SBJ/July 26 - August 1, 2004/Other News

This week in sports business history: July 26-Aug. 1

1959: The Continental League, a new professional baseball league, is formally announced. The new league claims to have no intentions of becoming a rival to Major League Baseball but hopes to eventually merge with it.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: The new league never got off the ground, but many baseball scholars claim it had a huge impact on professional baseball. In August 1960, the American and National leagues both announced plans to expand into new cities, which many believe was a reaction to the Continental League.

1981: Major League Baseball’s third strike and fifth work stoppage ends after 50 days. The strike, centered on free-agent compensation, causes 712 games to be lost.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: As a result of the strike, owners lost the right to have clubs directly compensated for the loss of free agents. The owners did win the right to retain players for six years and to be compensated with other players as well as amateurs from the draft. Since then, there have been three more MLB work stoppages, including two strikes.

1982: The Atlanta Braves return mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa and his tepee to an elevated platform in the left-field stands of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Team owner Ted Turner had the platform removed so the team could generate more revenue with ticket sales from expected playoff games. After the mascot’s removal, however, the Braves blew a 10-game lead by dropping 19 of 21 games. With the mascot back in place, the team recovers to advance to the NLCS.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Chief Noc-A-Homa lasted a few more seasons before the Braves replaced him with a new mascot.

1986: A New York jury finds the NFL guilty of monopolizing professional football but awards the USFL just $1 in damages (tripled to $3 under antitrust law). The jury rejects the rest of the USFL’s claims. Most important, the jury does not find that the NFL controlled or attempted to control the television market. The jury finds that although the USFL was harmed by the monopolization, most of the league’s problems were the result of its own mismanagement.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: In August of that year, the USFL suspended operations and never played another game.


Clark had a wardrobe malfunction.
U.S. diver Mary Ellen Clark, who won a bronze medal in women’s platform diving, angers U.S. Olympic Committee officials when she forgets to change from a Speedo warm-up into an official USOC-issued Champion warm-up during her Olympic medal ceremony.

1998: A federal judge dismisses Latrell Sprewell’s lawsuit against the NBA, challenging his 68-game suspension for choking his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, and says it was so lacking in merit that Sprewell must pay the league’s court costs. Sprewell, whose original one-year suspension was cut by an arbitrator to the remaining 68 games of the 1997-98 season, claimed in his $30 million suit that the punishment still exceeded the arbitrator’s authority and that he was a victim of racial discrimination.

1998: Three spectators are killed and six more injured when debris from an accident flies into the crowd during the U.S. 500, CART’s marquee event of the season, at Michigan Speedway. The accident occurs when Adrian Fernandez’s car hits a wall, rocketing a wheel and suspension parts over a 15-foot barrier and into the crowd.

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