UBL LOOKING TO START IN '96, BUT STILL LACKS ESSENTIALS
In Washington, Leonard Shapiro examines the state of theUnited Baseball League and writes that with less than a year togo before they begin play, UBL organizers "have yet to announcethe identity of a single franchise owner, club executive orplayer, let alone what stadiums they've secured and whcihtelevision entities -- if any -- will broadcast their games."UBL co-founder Robert Mrazek, who promises details "in due time":"I don't want to sound as if we're bewildered or befuddledbecause we're not. We're making progress. It's do or die for usin '96. We think the opportunity is there. We have an abundanceof solid, serious investors. We'll be able to hire major leagueplayers. The most difficult problem is with stadiums." Shapironotes, "With the new TV networks being formed by Paramount andTime Warner, with CBS out of the NFL, NBA, and major leaguebaseball picture and with a 500-channel cable universe a virtualcertainty, UBL officials are confident they can provideattractive programming." Agent Leigh Steinberg believes thatcable outlets and some networks will be interested, but adds,"The key is do they have adequate money to cover their losses andhave enough deep-pocketed owners who won't panic?" (WASHINGTONPOST, 5/20). VIRGINIA BASEBALL THREATENED BY UBL? Virginia Baseballofficials are reportedly "working behind the scenes, trying toget where St. Petersburg was in the most recent major leaguebaseball expansion process -- in a secured position to be awardedthe next team." The group is also pursuing the possibility ofluring an existing team to the area. If that happens, RFKStadium would be used as a temporary home until a new stadium isbuilt. But RFK officials have been involved in negotiations withthe UBL, which hopes to lease the stadium for its Washingtonfranchise. Privately, DC officials "acknowledge that the bestchance to bring baseball back to the Washington area is throughVirginia Baseball, and they will be reluctant to make a deal"with the UBL if it endangers Virginia Baseball's chances ofbringing a franchise to the Washington area. DC SportsCommission Dir Jim Dalrymple said he has had little contactrecently with the UBL: "There's nothing really moving on thatfront" (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/20).