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In Philadelphia, Timothy Dwyer writes when NBA owners meet Monday in Texas, they "are supposed to talk about" reopening the CBA, but that "a more difficult matter" is correcting the rookie salary cap, "a mistake that, if allowed to continue, could crash the NBA economy." Dwyer writes that the rookie cap and three-year guaranteed contract has caused "chaos in the league." Dwyer: "[T]he owners must change that rule. To save their game and their league. Or else players with promise ... are going to drive the salary structures so high the league will collapse, one small-market team at a time" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/18).
WTA Tour CEO Bart McGuire "has proposed major overhauls to the tour's board of directors," according to Robin Finn of the N.Y. TIMES. The proposal would "not only give him a regular voting role on the 10-member board, but would also restructure the board to include three directors with business experience that is not directly related to tennis." Finn reports McGuire is "seeking outsiders, specifically those with expertise" in TV and marketing to bring "balanced business judgment" to the tour. Finn: "The current board has often been criticized for fiduciary conflict of interest." Sources within the women's tour indicate that the proposed changes to the board have "the backing of the players, the International Tennis Federation and the [USTA]. But support from tournament directors, "whose seats on the board would be trimmed, was less certain"(N.Y. TIMES, 3/18).
Twins Owner Carl Pohlad will continue to work on finalizing a deal to sell the team to NC businessman Don Beaver, according to Neal & Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Pohlad, Twins President Jerry Bell and financial consultant Bob Starkey yesterday updated MLB's Executive Committee on their progress. Interim MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that selling the Twins to a new local owner "would be fruitless." Selig: "You change one face for another, what does that do? That club can't survive there without a new stadium. That's all there is to it. It can't generate revenue to survive." Bell said the team "will not wait" for the MN Legislature to come up with funding for a new stadium. Pohlad and Beaver have until March 31 to complete their sales agreement, but they "could opt to extend the deadline" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/18). STRANGE BREW: In addition to the Dodgers sale, the MLB Executive Council tomorrow will vote on the sale of the Blue Jays to Interbrew, according to Elliott & Zeisberger of the TORONTO SUN. Although the Belgian brewer purchased the team in '95, Interbrew never sought approval "because it intended to be only an interim owner" (TORONTO SUN, 3/18). LONE STAR: Bud Selig said the sale of the Rangers to Tom Hicks "would not be discussed at this week's" meetings, according to Ken Daley of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Selig said that "approval is likely" at the next owners meetings, June 9-11 in Seattle (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18). THE COMMISH: Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said that MLB's search for a permanent commissioner "will be completed before June's owners meetings," according to Hal Bodley of USA TODAY. McMorris said that "there's a group of about five outstanding candidates -- more than five." Names of potential candidates were not released (USA TODAY, 3/18). Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "is imploring" Selig "to stop pretending." Steinbrenner: "I'm for getting Bud Selig to accept the job as the chairman of baseball, with Paul Beeston as the president and chief operating officer, and letting it go like that" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18).
MLB owners began their three-day quarterly meetings yesterday in St. Petersburg, FL. In N.Y., Murray Chass writes that Braves Owner Ted Turner plans to make a "rare appearance" at the meetings on Thursday "to try to block" Rupert Murdoch's bid to purchase the Dodgers. A lawyer, familiar with Turner's plans: "He's going to try to keep Rupert out; that's why he's going." Turner, who has not attended an owners meeting in nine years, will miss a Time Warner board of directors meeting the same day (N.Y. TIMES, 3/18). One MLB Owner, on Turner's appearance: "Ted is going to try and twist some arms, but there's not more than three [NL] clubs against it." In L.A., Ross Newhan identified the three clubs as the Braves, Padres and Giants (L.A. TIMES, 3/18). The AP's Ronald Blum said that Turner's decision to attend was the "biggest news" of Wednesday's 4 1/2-hour council session (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 3/18). REAX: League owners will vote on the sale of the Dodgers to Murdoch on Thursday. In L.A., Newhan wrote that MLB officials continue "to endorse Dodger owner Peter O'Malley's contention that the sale will be approved. Some said that only the [Padres] and/or the Padres and [Braves] may vote against it, but some hedged their forecasts." A top MLB official, on Thursday's vote: "It's very close. Nothing is ever easy, but I'm hopeful (it will be approved)" (L.A. TIMES, 3/17). Ray Richmond of DAILY VARIETY wrote under the header, "Rupe Deal In the Clear: No Major Opposition Expected In Dodgers Vote." Richmond reports that while "pockets of resistance ... clearly exist," no "significant opposition appears to exist that would block the deal in the 11th hour" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/18). In San Diego, Tom Cushman wrote that given Murdoch's history, if the sale is approved, MLB owners will "have tossed gasoline on a house already in flames. ... If baseball welcomes him, it deserves him" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/17).