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Volume 24 No. 114

Leagues Governing Bodies

          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).