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).