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Volume 24 No. 160

Leagues Governing Bodies

          Testimony was heard yesterday from Raiders Owner Al
     Davis in the $130M antitrust suit filed by the St. Louis
     Convention and Visitors Commission against the NFL,
     according to William Lhotka of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. 
     Davis described the NFL's dealings during the team's
     relocation as "extortion," adding, "It wasn't until St.
     Louis came up with a lot more money that the deal to St.
     Louis was approved."  Davis' testimony, which was read to a
     jury, "contained some of the strongest comments yet against
     the NFL."  Under cross-examination, Davis admitted the
     league has a right to determine the number of expansion
     teams and their date of entry into the league.  But "he
     insisted the league has no authority to block an existing
     franchise from moving."  Testimony was also heard yesterday
     from Cardinals Owner Bill Bidwill, who said he paid a $7.5M
     relocation fee when he moved his team to AZ.  But he said
     that he had "no idea how that figure was reached."  49ers
     President Carmen Policy said that the Rams' relocation fee
     of $29M was the "result of negotiations between the Rams and
     the league, not from a set formula" (POST-DISPATCH, 10/23). 
      

          MLB Acting Commissioner Bud Selig met the press
     yesterday in Cleveland and "expressed optimism" that the low
     TV ratings for the '97 World Series would improve and
     "indicated that the game's leaders will intensify their
     efforts to quicken the pace of play," according to Mark
     Maske of the WASHINGTON POST.  Selig, on the TV ratings:
     "The problem with ratings is, everything is down.  Every
     week I look at football ratings.  Basketball, hockey --
     they're all down.  And (Tuesday) night was pretty good.  We
     don't have any of the big markets in this Series. ... We
     started on a Saturday night, and that's a horrendous
     television night.  NBC has been a huge winner (over the
     other networks) every night" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). 
     Selig, after Tuesday's 14-11 Marlins win, which lasted 4
     hours and 12 minutes and ended after 12:30am ET: "Am I
     concerned?  Of course.  But change in this business is very,
     very difficult.  Even when it makes all the sense in the
     world."  More Selig: "That was a game that was terribly
     ugly.  I thought the 'Unfinished Symphony' had a better
     chance of finishing before that game.  I mean, 25 runs and
     the pitchers were still falling behind every hitter.  Ball
     One. Ball Two. Ball Three.  It reminded me of watching my
     own team. ... What drives people crazy is watching pitchers
     circling the mound, waiting for a message from heaven." 
     Selig said he will push for a shortened season which would
     allow the World Series to be played earlier and not face the
     cold temperatures that have hit Cleveland (Ken Daley, DALLAS
     MORNING NEWS, 10/23).  Selig, on moving the World Series to
     a warm-weather site: "I can't fathom that ever happening. 
     The pace of the game is the only thing we can do something
     about, and we'd like to" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).  One MLB
     official on moving to a neutral site: "Can you imagine this
     World Series being played in New Orleans or San Diego, where
     there is absolutely no interest in either of these two
     teams?  You wouldn't come close to filling the stadium for a
     week" (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/23).
          BUD'S LIGHTER SIDE: Selig, asked about the comments
     made by NBC's Don Ohlmeyer on the World Series: "Short of
     shooting him, what do you want me to do?" (Mult., 10/23).
          REAX: In Washington, Mark Maske: "This World Series ...
     hasn't helped baseball's recovery" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). 
     In S.F., Tim Keown: "[A]t the moment of peak interest, the
     World Series is bringing everybody down" (S.F. CHRONICLE,
     10/23).  In N.Y., Mike Lupica: "The weather outside is
     frightful.  So is the national pastime" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
     10/23).  Header above Tim Sullivan's column in Cincinnati:
     "Classic?  Not by a long shot" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/23). 
     In Orange County, Randy Youngman: "Let's face it, baseball
     has become so infuriatingly slow ... that it makes chess
     seem exciting by comparison" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
     10/22).  In Minnesota, Patrick Reusse: "An exceptional
     Series was needed to avoid embarrassing TV ratings -- to
     slow baseball's slide in popularity" (Minneapolis STAR
     TRIBUNE, 10/23).  In Philadelphia, Jim Salisbury: "Welcome
     to the Winter Classic" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/23).  USA
     TODAY's Hal Bodley notes the "crucial problem" to the TV
     ratings is the Marlins and Indians "are not high-profile
     teams."  He goes on to add that the average time for all '97
     postseason games is 3:13, and 3:26 through the first three
     games of the World Series (USA TODAY, 10/22).  But in
     Providence, Sean McAdam writes that MLB "must deal with the
     weight of expectations.  The World Series has been so
     compelling, so often, that anything less than a classic Fall
     Classic disappoints" (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 10/23).

          The NBA "has launched an investigation in an effort to
     determine whether a new fast-food restaurant -- called
     Wraptors -- is infringing on the Raptors' name, trademark
     and logo," according to Marty York of the Toronto GLOBE &
     MAIL.  The new establishment, which sells healthy tortilla
     wraps, opened near the team's home at SkyDome and its logo
     features a "front view of a dinosaur with an open mouth,
     flashing teeth," similar to the Raptors' logo.  NBA Dir of
     Sports Media Relations Chris Brienza said the restaurant "is
     not affiliated with the Raptors in any way.  Its existence
     has just come to our attention and we intend to find out
     more."  Wraptors Owner David Debono said he was "bothered by
     the whole thing because, while the name may sound the same,
     they're spelled differently."  More Debono: "Their raptor is
     mean-looking.  Ours has a conniving look.  Heck, Barney is a
     dinosaur, too.  The NBA could argue that Barney is
     infringing on them, too" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/23).