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Volume 24 No. 114

Franchises

          Representatives from Lamar Hunt's Hunt Sports Group
     (HSG) and Western Resources Inc., who are making a joint bid
     to buy the Royals, earlier this month offered Bobby Brett
     and George Brett a 5-10% "cut into their effort but were
     turned down," sources close to the Royals sale process told
     Jeffrey Flanagan of the K.C. STAR.  Explanations for the
     rejection "vary."  One source said that the Bretts wanted to
     be represented "prominently" in Royals management, and
     suggested that George become team president and the club's
     official rep at MLB meetings.  The source said Hunt-Western
     Resources termed the Bretts' suggestion "preposterous."  If
     the Hunt-Western bid is successful, the source said that
     Hunt's son Clark is expected to become team president. 
     Another source said that the Bretts might have agreed on the
     offer had it not been a "take it or leave it" proposition
     with a 24- to 48-hour deadline.  Lamar Hunt and HSG
     President Tim Connolly were unavailable for comment.  Bobby
     Brett would not comment, but added, "I will say that we
     don't consider the door closed" (K.C. STAR, 6/23).  

          The Canucks and Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment named
     Brian Burke as the team's new President & GM.  Burke had
     been serving as the NHL's Senior VP and Dir of Hockey
     Operations.  Burke, who was introduced by the team
     yesterday, will "report only" to Orca Bay Sports &
     Entertainment President Stephen Bellringer, "who said he was
     happy to 'get out of the hockey business and back into the
     business business.'"  Burke said he saw the "problems" with
     this franchise as "opportunities to make the club better.  I
     hope the first impact I have is to stop some of the waves.
     This organization has been battered by storm after storm"
     (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/23).  In Vancouver, Gary Mason calls
     Burke's hiring "pretty captivating. ... You could feel a
     bolt of fresh air blow into town" (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/23).

          In Sacramento, Martin McNeal noted that potential No. 1
     NBA draft pick Mike Bibby is represented by David Falk, "who
     would love nothing more than to have his client" in L.A.
     McNeal: "It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe
     that Falk will apply pressure on Clippers owner Donald
     Sterling to select his player.  So far, Bibby has worked out
     for only one team: the Clippers" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/22).
          MLB: In N.Y., ticket brokers say that fans are paying
     up to $600 for seats to the soldout Yankees-Mets series that
     begins Friday at Shea Stadium.  Box seats, normally $21,
     "are going for $250 to $600" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/23).  Also
     in N.Y., 53,316 attended last night's Braves-Yankees game at
     Yankee Stadium (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/23)....Yesterday's 
     Expos-Blue Jays game at Skydome drew 33,132, up 4,156 from
     the Blue Jays' season average, but down from the 37,430 who
     attended last year's series opener (TORONTO SUN, 6/23).
          NO MORE NAIMOLI? DON'T THINK OF IT: The Devil Rays
     surpassed the one-million mark in attendance Friday and are
     on pace to draw about 2.5 million.  Devil Rays Managing
     General Partner Vince Naimoli said that "2.8 would still be
     marvelous" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/21).  In Tampa, Tom
     McEwen wrote that Naimoli has heard the "rumor" that he is
     "on the way out," with part Owner Jack Critchfield "anointed
     to succeed him."  Naimoli called the rumor not true. 
     McEwen: "Vince Naimoli is not stepping aside, will not be
     asked to leave" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/21)....The Devil Rays
     introduced their new mascot, Raymond, on Sunday.  In St.
     Pete, Susan Aschoff wrote that "fans are still scratching
     their baseball caps over just exactly what Raymond is. ...
     Raymond is a 6-foot-6 inch mass of blue fur."  Devil Rays
     VP/PR Rick Vaughn: "We've stepped into a new era, and we're
     very excited about it" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/22).

          One day after dismissing Exec VP Fred Claire and
     manager Bill Russell and replacing them in the interim with
     Tommy Lasorda and Glenn Hoffman, respectively, Dodgers
     officials defended the move and said it was a baseball
     decision and not a Fox decision.  News Corp. President Peter
     Chernin, on Dodgers President Bob Graziano, who issued the
     dismissals: "Bob is not a puppet, he is not just pretending. 
     These are his decisions."  News Corp. Co-COO Chase Carey:
     "Of course, we wouldn't approve of anything suicidal, but
     short of that, it's his business to run."  Chernin, on the
     moves implemented since Fox acquired the team: "This could
     be a case of a backlog of changes, made all at once.  We
     respect the Dodger tradition. ... We would like to enter a
     period of calm" (Bill Plaschke, L.A. TIMES, 6/23).
     Dodgers Chair Peter O'Malley said yesterday, "I've been
     asked the hypothetical question that if my family still
     owned the Dodgers would I have made the same decision, and
     my answer is yes."  In L.A., Ross Newhan: "Call it the
     biggest tremor yet in a series of events that have rocked an
     organization accustomed to stability" (L.A. TIMES, 6/23).  
          LASORDA PLAYS POLITICS: Newhan reports that sources say
     Lasorda "has been playing the political game in his frequent
     travels, seeking a greater role and position.  Fox may not
     have told Graziano to address that now, but Graziano knew
     Fox wanted the Dodger blue salesman in a more visible
     situation at some point" (L.A. TIMES, 6/23).  On ESPN
     SportsZone, Peter Gammons wrote that from the time Fox
     showed interest in the Dodgers, Lasorda "was angling to get
     back in power, and Fox was searching for a post-O'Malley
     personality.  They have already notified [MLB] they will
     change the traditional Dodger uniform next season" (ESPN
     SportsZone, 6/22).  ESPN's Tom Friend: "The problem with the
     new ownership here is that they're into the two 'I's':
     impatience and image. And image is Lasorda" ("SportsCenter,"
     6/22).  In N.Y., Claire Smith: "The reemergence of
     O'Malley's good friend, Lasorda, proved as intriguing as the
     Dodgers' decision to step out of character by dismissing a
     manager" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/23). In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin,
     on Lasorda: "I think he's just happy to see Claire, who
     undercut him at the end, out the door" (DAILY NEWS, 6/23).
          REAX: In L.A., Randy Harvey writes that if Graziano's
     decision "doesn't prove to be a good one, he'll be the next
     person transitioned out" (L.A. TIMES, 6/23).  In L.A., Dave
     McNary writes under the header, "Murdoch's Style Impacting
     Team" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/23).  An L.A. DAILY NEWS
     editorial: "We find Murdoch's aggressive drive to succeed
     refreshing.  ... [W]hat most fans want even more are
     victories and championships" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/23).
          RATINGS DOWN: USA TODAY's Chuck Johnson reports that
     the Dodgers' TV ratings on KTLA are down this season, as
     viewership has dropped from 5.5% of all L.A. area TV
     households last year to 3.5% this season (USA TODAY, 6/23).

          The MN entry into the WNBA announced ticket prices for
     its inaugural season in '99.  Lower-level single-game ticket
     prices will be $81, $39, $27, $16, $13, $8 and $6.  The
     upper-level seats, which will be available for select games,
     will be priced at $13, $8 and $6.  The majority of tickets
     bought as part of a season package will be discounted at
     least $2 per seat from the single-game price (Timberwolves). 
     The team will donate $1 for every paid ticket for the '99
     season to breast cancer research in MN (Timberwolves). In
     Minneapolis, Tim Klobuchar reports that the average ticket
     price for MN's WNBA team is $13.95 -- "almost $20 less per
     single-game ticket" than the T-Wovles' (STAR TRIBUNE, 6/23).
          THEY'RE ON THE BUSS: In L.A., Sparks President Johnnie
     Buss said the team sold 4,900 season tickets at season's
     start, up from 4,200 a year ago (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).