SBD/21/Franchises

DADDY WARBUCKS: VINCE PIAZZA CONSIDERING JOINING MARLINS BID

          Vince Piazza, the father of Mike Piazza, is considering
     joining Don Smiley's investment group trying to buy the
     Marlins, according to Mike Berardino of the Fort Lauderdale
     SUN-SENTINEL.  The elder Piazza said this week that he has
     had "preliminary discussions" with Smiley.  But Smiley
     downplayed Piazza's interest yesterday, saying, "I haven't
     talked to Vince in a long, long time.  I can't say any more
     than that."  In '92, Piazza and Philadelphia-area business
     exec Vincent Tirendi were part of a group led by Vince
     Naimoli that wanted to buy the Giants and move them to St.
     Petersburg.  The sale was blocked, and Piazza and Tirendi
     filed a defamation and antitrust lawsuit against MLB that
     was settled out of court in '94 (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/21).
          THE WORST OF TIMES: In the Marlins' first home game
     since Friday's trade, "just" 17,560 attended last night's
     game against the D'Backs.  Two "particularly displeased fans
     were removed from the stands for wearing paper bags on their
     heads."  One bag read "Trade me next."  The other, "From
     champs to chumps" (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/21)....The Marlins have
     changed Sunday's giveaway: a Charles Johnson collector's
     card.  Instead of fans being given the card by ushers upon
     entering the stadium, tables will be set up throughout the
     concourse where they can pick up the card of the former
     Marlins C (Clark Spencer, MIAMI HERALD, 5/21).
          BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: Marlins C Mike Piazza took
     out a quarter-page ad in yesterday's sports section of the
     L.A. Times thanking Dodgers fans.  A display ad of that size
     runs $18,898.  The ad read: "An Open Letter to Dodger Fans 
     -- It's never easy to say goodbye.  But from the bottom of
     my heart, I want to thank you for the overwhelming support
     you have shown during my years in Los Angeles.  I leave with
     nothing but great memories and deep appreciation. 
     Sincerely, Mike Piazza" (AP/N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/21).  Piazza
     spoke to the L.A. TIMES' T.J. Simers yesterday in Miami
     about the trade.  Asked if the trade would have happened had
     Peter O'Malley not sold the Dodgers: "In my opinion, no, it
     wouldn't have happened" (L.A. TIMES, 5/21). 
          OH, NO, IT'S MR. BILL: Bill Murray was on "Up Close"
     where he called the Marlins situation "just a terrible thing
     for the people down there, and for all the players." 
     Murray, on Marlins ownership: "You know, if you're not ready
     to have pets, don't get them" (ESPN, 5/20).

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