SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

TURNER MAKES "RESTRAINED" APPEAL AGAINST MURDOCH IN ST. PETE

          Braves Owner Ted Turner "wasted no time beginning his
     assault" on potential Dodgers Owner Rupert Murdoch,
     addressing a group of MLB owners Wednesday in St. Petersburg
     "on why the head of the Fox Group shouldn't be allowed into
     baseball," according to I.J. Rosenberg of the ATLANTA
     CONSTITUTION.  Rosenberg: "It was a restrained attack, no
     fiery speech from the Time-Warner vice chairman but instead
     a five-minute synopsis of why his rival Murdoch wouldn't be
     good for baseball."  After the meeting, Turner followed the
     guidelines of Acting Commissioner Bud Selig in not talking
     publicly until after today's vote on the matter: "It's not
     that I don't want to talk.  I just got to keep quiet right
     now."  The Dodgers sale requires approval from 12 of 16 NL
     teams and 8 of 14 AL squads.  Turner has "two votes in his
     camp," coming from the Padres and Giants, "meaning he would
     have to persuade two other clubs to say no."  Rosenberg
     writes, "This is not likely to happen," as Turner "has
     little, if any influence among the game's power brokers." 
     Rockies Chair Jerry McMorris, on today's vote: "It's going
     to be very, very close" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/19).  USA
     TODAY's Hal Bodley writes that "one theory" on Selig's gag
     order is that if the sale is not approved, "public comments
     might be used in litigation" (USA TODAY, 3/19).
          COUNTING THE VOTES: DAILY VARIETY's Ray Richmond writes
     that in addition to the Padres, Cubs and Giants, both the
     Astros and Marlins are "said to be particularly vulnerable
     to Turner's anti-Murdoch venom" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).  But
     in N.Y., Bill Madden writes the Dodgers sale is expected to
     win "overwhelming approval."  One "high-level" MLB official:
     "Do you really think we're going to vote down baseball's
     biggest benefactor?" (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/19). 
          THE QUIET "MOUTH FROM THE SOUTH"? One member who
     attended yesterday's meeting said Turner "made his points
     that he's against [the sale to Murdoch]. ... There were no
     real fireworks.  I've been to far more inflammatory sessions
     than this one."  The session lasted an hour-and-a-half. 
     Owners "will get another chance Thursday to express their
     views" before the sale is put to a vote (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19). 
          CUTTING TO THE CHASE: In L.A., Ross Newhan writes that
     Fox TV CEO Chase Carey, "working at times in conjunction
     with [MLB] lawyers, met throughout the day and evening
     Wednesday with several concerned clubs."  They "agreed to
     small changes ... in the language of the agreement that Fox
     has made with baseball (separate from the sales agreement
     with the Dodgers), strengthening assurances the Murdoch
     organization would protect the Dodger image and abide by all
     baseball regulations, particularly those governing
     international and local telecasts" (L.A. TIMES, 3/19).
          FALLOUT: Turner's appearance in St. Petersburg was
     featured on CNN's "Moneyline" and CNBC's "The Edge," "Market
     Wrap" and "Business Center."  Ladenburg-Thalmann media
     specialist Porter Bibb, who wrote a biography on Turner:
     "Turner and Murdoch have been going at it for quite a long
     time. ... Both of them are very emotional, very competitive
     individuals, and they both respect the fact that of all the
     people in media and entertainment, these are the two guys
     who have taken their businesses globally further and faster
     than anybody else in the world."  CNBC's Garrett Glaser
     reported that Bibb said that "if Turner loses in Florida and
     Murdoch is approved ... a new template of corporate sports
     ownership will be established" ("The Edge," CNBC, 3/18). 
     USA TODAY's cover story profiles Turner and Murdoch, as
     David Lieberman writes the "feud could explode -- and
     possibly have a lasting effect on sports and business -- if
     Turner gets his way" (USA TODAY, 3/19).  In Atlanta, Jeff
     Schultz: "In some ways, the Turner-Murdoch feud has typified
     baseball's infighting for years.  The new owner should fit
     right in" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/19).
 
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