ATLANTA -- OWNER WITH A HEART: Braves Owner Ted Turner said
the players are bound to break first: "They won't come back all
at once, but some of the players will need the money. They
aren't as rich as we are. We'll outlast 'em." Turner went on to
refer to his star Greg Maddux as "that fellow who keeps winning
Cy Youngs" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24). BOSTON -- GOOD FIELD, NO
POWER: Myles Calvey, business manager at the Int'l Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers Union Local 2222: "We don't support scabs.
So, if they have any problems with telephones at Fenway Park, we
won't fix it." Red Sox Dir of Marketing Larry Cancro: "All we
can do is make contingency plans as best we can and try to serve
the fans" (Diane Lewis, BOSTON GLOBE, 2/23).
CHICAGO -- JORDAN RULES: Michael Jordan won't play in
exhibition games, but he still expresses sympathy for minor-
league colleagues: "I don't care who you are or how big you are
in the major leagues, you've got these little people down here
feeling the brunt of what's happening up there. There's got to
be some sensitivity to that. Don't put them in the middle of an
ego fight" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/24).
CINCINNATI -- "NO-WIN SITUATION": ESPN profiled how the
Reds are dealing with the minor league issue. Reds GM Jim
Bowden: "If Mr. Fehr is going to stoop to the level to try to
have these minor leaguer kids not play I think it is mean
spirited, I think it is unfair, I think it is unjust." Former
Player Rep/Reds Coach Ray Knight: "I don't think these young kids
should be punished. ... It is a no-win situation for them, it
really is." Former major leaguer Kurt Stillwell, who is in the
Reds camp: "There are a lot of organizations out there. There
is only one union. It is a tough situation" ("SportsCenter,"
DETROIT -- SKITTISH SPONSORS: Mike Feeney, GM of WJR, the
Tigers' radio partner, said many sponsors "are concerned over
what replacement baseball will mean and what the ratings will be.
So I think it's fair to say that we're flexible in negotiating
with all of our sponsors at this point" (Steve Crowe, DETROIT
FREE PRESS, 2/24).
MONTREAL -- GOV'T TO OK GAMES: Canadian Federal immigration
rules will be changed to allow the Expos to use replacement
players. "Citing unnamed sources, the CBC said the Liberal
government wants to avoid losing the team and its economic
benefits during a year when Quebec is holding a referendum on
separating from Canada" (TORONTO SUN, 2/24).
NEW YORK -- YANKS' WAY OR HIGHWAY: The Yankees sent home
three minor-leaguers who refused to play in spring games.
Yankees AA pitcher Brian Faw: "A lot of the time, the small guy
gets used" (Jack Curry, N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).
ST. LOUIS -- MR. NICE GUY: Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty has
not threatened to send any minor-leaguers home if they don't
play, but says: "I wanted to make it very clear to the kids that
we're going to support them and back them. But they also have to
remember they have to support us and back us" (Rick Hummel, ST.
LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/24).
SAN FRANCISCO -- NO DECISION: Giants officials still have
not decided whether they ask minor leaguers to play in major
league exhibition games. An AP survey shows that 2/3 of minor
leaguers around the league say they will boycott spring
replacement games (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/24).
The prospects of NBA officials facing punishment for tax
evasion, as first reports in the February 12 Portland OREGONIAN,
has NBA executives worried, according to the current issue of
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. "Even a resolution that stopped short of
criminal charges would be enough to give the NBA the heebee-
jeebies. No sports league, pro or college wants even the
appearance that its game officials are under any kind of
financial pressure. 'The job of refereeing is tough enough
without any of this,' one league official said last week. 'We
worry about the integrity of the game, and we worry about
maintaining the appearance of integrity'" ("Scorecard," SPORTS
ILLUSTRATED, 2/27 issue).
Although no "expansion plan exists, and no timetable is
certain, everyone expects the NHL will go west again," according
to Kevin Allen in today's USA TODAY. Among topics that Allen
discusses in the piece: the leading cities in the west who
appear to be "early front-runners" for teams (Denver, Phoenix and
Portland), the concern of the "quality of talent pool" for new
teams, and a conflict with the IHL that "appears inevitable." On
the IHL, which has teams in cities where the NHL may expand,
Whalers GM Jim Rutherford: "They didn't have any concern about
putting teams outside Detroit and Chicago. Why should we be
concerned about going into Denver, Phoenix or Atlanta" (USA
MINORS FLOURISH: The popularity of the ECHL and other minor
hockey leagues is examined by Stefan Fatsis in this morning's
WALL STREET JOURNAL. With franchises No. 20 and 21 due next
season and "at least six more by 1998," Fatsis says the ECHL "may
be the fastest-growing league in professional sports history. ...
The minors in general have come a long way from the brawl-a-
minute games depicted in the 1977 movie 'Slapshot'" (WALL STREET
CONGRATS, MICK E.: The IHL Minnesota Moose logo "has been
rated No. 1 in all of minor league hockey" by THE HOCKEY NEWS.
According to staff writer Michael Ulmer, "Mick E. Moose is
clearly the logo of the '90's. ... The Moose won because they
managed to create a figure which is entrancing and assertive
without being obnoxious." The logo has been so popular that
merchandise "sold in the arena and in their specialty stores" has
already surpassed the $1.4M mark (Dan Barreiro, Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 2/22). Moose Dir of Public Relations Joanie St. Peter:
"Obviously it's a big honor. We're very excitied about it" (THE
VA Senator John Warner said his staff director was wrong
when he said Warner "would not support efforts to repeal
baseball's antitrust exemption because Northern Virginia had been
offered an expansion team." Grayson Winterling told the
WASHINGTON POST yesterday that MLB expansion committee Chair John
Harrington offered Warner a team if the Senator would not join
the fight to eliminate the antitrust exemption. Warner said "he
does not support repeal of the antitrust exemption, but bristled
at Winterling's statement he had been 'bought.'" Warner:
"Regrettably, my staff person unintentionally misspoke" (Joe
Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/24). FL Senator Bob Graham said
yesterday that Warner's "episode demonstrates the need to lift
the antitrust exemption, so baseball can't act like a 'cartel'
and use promises of teams to protect its interests in Congress"
(Topkin & Dahl, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/24). CNN's Bob Lorenz
said the MLB Expansion Committee also denied the report Northern
VA had been promised a team in exchange for Warner's vote
("Sports Tonight," CNN, 2/23).
MACK SAYS EXPANSION CLOSE: FL Senator Connie Mack said
yesterday that he believes the Tampa Bay area will receive an
expansion team. Mack: "My conversations with representatives of
Major League Baseball lead me to conclude we're going to be happy
with their announcement on expansion." Two expansion teams could
be rewarded at a March 7-9 owners meeting in Palm Beach, FL
(Topkin & Dahl, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/24). USA TODAY's Hal
Bodley reports owners have decided to give Phoenix and St.
Petersburg teams for '98, but are wrestling with the cost of
entry and how TV and licencing revenue will be distributed to the
new clubs (USA TODAY, 2/24). Unofficially, the top two vote
getters among the 7,000 names submitted in Tampa Bay's name-the-
team contest are Tampa Bay Pelicans and Tampa Bay Manatees.
Majority Owner Vince Namoli and minority owners will have the
final say on a name (Bob Chick, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/24).