SBD/17/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              Baseball's popularity "is soaring" as Mark McGwire and
         Sammy Sosa set HR records, according to a CNN/USA TODAY/
         Gallup Poll, as reported by Mel Antonen of USA TODAY.  The
         poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, shows that 63% of the
         1,082 surveyed said they are "a fan or somewhat of a fan" of
         pro baseball -- an increase of 19% since a similar poll
         taken in June.  McGwire: "The best part about the home run
         chase is that it is bringing fans back to the ballpark. 
         It's good for baseball."  The 63% is the highest since the
         poll began tracking MLB's popularity in February '93.  The
         previous high, 55%, was in August '94, before the strike. 
         The low was 41% in April '95, when replacement players were
         playing in exhibition games (Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, 9/17).
              ALL TIED UP: Sosa hit his 63rd HR last night, tying him
         with McGwire.  Sosa's Cubs played the Padres in front of
         49,981 at Qualcomm Stadium, while McGwire's Cardinals played
         the Pirates in front of 39,758 at Busch Stadium (THE DAILY).
              HR RACE? In N.Y., Murray Chass writes on the suggestion
         that MLB "slighted" Sosa "in its treatment of him" during
         the HR chase, and that Sosa's race "is the reason."  Tom
         Reich, who, along with partner Adam Katz, reps Sosa: "Sammy
         doesn't perceive it that way and neither do we.  The
         attention that has been given to Sammy has been tremendous." 
         MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that he "had received some
         calls from fans who said they thought Sosa had been
         slighted."  Selig: "I explained it to them and they were
         satisfied."  Selig said that both McGwire and Sosa will be
         honored during the World Series, no matter who ends up with
         the HR record (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).
              ALL FOR A BALL? John Grass, the 46-year-old who caught
         McGwire's No. 63, presented the Cardinals with "a list of
         more than 30 items he wanted in exchange for the ball,"
         including a trip to spring training, a chance for him and
         his son to throw out first pitches at Cards games, and items
         autographed by McGwire and Stan Musial.  The list was
         forwarded to Cards Principal Owner Bill DeWitt, but GM Walt
         Jocketty said that the ball "is not worth that."  Jocketty:
         "Unless it's the last one that Mark hits, I don't think it's
         worth that much" (Ric Bucher, WASHINGTON POST, 9/17).
              STATION ID: In Chicago, Jim Kirk writes to look for
         Cubs TV carriers, including WGN, "to carry more identifying
         logos ... in the corner of the screen" for every Sosa AB. 
         Enough sports outlets "have been poaching live footage of
         Sosa's at-bats that Cubs' executives have suggested that
         outlets identify the footage" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/17).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Chicago Cubs, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres

              NHL: The NHL awarded its 2000 All-Star Weekend to
         Toronto.  The 50th All-Star Game will be held at the new Air
         Canada Centre (NHL).  In Toronto, Lance Hornby writes that
         Maple Leaf Gardens "likely will be used" for the Heroes of
         Hockey old-timers game and the skills competition, while the
         National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place will host NHL fan
         events and other functions (TORONTO SUN, 9/17)....In L.A.,
         Karen Crouse writes under the header "Penalty on Union:
         Brainwashing Blake," noting that unsigned Kings D Rob Blake
         "has been kidnapped ... by an increasingly militant group
         called the NHLPA."  Crouse: "The Rob Blake we know never
         would have let his position as [VP] of the NHLPA supersede
         his loyalty to the Kings. ... The Rob Blake we know wouldn't
         have been among the more than 100 restricted free agents who
         remain unsigned. ... If they're smart, the Kings won't let
         the NHLPA hold their season ransom" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/17).
         ...Penguins C Petr Nedved, beginning his second year as a
         holdout from the Pens, reached a contract agreement with the
         IHL Las Vegas Thunder.  Nedved is expected to sign the deal
         upon his arrival in Las Vegas on Monday (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-
         JOURNAL, 9/17).  IHL President & CEO Doug Moss is "working
         hard to improve" relations between the IHL and the NHL, but
         "fears" that deals like this "would hurt the relationship." 
         Thunder GM Bob Strumm said Nedved's return is "not about
         money."  Strumm: "In no way, shape or form would what we
         might be able to offer at this level compete in any way with
         what he could make in the NHL.  All we would be able to
         provide is hockey" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/15).
              NOTES: The Broncos "have accepted the NFL's request" to
         play a preseason game next August in Sydney, Australia. 
         Their opponent will be the Chargers, whose punter, Darren
         Bennett, is Australian (CO Springs GAZETTE-TELEGRAPH, 9/17).
         ...The three-game WNBA Brazil Tour '98, which will feature a
         team of WNBA All-Stars, is a joint effort of the league and
         the Confederao Brasileira de Basquete, and will include
         youth programs and appearances designed to increase
         basketball awareness.  The first game is September 29 (W.H.
         Stickney, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/17). 

    Print | Tags: Dallas Stars, Denver Broncos, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Diego Chargers, WNBA

              "Both parties are at fault," according to Dave
         D'Alessandro of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who offers his
         "solution" to the NBA's labor woes.  D'Alessandro writes
         that the players' "main problem is that they are mesmerized
         by the misguided notion that fiscal stupidity should be the
         basis of fair market value."  The owners, meanwhile, say
         that the players earned 58% of all basketball-related income
         (BRI) last year, but "what they don't tell you is that the
         BRI includes only" 40% of luxury-box income, 40% of signage,
         none of the revenue from NBA theme stores "that exploit the
         players' names, and none of the naming-rights revenue on
         arenas."  D'Alessandro: "The only logical solution is to
         keep the present system but find a way to restrict annual
         increases."  D'Alessandro suggests a "graduated raise
         system," in which "the annual increases in the standard
         contract is contingent on the base salary," and "profit
         sharing" of revenue sources such as gate and signage.  He
         also suggests a new rookie scale whereby picks 1-10 are
         "bound" to five-year contracts, picks 11-20 for four years,
         21-29 for three years, with all becoming unrestricted free
         agents when their contracts expire.  D'Alessandro, noting
         that the NBA's last proposal to the union included a minimum
         salary of $350,000, with an extra $50,000 per season after
         five years of service: "The union should take the money and
         run, but not before asking for the $50,000 raises to kick in
         after two years" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/17).  
              PLAYERS FRUSTRATED, BUT UNITED: Sonics player rep Vin
         Baker: "This is definitely discouraging.  We can come to an
         agreement to make this thing work.  There has to be a happy
         medium. ... If we lock out for a long time, and if Michael
         Jordan retires, those are significant things that could
         really put us a big step back" (Portland OREGONIAN, 9/15). 
         Raptors rep Dee Brown: "We might have a shortened training
         camp, a few pre-season games, but I'm optimistic we won't
         miss any regular-season games" (TORONTO SUN, 9/16).  Pacers
         F Chris Mullin: "From what I've heard, it doesn't look like
         training camp will start on time.  After that, who knows?" 
         Pacers G Fred Hoiberg: "We just have to stay positive and
         stay together.  If the guaranteed players do get paid, there
         can't be any jealousy" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 9/16). 
         Rockets C Hakeem Olajuwon: "It's sad.  Both sides know
         there's so much at stake" (AP/S.A. EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/16). 
         Grizzlies F Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "This is something you
         think would happen more to truck drivers or pilots.  In
         professional sports, you wouldn't think this would be going
         on. ... As players, we have to put up the best deal, but
         hopefully we can do a deal where both sides are comfortable"
         (Vancouver PROVINCE, 9/15).  Warriors rookie Antawn Jamison,
         on coming out of college early: "Honestly, I don't regret
         (my decision) at all. ... I definitely didn't think it would
         last this long and be this serious.  I thought everything
         would be fixed by now.  At most, I thought we'd miss a
         couple of days of training camp.  But I didn't know it would
         be this much of a headache" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/17).
              MOVING CAMP: In Toronto, Frank Zicarelli reports that
         NBA teams "have been put on official notice to seek
         alternative training camp sites" (TORONTO SUN, 9/17).

    Print | Tags: Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
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