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MLB COO Paul Beeston was interviewed by MSG's Jim Kaat and Ken Singleton during a rain delay at last night's Yankees-Angels opener. Beeston, on MLB's plans for an international competition: "We want to get to either a World Cup or get in an Olympics or get some type of a competition. I think the players want it. I think the international baseball people want it. I think we want it, and the game has such an international component to it right now, I think it's going to be very exciting." Beeston, on whether MLB would shut down its season for the Olympics: "I don't think it can. ... We can't start too much earlier than we do now, and we can't go too much later." Beeston, on MLB's commissioner search: "At the very end of the day, what we're going to find is a group that will come together that will take it forward but you still have to have that one person. ... We're not in that bad shape right now." Beeston, when asked why Selig doesn't just take the commissioner's job: "Maybe that's what will happen" (MSG Network, 4/1).
NFL: SI's Peter King writes, "Eyebrows were raised on NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's five-year, $25-million contract extension, through 2005." He notes that Tagliabue will make less than NBA Commissioner David Stern; $5M a year is "exactly one-fifth of one percent" of the new annual TV contract; and it's "not like the NFL has stock options or some other executive perk to hand Tagliabue." But King says, "Five million per seems eminently fair" (SI, 4/6). WNBA: The WNBA has increased player salaries, as those who played in its inaugural season will see a 25% increase. The salary for first-year players will be determined "by when they are picked in the draft." The first three draft picks will earn a base salary of $50,000, up from $37,000 last year. Salaries will then scale down by draft position to $19,000 for a player picked in the fourth round and $15,000 to those picked after that (USA TODAY, 4/2).
Opening-day MLB club payrolls, based on this season's salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses for players on the 25-man rosters and the DL, are listed by Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. These numbers differ from figures cited in the 3/27 issue of THE DAILY from the Players Relations Committee, which includes the salaries of all players on the 40-man roster, bonuses and benefits. The following numbers include information on a team's 25-man roster (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2). USA TODAY also lists each team's payroll and complete individual player salaries (USA TODAY, 4/2):
TEAMPAYROLLTEAMPAYROLL ORIOLES$70,408,134 GIANTS$40,320,833 YANKEES$63,159,901 ANGELS$38,537,000 BRAVES$59,536,000 WHITE SOX$36,840,000 INDIANS$58,433,500 PHILLIES$34,370,000 RANGERS$54,704,595 MARLINS$33,434,000 CARDINALS$52,572,500 ROYALS$32,962,500 MARINERS$52,132,291 BREWERS$32,072,584 RED SOX$51,647,000 DIAMONDBACKS$30,266,500 METS$49,859,667 TWINS$26,537,500 CUBS$49,383,000 DEVIL RAYS$25,112,500 BLUE JAYS$48,416,000 TIGERS$22,725,000 DODGERS$47,470,000 REDS$21,995,000 ROCKIES$47,433,334 ATHLETICS$20,008,000 PADRES$45,368,000 PIRATES$13,752,000 ASTROS$40,629,000 EXPOS$9,202,000
NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter is profiled by USA TODAY's Roscoe Nance as part of the "In Focus" section on the NBA's labor negotiations. Hunter: "I know how to brawl. I don't relish a fight. I don't want to fight if I don't have to. If we can reach some agreement that we think is fair and we don't have to take a step back on, a fight can be avoided. But we're prepared to fight" (USA TODAY, 4/2). Nance also details the looming issues in the labor talks and calls the Larry Bird exception (where teams can re-sign their own players by going over the salary cap) the "key issue." Altering the Bird exception is the "most likely method for owners to gain the fiscal relief they're seeking (USA TODAY, 4/2). Bird said the exception has "sort of ruined the league, hasn't it?" But he adds, "That's one thing that if I was a player, I wouldn't give up" (USA TODAY, 4/2).