The International Sports Summit has published the "Sports
Summit Sports Business Directory," an 800-page directory with up-
to-date listings of over 16,000 execs and 7,200 corporate
profiles. The Directory features sports facility information,
along with league and governing body, Olympic and team media
components. For info, call Adam Moss at E.J. Krause & Associates
at (301) 986-7800 (E.J. Krause).
Last night, ESPN aired its season premiere of "Baseball
Tonight," the nightly baseball news and highlights show. With
owners ready to open the season with replacements, the media's
presentation of the sport is being closely watched. Yesterday,
THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with Bob Rauscher, Senior
Coordinating Producer of "Baseball Tonight," about the editorial
decisions they face and their plans for dealing with viewers'
high level of skepticism.
THE DAILY: What is the editorial policy toward showing
replacement baseball highlights on "Baseball Tonight"? Do you
plan any changes from last year's telecast?
RAUSCHER: Right now the policy will be, for lack of a
better phrase, to cover the story. We will show what is
happening in baseball. At the moment, we will show what is
happening with replacement games, what is happening with the
strike negotiations, and what is going on with the players who
are out on strike. Our coverage will cover the entire spectrum
of what is happening in Major League Baseball.
THE DAILY: Is there any pressure for the show to not take
sides? If you show replacement highlights, do you feel that
legitimizes the game and works to the owners advantage?
RAUSCHER: No, I think that we are coming at it as a news
event. There was a game happening and we are showing it. We are
not passing judgment on whether they should be or should not be
played. We just think they are being played. It is obviously a
fine line to make sure our presentation plays it straight.
THE DAILY: When covering plays made in replacement games,
will it be noted that there is a difference in the level of
talent? And, isn't it possible that "Baseball Tonight" could
turn into a nightly bloopers reel?
RAUSCHER: I don't think we want to get into a blooper reel
or a slap-stick presentation that says, 'Wow, look at this string
of poor plays.' On the other hand, I don't think we are going to
be an apologist. If there is a bad play, it is going to be
obvious that it was a bad play. So I think we will work very
hard to find the right balance between an accurate portrayal of
what is happening, and not being too far editorially towards one
side or the other.
THE DAILY: Are people going to watch replacement baseball
and the highlights?
RAUSCHER: We hope they will, since we are doing them. If I
knew that answer I would probably have the strike solved by now.
Our job is to service the viewer. We have promised them baseball
shows, so that is what we will deliver. I am not going to sit
here and say that I think there will be the same interest for the
fans. But again, for fans who are baseball fans and want to keep
up with what is happening in the game, I think we want to
reinforce that we are the source of that type of information.
The goal of "Baseball Tonight" is to be the daily record of what
is happening in baseball. So with that said, I think that is the
approach we have to take. There are things that are out of our
control, we can't worry about them.
THE DAILY: With some outlets not televising games, will
that affect your ability to get highlights?
RAUSCHER: Yes, it will certainly impact our coverage. We
will have to see what games have been cancelled as far as being
broadcast, and we will have to make alternate provisions -- or
cover them ourselves if we deem it necessary to get highlights
THE DAILY: As far as referencing the players, are they
replacment players, major league players or scabs?
RAUSCHER: The phrase "replacements" has been used and there
certainly has been discussion whether that is a management phrase
or not -- although it has become an accepted common phrase out
there. Certainly once the regular season starts, it gets to a
whole other discussion.
IMG and the Bollettieri Sports Academy are forming a new
baseball academy patterned after the Nick Bollettieri Tennis
Academy (NBTA), as well as the new David Leadbetter Junior Golf
Academy and Schulz Soccer Academy, which were established in '94
as part of an expanded Bollettieri Sports Academy. Mickey White,
a former MLB Dir of Scouting among other positions, has been
appointed GM of the Baseball Academy, and longtime NBTA supporter
Adidas has signed on as the Academy's first corporate sponsor
The Sharks promoted DEAN LOMBARDI and CHUCK GRILLO to new
positions. Lombardi is now Exec VP/Dir of Hockey Ops, and Grillo
will be Exec VP/Dir of Player Personnel (Sharks). ....MONICA
SELES has turned down an invitation from BILLIE JEAN KING to
compete in the first round of the Fed Cup in April. King spoke
to Seles who told her that "she doesn't know if she will ever
play tennis again" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/24)....Acting MLB
Commissioner BUD SELIG said he opposes lifting PETE ROSE's ban
from baseball: "BART GIAMATTI was one of the best friends I've
ever had in the world, and I have great faith in his decision.
His decision still stands, and as far as I'm concerned his
decision should stand" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/24).
The development of golf-phenom TIGER WOODS is featured in
the latest issue of SI. Writer Rick Reilly, on the plan to make
the multi-ethnic Tiger into golf's next superstar: "The plan is
for Tiger to knock down flags, not carry them. So [father] Earl
tells his son one rule: 'When you're in America, be black. When
you're in the Orient, be Asian.'" Riley, on Woods' earning
potential: "The standard estimate of his value in the
endorsement world is in the tens of millions of dollars, and
that's just the beginning." Woods: "I don't want to be the best
black golfer ever. I want to be the best golfer ever" (SI, 3/27