CBA Commissioner Steve Patterson was interviewed on
CNNfn's "Sports Inc." Patterson, on the CBA targeting young
players: "Many of these young men ... want to make a living.
They can make a good living in the CBA while they still
prepare for the NBA at the same time." In responding to
criticism regarding its offer to 17-year-old Lamar Odom and
other young players, Patterson said, "[I]t's important as we
embark upon this to put an educational program and a life
skills program in at the same time, so as we're developing
players to become better basketball players ... we also
educate them in life skills. The NBA addresses this, we
think we need to go further, and we think it's probably
easier to do in the smaller markets that we're in than in
Chicago, [L.A.], New York, where the temptations and the
distractions are so extraordinary" (CNNfn, 9/17).
U.S. players in the Davis Cup "have had their pay
quadrupled" from $25,000 per round to $100,000, according to
Julie Cart of the L.A. TIMES. Whether "for money or
country, the event has drawn the participation" of the top
two men's players, Pete Sampras and Michael Chang, who will
play for the U.S. as they take on Australia in Washington
this weekend. While Cart wrote that "it always seems to be
the Americans who are reluctant to represent their country
in the nearly century-old Davis Cup," a USTA official said
that the "impetus for the pay raise did not come from the
players." Players will also receive a bonus for playing in
three rounds in a year, and may designate a charity or
foundation to which the USTA pays the first $25,000 (L.A.
TIMES, 9/16). In N.Y., Robin Finn examined the Cup under
the header, "American Players Resist Davis Cup. Rest Of
World Embraces The Competition" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).
The ABL Quest's Valerie Still, on former teammate Nikki
McCray's signing with the WNBA: "What is the WNBA going to
do, market Nikki McCray as the MVP of the ABL when they've
never acknowledged the existence of the ABL? I'm not
against the WNBA if they truly are for women's basketball.
But so far, everything at the WNBA is, 'I got the money, I
got the power, so I'm doing it the way I want to, and you
just have to be satisfied'" (USA TODAY, 9/18). In Columbus,
columnist Bob Hunter, on McCray: "It's a short trip from
grateful to greedy. ... By this summer, her perspective had
changed. She wanted three times more money, the right of
first refusal on league endorsement deals and enough
exposure to make her face as familiar as Michael Jordan's.
... [S]weet and appreciative Nikki turned into the
reincarnation of Alonzo Mourning" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 9/18).
MLB owners, "barring a sudden compromise," will leave
Atlanta today "without a realignment plan, a process which
may drag out for another month or two," according to I.J.
Rosenberg of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. After two days of
meetings, "the owners realize that their leadership has not
done enough homework. There are too many plans, too many
questions and too many problems" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
9/18). In DC, Mark Maske reports that the realignment
debate "seems to grow more contentious and problematic by
the day." Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "Do I think there
will be a vote (Thursday)? If I had to answer right now,
I'd say the answer would be no" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/18).
WHERE THEY'RE AT: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley reports the
realignment committee has "proposed a compromise plan that
circumvents an opposition group" of NL owners. The new
format, with seven teams changing leagues, "appears to have
the best chance of being approved" (USA TODAY, 9/18). In
Chicago, Jerome Holtzman reports that owners "have dumped"
the radical plan and "have downsized" to relocating seven or
nine teams. One owner who requested anonymity: "Bud Selig
is no longer trying for a bases-loaded home run. He's now
trying for a double" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/18). ESPN's Peter
Gammons: "One owner said to me when they leave here tomorrow
morning, he's afraid there's going to be absolute gridlock."
More Gammons: "The problem is, all these deals that Bud has
made over the years have come back to roost ... it's almost
as if the game is owned and operated by thirty Jesse Helms.'
... My guess is ... they're talking about either two or
three weeks up to 45 days ... that'll set back a lot of
ticket sales, they may end up losing some of the revenues
they gain by having more games in their time zone"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/17).
GIANT OPPOSITION: Giants Managing General Partner Peter
Magowan, who is opposed to realignment, has "expressed his
views early and often, even before he had an opportunity to
register his objections with his fellow owners," according
to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. He "won no friends among
the realignment strategists." Chass adds that some owners
are "upset with Magowan because they say he is creating a
non-issue" in opposing the A's move to the NL West. One
owner: "They're not going to stay in Oakland. They're going
to be gone" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). Magowan added yesterday
that the MLBPA should be included in the debate: "We
shouldn't be doing things the players want no part of.
That's one of the lessons we should have learned from the
strike" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 9/18). In Phoenix, Pedro
Gomez writes that D'Backs Managing General Partner Jerry
Colangelo "is being viewed as the villain during these
owners meetings" for refusing to move to the AL. Gomez: "A
few owners ... quietly spoke of Colangelo with contempt"
(ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/18). Colangelo was reportedly asked in
meetings yesterday to move to the AL, but one ownership
source told Jerome Holtzman: "All he said was, 'I want to
stay in the National League'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/18).
NOTES: MLB President & COO Paul Beeston was profiled by
Paul Crane on CNNfn's "Sports inc." Beeston: "I'm a Bud
Selig man. I think he's done a lot" ("Sports Inc.," CNNfn,
9/17)......An arbitrator is expected to rule after the World
Series if MLB umpires must carry stopwatches to time breaks
between innings to give proper time for TV commercials. The
umps have refused, "saying they were not required to hold up
games for the benefit of TV." MLB filed a grievance that
went to a hearing in August (USA TODAY, 9/18).
The NFL has the "most dedicated TV audience of any U.S.
pro league, but fans aren't packing stadiums to see games,"
according to SI's "Scorecard," which notes the number of
blackouts through the first three weeks of the season.
Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen: "There are lots of reasons you can
identify. I think the least reasonable reason is that the
game is not as popular." Bowlen also noted the season's
early start and said that "turnout will pick up in the weeks
ahead." SI: "Others in the NFL say the high rate of
blackouts is merely coincidence, that some of the softer
markets just happened to be hosting games at the same time.
But it's also possible that rising ticket costs, a dearth of
must-see visiting teams ... and rosters constantly
reshuffled ... have dampened fans' loyalty." Also mentioned
is the rise of NFL's Sunday Ticket, which is in 400,000
homes, and is "cheaper" and guarantees access to every
game." SI adds that the NFL "may also be slow in catering
to its stadium-going fans." Sales consultant Bob Leffler,
who represents three NFL teams: "In many cities, the clubs
have to market the product better" (SI, 9/22).