SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies


          The state of MLB was the subject of one segment on
     ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," as ESPN's Mitch Albom said,
     "Baseball has been in the news in the spring more than I can
     remember in any other spring.  Some of it has been good ...
     and some of it has been bad."  ESPN's Bill Conlin: "I tell
     people, 'Hey, stop talking about the golden age, we're in
     it.'"  ESPN's Mike Lupica: "Even at its lowest points after
     the strike millions of people go to see this sport in this
     country.  Does it always translate into network television
     ratings?  No, it doesn't.  Does that mean it's still not a
     big-time sport?  It's a huge sport in this country. ... In
     New York, Chicago, Southern California -- all over the map -
     - baseball is getting up off the canvas, and you can't
     ignore it."  But Albom stressed, "You can't deny that
     there's also this big negative kick that baseball still
     hasn't gotten over. ... There's a lot of major problems with
     the game.  If it's getting off the canvas it's still
     reeling, particularly with younger fans" (ESPN, 5/31).
          MORE MLB: NEWSDAY's Rob Parker wrote under the header,
     "There's A Buzz About Baseball."  Parker: "Baseball is alive
     and well.  Fans are interested in the game again" (NEWSDAY,
     5/31).  Story lines such as Mark McGwire's pursuit of MLB's
     single-season home-run record and the emergence of Cubs P
     Kerry Wood were the focus of multiple media hits over the
     weekend in addition to a USA TODAY sports cover story on
     Monday.  In Charlotte, Stan Olson wrote that McGwire "may be
     in the process of surpassing Michael Jordan as the greatest
     spectacle in sport" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/31).  In L.A.,
     Ross Newhan called McGwire "mania ... a high-wattage asset"
     (L.A. TIMES, 5/31).  Mike Lupica said McGwire "is leading a
     charge that has put baseball for April and May back in the
     front of everybody's consciousness" ("The Sports Reporters,"
     ESPN, 5/31).  But in N.Y., Joel Sherman wrote that MLB is
     "wasting a truly unique resource" by not promoting its trio
     of young SS stars in the AL, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and
     Nomar Garciaparra.  MLB "should be mounting a substantial
     advertising campaign through these three photogenic,
     intelligent, skilled players" (N.Y. POST, 5/31).

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