In Philadelphia, Timothy Dwyer writes when NBA owners
meet Monday in Texas, they "are supposed to talk about"
reopening the CBA, but that "a more difficult matter" is
correcting the rookie salary cap, "a mistake that, if
allowed to continue, could crash the NBA economy." Dwyer
writes that the rookie cap and three-year guaranteed
contract has caused "chaos in the league." Dwyer: "[T]he
owners must change that rule. To save their game and their
league. Or else players with promise ... are going to drive
the salary structures so high the league will collapse, one
small-market team at a time" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/18).
WTA Tour CEO Bart McGuire "has proposed major overhauls
to the tour's board of directors," according to Robin Finn
of the N.Y. TIMES. The proposal would "not only give him a
regular voting role on the 10-member board, but would also
restructure the board to include three directors with
business experience that is not directly related to tennis."
Finn reports McGuire is "seeking outsiders, specifically
those with expertise" in TV and marketing to bring "balanced
business judgment" to the tour. Finn: "The current board
has often been criticized for fiduciary conflict of
interest." Sources within the women's tour indicate that
the proposed changes to the board have "the backing of the
players, the International Tennis Federation and the [USTA].
But support from tournament directors, "whose seats on the
board would be trimmed, was less certain"(N.Y. TIMES, 3/18).
Twins Owner Carl Pohlad will continue to work on
finalizing a deal to sell the team to NC businessman Don
Beaver, according to Neal & Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE. Pohlad, Twins President Jerry Bell and financial
consultant Bob Starkey yesterday updated MLB's Executive
Committee on their progress. Interim MLB Commissioner Bud
Selig said that selling the Twins to a new local owner
"would be fruitless." Selig: "You change one face for
another, what does that do? That club can't survive there
without a new stadium. That's all there is to it. It can't
generate revenue to survive." Bell said the team "will not
wait" for the MN Legislature to come up with funding for a
new stadium. Pohlad and Beaver have until March 31 to
complete their sales agreement, but they "could opt to
extend the deadline" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/18).
STRANGE BREW: In addition to the Dodgers sale, the MLB
Executive Council tomorrow will vote on the sale of the Blue
Jays to Interbrew, according to Elliott & Zeisberger of the
TORONTO SUN. Although the Belgian brewer purchased the team
in '95, Interbrew never sought approval "because it intended
to be only an interim owner" (TORONTO SUN, 3/18).
LONE STAR: Bud Selig said the sale of the Rangers to
Tom Hicks "would not be discussed at this week's" meetings,
according to Ken Daley of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Selig
said that "approval is likely" at the next owners meetings,
June 9-11 in Seattle (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18).
THE COMMISH: Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said that
MLB's search for a permanent commissioner "will be completed
before June's owners meetings," according to Hal Bodley of
USA TODAY. McMorris said that "there's a group of about
five outstanding candidates -- more than five." Names of
potential candidates were not released (USA TODAY, 3/18).
Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "is imploring" Selig "to
stop pretending." Steinbrenner: "I'm for getting Bud Selig
to accept the job as the chairman of baseball, with Paul
Beeston as the president and chief operating officer, and
letting it go like that" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18).
MLB owners began their three-day quarterly meetings
yesterday in St. Petersburg, FL. In N.Y., Murray Chass
writes that Braves Owner Ted Turner plans to make a "rare
appearance" at the meetings on Thursday "to try to block"
Rupert Murdoch's bid to purchase the Dodgers. A lawyer,
familiar with Turner's plans: "He's going to try to keep
Rupert out; that's why he's going." Turner, who has not
attended an owners meeting in nine years, will miss a Time
Warner board of directors meeting the same day (N.Y. TIMES,
3/18). One MLB Owner, on Turner's appearance: "Ted is going
to try and twist some arms, but there's not more than three
[NL] clubs against it." In L.A., Ross Newhan identified the
three clubs as the Braves, Padres and Giants (L.A. TIMES,
3/18). The AP's Ronald Blum said that Turner's decision to
attend was the "biggest news" of Wednesday's 4 1/2-hour
council session (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 3/18).
REAX: League owners will vote on the sale of the
Dodgers to Murdoch on Thursday. In L.A., Newhan wrote that
MLB officials continue "to endorse Dodger owner Peter
O'Malley's contention that the sale will be approved. Some
said that only the [Padres] and/or the Padres and [Braves]
may vote against it, but some hedged their forecasts." A
top MLB official, on Thursday's vote: "It's very close.
Nothing is ever easy, but I'm hopeful (it will be approved)"
(L.A. TIMES, 3/17). Ray Richmond of DAILY VARIETY wrote
under the header, "Rupe Deal In the Clear: No Major
Opposition Expected In Dodgers Vote." Richmond reports that
while "pockets of resistance ... clearly exist," no
"significant opposition appears to exist that would block
the deal in the 11th hour" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/18). In San
Diego, Tom Cushman wrote that given Murdoch's history, if
the sale is approved, MLB owners will "have tossed gasoline
on a house already in flames. ... If baseball welcomes him,
it deserves him" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/17).