BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 166: SEASON TICKETS ON PACE
To date, a total of 70.86% of major league season ticket
holders have renewed their tickets for '95, according to a
release by MLB's office of the Commissioner. The figures reflect
renewals through January 13, 1995. It is the first time MLB has
tracked season ticket renewals while sales were in progress. Of
the 28 clubs, 10 have a renewal rate of 80% or higher; four teams
had at least 90% (MLB).
EXPANSION UPDATE: "Confident their recommendation to add
teams is headed for prompt approval by the owners," members of
MLB's expansion committee are now planning to discuss specifics
such as price and league assignments for the new franchises,
according to this morning's ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The committee,
which hired a consultant to help determine the fee, reportedly is
considering a price range of $125-150M. Tampa Bay expansion head
Vince Naimoli said if the price exceeded what he considered to be
fair, he would ask community leaders for financial assistance.
While some had speculated that a Tampa Bay franchise would most
likely be placed in the AL so as not to give the NL a monopoly on
FL, Phillies President Bill Giles said that "theory might not be
well-founded." Some in the league see a Tampa Bay-Florida-
Atlanta rivalry as appealing (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 1/24).
In No. VA, Bart Fisher who heads what is perceived as the weaker
of the two Northern Virginia, claimed that the fact his group has
a majority of African-American investors affected the committee's
attitude toward his presentation. Currently, none of the 28
clubs is minority-owned (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/24).
THE ANGELOS FIGHT: AL President Gene Budig and Orioles
Owner Peter Angelos spoke by phone yesterday. Angelos said the
conversation was "cordial," but he declined to "elaborate on very
much" of it (WASHINGTON POST, 1/24).
MELTDOWN: According to agents of two large player
representation firms, the MLBPA will lift the player signing
freeze by February 1 (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/24).
REPLACEMENTS: The Dodgers and Angels will permit their
managers and coaches to work with replacements during spring
training and, if necessary, the regular season (Bob Nightengale,
L.A. TIMES, 1/24). GMs are reportedly floating a proposal to ask
the MLBPA for an exemption to allow teams to use minor leaguers
that are presently on 40-man rosters at the minor league level
this season. Blue Jays GM Gord Ash, "doesn't believe it will
fly" (TORONTO STAR, 1/24).