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  • LEAGUE NOTES

              ABL: The ABL signed Jennifer Azzi to a four-year
         contract extension (ABL).  League CEO Gary Cavalli said
         Azzi's signing means 29 of the ABL's top 35 players have
         signed contract extensions.  Cavalli: "We expect three more
         to be announced soon, leaving three others who want to
         wait."  The Rage's Dawn Staley has yet to resign and Cavalli 
         said Staley is "very, very important to the league. 
         Obviously she's No. 1 on our list" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/24).
              GENERAL: MLS Deputy Commissioner Sunil Gulati said that
         the league will likely retain all its foreign players in
         '98, and he predicts that about 20 new international players
         will come into the league next season (USA TODAY, 10/24).
         ...CART's season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix has been moved
         from March 1 to March 15 "in order to secure a better" TV
         package.  Details of the TV deal were not disclosed (STAR-
         NEWS, 10/24)....The Pacers-Hornets exhibition game on
         Tuesday in Nashville drew 9,338 at the 16,000-plus seat
         Nashville arena (NASHVILLE BANNER, 10/23)....The Panthers
         have filed a grievance with the NFL Management Council.  The
         team is looking to collect the unpaid fines that former
         Panther Kevin Greene incurred during his holdout. It is also
         looking to recoup a $350,000 roster bonus that it paid
         Greene last February.  The matter goes before an independent
         arbitrator next week (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/24). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Champ Car World Series, Indiana Pacers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, New Orleans Pelicans, NFL
  • LEYLAND, TIRED OF WORLD SERIES CRITICISM, LASHES OUT

              In a "rare outburst of anger and candor," Marlins
         Manager Jim Leyland "lashed out at critics" of the '97 World
         Series, according to Dan Shaughnessy of the BOSTON GLOBE. 
         Leyland "seemed to be directing some of his anger" at Acting
         Commissioner Bud Selig, who criticized the quality and pace
         of play during the first few games.  Leyland: "I'm sick and
         tired of hearing about New York and Atlanta and Baltimore. 
         We won it.  We are the teams that are supposed to be here,
         and it makes me puke when I continue to hear people talking
         about the Marlins and the Indians."  More Leyland: "This
         game has a hell of a lot more problems than the (expletive)
         TV ratings" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24).  Leyland added that MLB
         should start its World Series games earlier: "[I]n my
         opinion, we contradict ourselves a lot in baseball.  We're
         trying to get the youth involved, for God sakes.  Most youth
         are sleeping by 9 o'clock, and more importantly, so is the
         guy that works from 7 o'clock to 4 or 5 in the afternoon. 
         The blue-collar guy is tired. ... The ratings of this World
         Series (are) not very high on the list of problems we've got
         with baseball" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/24). 
              REAX:  In Washington, Thomas Boswell noted both the
         comments of Selig and Leyland: "Is baseball finally coming
         out of its denial phase?  This may end up being the worst-
         played, least watched World Series in history.  But it also
         could be a watershed in candor.  For the first time,
         baseball is admitting publicly the depth and number of its
         problems" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/24). In Philadelphia, Bill
         Conlin called Leyland's remarks "one of the great bursts of
         compulsive truth-telling ever heard in a sport in which
         lying is an accepted art" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/24). 
         In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Leyland spoke "honestly, and
         from the heart, without editing himself. ... His rant turned
         out to be better than these games, and moved along much
         quicker" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/24).  Also in N.Y., Tom Keegan
         called Leyland's remarks "refreshing" (N.Y. POST, 10/24). 
              RATINGS: Reaction continued to the Series' low ratings. 
         NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay writes the "big reason" for the
         interest drop "is that we're seeing the continuing residue
         from the bitter strike" and cancelled Series of '94.  Zipay:
         "The casual viewer left and never came back.  Simple as
         that" (NEWSDAY, 10/24).  In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes
         the Series "has to win an audience anew each and every year. 
         And all of the things that wouldn't have mattered so much
         when it was a cultural institution -- the late start times,
         the long games, the bad play, the lack of entertainment
         value -- matter a great deal" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24). 
         An editorial in today's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "Wake up,
         baseball.  Move up the starting times and speed up the
         games" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/24). 
              ROUND-UP: In NC, Caulton Tudor writes the '97 Series is
         "yet another reminder of the sport's mortality."  Tudor:
         "Once entrenched as the national pastime, baseball has
         become a rebel without a cause, clue, compass or conscience"
         (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/24).  But in Philadelphia,
         Jayson Stark writes, "In the '90s, life is different and the
         World Series are different.  Too bad some folks just haven't
         figured that out yet" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • NBPA ADVISORY GROUP TO HIT GOTHAM TODAY WITH TOUGH TALK

              The NBPA "hopes to present a united front when its
         agents advisory committee meets" today in N.Y., according to
         ESPN's David Aldridge.  Aldridge: "The committee contains
         most of the agents who were part of the unsuccessful
         decertification effort two years ago.  But now most of those
         agents -- including David Falk, Arn Tellem, Mark
         Bartelstein, Bill Strickland -- are firmly in control of the
         union.  They'll likely come out of the meeting talking about
         more exemptions for veterans, and decrying the league's
         contention that a third of its teams could lose money this
         season while a half dozen coaches received financial
         windfalls in the offseason" ("SportsCenter," 10/23).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Walt Disney
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