Cincinnati:
     "Classic?  Not by a long shot" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/23). 
     In Orange County, Randy Youngman: "Let's face it, baseball
     has become so infuriatingly slow ... that it makes chess
     seem exciting by comparison" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
     10/22).  In Minnesota, Patrick Reusse: "An exceptional
     Series was needed to avoid embarrassing TV ratings -- to
     slow baseball's slide in popularity" (Minneapolis STAR
     TRIBUNE, 10/23).  In Philadelphia, Jim Salisbury: "Welcome
     to the Winter Classic" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/23).  USA
     TODAY's Hal Bodley notes the "crucial problem" to the TV
     ratings is the Marlins and Indians "are not high-profile
     teams."  He goes on to add that the average time for all '97
     postseason games is 3:13, and 3:26 through the first three
     games of the World Series (USA TODAY, 10/22).  But in
     Providence, Sean McAdam writes that MLB "must deal with the
     weight of expectations.  The World Series has been so
     compelling, so often, that anything less than a classic Fall
     Classic disappoints" (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 10/23).

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