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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues Governing Bodies

     Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA Exec Dir Don
Fehr are scheduled to meet in Texas today, "but neither man would
predict today whether they'll emerge from their meeting with a
negotiating session scheduled between the team owners and major
league players," according to Mark Maske in today's WASHINGTON
POST.  The owners' negotiating committee met on Monday.  Some
owners are lobbying for a return to the salary cap, but Maske
reports that sources say that is unlikely.  Selig reportedly also
will suggest that talks take place "in a lower-profile manner
than they did the last time around" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/11).  Red
Sox CEO John Harrington said the owners have a "strong consensus"
on the proposal they intend to make (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/11).
     A LOOK BACK:  Also in today's POST, Mark Maske retraces the
recent labor talks.  The owners "can't agree on whom to blame for
their humbling failure," but, "for all their mistakes, the owners
still may claim a victory" -- in the form of a luxury tax
(WASHINGTON POST, 7/11).
     RATINGS WATCH:  Richard Sandomir notes that the MLB All-Star
Game outdraws all other sports' all-star games, but asks, "Will
the game's Nielsen rating approach last year's pre-strike 15.7?
Will it drop by as much as baseball's 20 percent attendance
decline?" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11).  ABC's Mark Mandel:  "At this
point, our only worry is putting a great production on air.
Whether people watch is not our concern anymore" (Mike Bruton,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/11).
     COMMISH NEEDED:  TX Gov. George W. Bush, a co-owner of the
Rangers:  "What is needed is a truly independent commissioner who
can stand up and restore the confidence of the game."  Bush, who
said he likes Selig:  "We need a commissioner with strategic
vision, and you can't own a team and run the game" (Bill Madden,
N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/11).  In Fort Worth, Simon Gonzalez writes,
"Instead of a tough, independent commissioner guiding the game
through these troubled waters, the seat of power resides in
Milwaukee, a city that symbolizes everything that is wrong with
baseball."  Selig:  "I happen to believe that we need a
commissioner.  But more importantly, we need a system that a
commissioner can survive under" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/11).
Selig told USA TODAY that there has been no change in the owners'
philosophy that there has to be a labor agreement before there is
a new commissioner (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 7/11).  Nolan Ryan
proposed a commissioner paid equally by owners and the MLBPA, but
he added that he had no interest in holding such a position (Mike
Dodd, USA TODAY, 7/11).  During ESPN's "Baseball Roundtable,"
Ryan reiterated his call for "a commissioner that does what's
best for the interest of the game."  Tony Gwynn, on the drop in
attendance:  "I think the fans need to see that both sides are
trying to get something done.  You know, having a commissioner
would help immensely" (ESPN, 7/10).
     JUST DO IT:  ESPN's Peter Gammons argued that MLB's problems
were "to the point where the players need to step forward and say
'OK, the owners can't run this game and we've got some ideas.'"
Commenting on the worldwide growth of baseball and the need to
strengthen domestic marketing, Gammons said if the owners don't
want to invest in the game, "then the players association may go
out and do it. ... It's always been my belief that players care
much more about this sport than the average fan realizes"
("Baseball Roundtable," ESPN, 7/10).  Earlier, Gammons said some
players were saying, "Look, we've got to convince ourselves no
more money for promotions.  Let's try to get the game back on
track, we're tired of being bashed by the media, tired of being
bashed by fans.  Look around this room ... we have a lot to sell"
("Sports Center," ESPN, 7/10).

     Media reflection on the State of Baseball at the All-Star
break continues:
     ADVERTISING AGE'S JEFF JENSEN, noting the failure of TBN:
"Now, sports marketing and media experts are trying to price MLB,
and their appraisals are indicative of just how beaten up
baseball is" (AD AGE, 7/10 issue).
     BOSTON GLOBE'S LARRY WHITESIDE:  "What is the state of major
league baseball?  Don't ask. ... Nobody can say for sure if this
is the end of an era or just a rough bump in the road" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 7/11).
     BOSTON HERALD'S STEVE BUCKLEY, to fans who left:  "I am here
to say baseball is every bit as exciting as you remember it. ...
Baseball lives" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/11).
     DALLAS MORNING NEWS' CATHY HARASTA:  "The game would do
anything for a quick fix, but the All-Star Game must settle for
being just a diversion" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/11).
     HOUSTON CHRONICLE'S ED FOWLER, who argues that a new CBA is
needed first:  "In the meantime, a new wrinkle might be
considered, and this message comes to you from a traditionalists.
... But what in thunderation is wrong with the Cubs playing the
White Sox" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/11).
     L.A. TIMES' ALAN MALAUMD:  "Only time can ease the
alienation that many former fans now feel for baseball.  But even
that may prove an inadequate cure" (L.A. TIMES, 7/11).
     NEW YORK POST'S JAY GREENBERG:  "The game needs new fans
before it needs new stadiums.  It needs a collective bargaining
agreement with the family just as badly as its needs one between
owners and players.  The ball is rolling up the gap -- the
generation gap" (N.Y. POST, 7/11).
     NEW YORK TIMES' MURRAY CHASS, noting that baseball has
already drawn 23.3 million, more than the other major sports:
"Baseball will always outdraw the other sports because of more
games and/or larger seating capacities?  That's true, but it
doesn't render meaningless the simple fact that more people watch
baseball than any other sport, even in the worst of times" (N.Y.
TIMES, 7/11).
     SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE'S C.W. NEVIUS:  "Baseball is facing
the greatest crisis in the history of the grand old game.
Luckily, the finest minds in the sport are up to the task.  They
have announced that they are raising the pitching mound three
inches.  There, that should fix everything" (SAN FRANCISCO
CHRONICLE, 7/11).
     WASHINGTON TIMES' TOM KNOTT recalls a 1969 Washington Daily
News header when the game was at RFK:  "Will Youth Rediscover the
Ol' Ball Game?" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/11).
     CNN'S SPORTS TONIGHT:  CNN's Bob Lorenz also examined the
status of baseball.  MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr:  "Clearly there
has to be reassurance given to the fans that the kinds of off-
the-field difficulties that have plagued us for the past two
years are not going to be something with which they ought to have
any concern.  And that's going to take some work."  Paul White,
Editor of USA TODAY's BASEBALL WEEKLY:  "The people who are in
the game have got to sell it and I think they can't sell it until
they get their own house in order" (CNN, 7/10).

     No one player, manager or owner got the same amount of
attention as Hideo Nomo on All-Star Monday.  In Milwaukee, Dale
Hofmann writes, "You get an idea of the health of the national
pastime when its most promising cure must be imported."  Tom
Haudricourt writes, "'Nomomania!' has engulfed major-league
baseball's 66th annual All-Star Game" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SENTINEL, 7/11).  In Chicago, Jerome Holtzman notes that
comparisons were made between Nomo in '95 and Ruth after the 1919
Black Sox scandal and whether Nomo is "capable of a similar
rescue" of the game (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/11).  In Houston, Alex
Truex writes, "His whirling delivery has caused him to be
nicknamed Tornado, but he is a fresh breeze for baseball"
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/11).  In Tampa, Martin Fennelly writes,
"The man to save America's game does not speak English.  That is
where we are at" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/11).  In L.A., Mike DiGiovanna
writes, "Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo -- these international
rookie phenomena come along only about once every 15 years, so
you have to take advantage of them" (L.A. TIMES, 7/11).  In K.C.,
Jeffrey Flanagan writes, "If there is a responsibility for Hideo
Nomo ... to single-handedly restore interest in baseball, he's
not aware of it" (K.C. STAR, 7/11).  N.Y. DAILY NEWS' John
Harper, on the Nomo-Randy Johnson match-up:  "For once, it seems,
baseball  has done something right" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/11).  In
Dallas, Gerry Fraley calls tonight's game an "evening of historic
proportions" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/11).  In Baltimore, John
Eisenberg writes, "Tonight's start will only add to his growing
legend" (Baltimore SUN, 7/11).  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark
writes, "This is [Nomo's] night.  All he has to do is save
baseball" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/11).  In New York, Dave
Anderson calls Nomo baseball's "rising sun" amid the post-strike
clouds (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11).  N.Y. POST header:  "Baseball's Rising
Sun-sation" (N.Y. POST, 7/11).  USA TODAY's Beaton & Horovitz:
"Nomomania has swept Major League Baseball" (USA TODAY, 7/11).
In S.F., Joan Ryan writes, "The irony, of course, is that this
All-American game of baseball is counting on this hard-throwing
Japanese import to save it from itself" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/11).
     BEYOND THE SPORTS PAGES:  ABC News profiled Nomo last night.
ABC's Jim Lory "While some Japanese felt betrayed by Nomo's
departure, he has now become an object of national pride.
Everyone loves him" ("World News Tonight," 7/10).  Nomo is also
featured in this week's PEOPLE (PEOPLE, 7/10).    SIGN OF FUTURE
TIMES?  ESPN's "Cover Story" last night examined the diversity of
MLB players.  Peter Gammons:  "The people who mismanage baseball
just don't understand they're never going to get the kids in
Greenwich, or the valley girls, or the Beavis heads."  Gammons
compared players such as Nomo and Cuban Ariel Prieto to "the
refugees who came over on the Mayflower. ... So when Hideo Nomo
takes the mound in Arlington Tuesday, he is a reminder -- that
while baseball may no longer be the national pastime, it will
always be the game of the American heritage" (ESPN, 7/10).

     MD Gov. Parris Glendening intends to meet with NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to discuss Baltimore's chances in
filling the open L.A. market, according to John Steadman of the
Baltimore EVENING SUN.  "Sentiment is building within the league"
to deal with L.A. by creating a "hurried-up expansion process
before the turn of the century and that is where Baltimore comes
in -- or hopes to be included."  Steadman writes that within the
league "there's a feeling it can no longer attempt to hold, at
least by implication, the Baltimore territory" for the Redskins.
Steadman: "Baltimore fits into the L.A. development scheme."  CFL
Commissioner Larry Smith also met with Tagliabue, and there's a
possibility "the CFL will ask the NFL for assistance in gaining a
network television contract, and somehow, be a replacement in
summer for the spring league the NFL operated in Europe -- which
took a sound financial beating and scored poorly in viewer
ratings" (Baltimore SUN, 7/11).

     The NBA has told the United Negro College Fund that it may
not hold Magic Johnson's 10th annual charity game July 30 at The
Great Western Forum, and "that Johnson may not be involved in any
way," according to this morning's N.Y. POST.  The NBA has ruled
that, under the terms of the lockout, Johnson, as Lakers part-
owner, "may not interact with NBA players in any official
capacity" and that team-owned facilities may not be used "by
players for any reason."  Johnson's agent, Lon Rosen, said the
game will go on, but at a different location in Southern CA.
Rosen added that Johnson "understands this (ruling) from the
owners' side" (Thomas Hill, N.Y. POST, 7/11).
     P.R. PROBLEM LOOMING?:  Carlis McGhee, a development
director with the UNCF in L.A.:  "I think [the NBA is] going to
have a very serious media problem.  We stand to lose a million
dollars.  People are still very upset about the baseball strike.
It's not right that a charity has to suffer because of this kind
of politics.  This is a shame.  Our students can't go to school
because the NBA can't get it's act together?"  According to
McGhee, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Shawn Kemp, Alonzo Mourning,
Chris Webber, Mitch Richmond, Nick Van Exel, Ed O'Bannon and
Jamal Mashburn have all agreed to play.  Leonard Armato said
Shaquille O'Neal might also play.  The nine previous charity
games -- all held at The Forum "and billed as 'A Midsummer
Night's Magic" -- generated $9.1M for the UNCF (N.Y. POST, 7/11).