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Volume 24 No. 214
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NEW MINOR LEAGUE TO BE EAST COAST VERSION OF AZ FALL LEAGUE

          A new, fall minor league for top Class A and AA players
     "is scheduled to begin play" in the DC/Baltimore area this
     fall, "with games running through November," according to
     Rich Scherr in the WASHINGTON POST.  The as-yet unnamed
     league, which would feature top players from all 30 MLB
     teams, will base teams in Frederick, Bowie and Salisbury,
     MD, and Wilmington, DE, and begin play on September 22.  The
     new league will be modeled after the Arizona Fall League,
     and is "designed to be a cheaper and more convenient
     alternative to sending players to fall leagues in Hawaii,
     Australia or the Dominican Republic."  The idea for the
     league was "cultivated over several years" by Orioles Dir of
     Player development Syd Thrift and Peter Kirk, Chair of the
     MD Baseball Limited Partnership, which owns three minor
     league teams.  Kirk said the league's "primary purpose ...
     will be player development" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/20).
          MORE BASEBALL: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports that
     MLB, "eyeing all the attention soccer has garnered" through
     the World Cup, "hopes to open the '99 season with a regular-
     season game or games in Tokyo."  Teams will likely include a
     marquee West Coast team against a top Eastern club
     (BRANDWEEK, 6/22 issue)....The Northeast League expects to
     eclipse the one million mark in total attendance in its
     fourth season this weekend.  Total league attendance in its
     first season in '95 was 193,083 with six teams, followed by
     245,628 in '96.  In '97, the eight-team league jumped 37% in
     attendance to 439,687 (Northeast League).