Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 112

Leagues Governing Bodies

          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).