WARNER DENIES "GUARANTEE" FOR NORTHERN VA TEAM
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).