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Hurricane Ike Forces Cubs-
Astros Series To Milwaukee
NO OTHER OPTIONS: McLane: "With all the devastation of the hurricane and because most people have been without power, we just felt that it was improper to be playing baseball [Sunday] or Monday (in Houston)." In Houston, Jose De Jesus Ortiz noted "several neutral sites were considered, including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Cincinnati." McLane: "Give credit to [Selig]. He hammered it out." Ortiz reported the "finale of the three-game series will be Sept. 29 at Minute Maid Park if it's needed to determine" the NL Central or NL Wild Card races. Meanwhile, Minute Maid Park "survived Hurricane Ike with only minor water damage," and the stadium is "ready for use whenever it's safe to play a game downtown." McLane: "It just shows how well that stadium is designed. It came through in great shape" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/14).
WAITING TOO LATE? In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reported McLane until Saturday afternoon had "steadfastly refused to concede that playing games in a hurricane-ravaged area was unfeasible, insisting the Astros deserved to keep their home-field advantage" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/14). ESPN’s Buster Olney noted McLane "has gotten some criticism for not agreeing to move this series to a different place before the weekend” (“Mike and Mike in the Morning, ESPN2, 9/15).
Miller Park Crowd Chants Zambrano's Name
As He Neared Conclusion Of No-Hitter
Ashley Confirms Plans To Sell Newcastle United
POTENTIAL SUITORS: In London, Rob Stewart reports Newcastle VP Tony Jimenez has "flown to the Middle East to spearhead Ashley's attempts to off-load the club." Dubai Int'l Capital (DIC), which has attempted to buy EPL club Liverpool, "will only be interested in taking the club off [Ashley's] hands at a knock-down price." And Indian businessman Anil Ambani has "publicly ended his interest after failing to get a response from the club" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/15). In Manchester, Louise Taylor reports it is "understood that Ashley tried to make contact with representatives of [DIC] last week." Meanwhile, another possible buyer is Chinese property developer Xu Rongmao, who is "seemingly keen to exploit" Newcastle's stadium grounds by "redeveloping the high-value land around the ground" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 9/15). The TELEGRAPH's Stewart notes other possibilities include Microsoft Chair Bill Gates and former Newcastle Chair Freddy Shepherd, who was banned from the team's stadium under Ashley but "last night claimed he had been approached by two separate consortia to spearhead a takeover" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/15).
Liverpool Fans Hoping Gillette, Hicks
Become Next Owners To Sell Team
AMERICAN FLAVOR: The trend of Americans buying EPL teams was examined by the N.Y. TIMES' PLAY magazine's Joe Nocera, who notes in addition to Hicks and Gillett, Buccaneers Owners the Glazer family owns Manchester United, Browns Owner Randy Lerner owns Aston Villa, and Nuggets and Avalanche Owner Stan Kroenke owns 12% of EPL club Arsenal. Nocera writes Americans have "become fixated on" the EPL partly because "soccer is the most global sport with the greatest reach," and partly because "they think they can make more money there than they can in American leagues like the NFL or the NBA." But the appeal is "mainly because, to a surprising degree, they can act far more like old-fashioned two-fisted capitalists in England than they can" in the U.S. The EPL does not have a salary cap like the NFL and NBA do, and in the U.S., "there are limits on how much teams can market themselves outside the umbrella of the league; the [EPL] has far fewer restrictions" (PLAY, 9/ '08 issue).
Predators Owner Confident That Team Can
Top Attendance Benchmark For Revenue Sharing