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).