Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner continues to
criticize next year's schedule that would have his team play
two, three-game series against the Mets: "If [MLB
Commissioner Bud] Selig isn't careful, he will disintegrate
the traditional rivalries of baseball" (N.Y. POST,
7/17)....Selig said he "supports" the idea of "someday"
putting an MLB team in Mexico. Selig: "I like the idea.
There's no question we have to take this game international
in a myriad of ways. Does that mean putting a team in
Mexico? Ultimately" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/16).
CART NUMBERS: In Toronto, Gayle Macdonald examines
sponsor support of CART's Molson Indy, which will be held
this weekend and is expected to draw 170,000 fans. Although
more than two-thirds of the spectators at the Molson Indy
site are male, the "female participation rate is slowly
growing." Of the men, 51% are in the 26-to-44 age group,
and more than 35% of attendees make over C$75,000 a year.
Macdonald: "All this spells major purchasing power, which
has brought a new breed of sponsor" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/17).
About 1,400 Alan Eagleson-era NHL players will divide
up a $1M fund taken from the former NHLPA founder, according
to Brad Honywill of the TORONTO SUN. A trustee overseeing
the distribution of $1M that Eagleson had to pay in
restitution after a plea-bargaining agreement in a fraud
case has announced that all players who were members of the
NHLPA from '76-91 are "entitled to share equally in the
recovered money." Split among 1,400 eligible players, the
restitution "shrinks" to about $700 each (TORONTO SUN,
7/17). The maximum a player could receive is $1,400 and the
minimum is $100 (Randy Starkman, TORONTO STAR, 7/17).
The U.S. World Championship basketball team arrived in
Monte Carlo "virtually unnoticed Wednesday afternoon,"
according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, who wrote
that "with only [CBA], college and European-refugee players
on hand, the U.S. entourage was greeted Wednesday by exactly
one French sportscaster and one writer based in Nice,
France." Sefko: "That, of course, doubled the American
media horde following the U.S. squad" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
7/16). In Houston, Dale Robertson writes that the World
Championships "should have nothing to do with the labor
unrest in the NBA." But "some bucks might have accidentally
trickled back through the international monetary system into
the owners' pockets, and the players weren't going to stand
for that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/17). But NBPA VP Charles
Smith is quoted in the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS as saying
that NBA players wanted to play in Greece. He dismissed NBA
Commissioner David Stern's comments that players "trashed"
their country: "He wanted (fans) to take the 'rah, rah'
position. ... [T]he players wanted to play. But then we
were locked out. How can your employer prevent you from
earning your pay, and then ask you to go make money for the
organization?" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/17).
WHERE'S THE RAGIN' CAJUN? CBS analyst Billy Packer
tells USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke that the NBA "is like the
Clinton PR team. The release said USA Basketball told NBC
and Turner they can't carry the World Championships. But
who canceled the TV coverage is basically David Stern."
Martzke also quotes ESPN VP/Programming Dick Glover as
saying that ESPN has "no intention" of televising games of
NBA players during the lockout (USA TODAY, 7/17).
SIX LOCKOUT TALES: In SI, MacMullan & Taylor write that
"there are far more than two angles from which to view the
lockout." In their piece, "Lockout Limbo," MacMullan &
Taylor examine the lockout's impact in separate profiles of
six people: a rookie (the 76ers' Nazr Mohammed), an
established player (the T-Wolves' Tom Gugliotta), a
journeyman (free agent Chuckie Brown), a GM (the Suns' Bryan
Colangelo), an agent (Arn Tellem) and a fan (Bulls season-
ticket holder Leslie Wright) (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 7/20).
HELLO?? Midway through "Business Center," CNBC's Maria
Bartiromo noted Michael Jordan's comments that he wouldn't
play for any coach but Phil Jackson and described it as
"breaking news." Bartiromo: "Breaking news now. While
basketball superstar Michael Jordan is not saying for sure
that he's retiring, he is saying today that we won't play
for any other coach than Phil Jackson" (CNBC, 7/16). Jordan
said he won't make an official announcement about his status
until after the lockout, but as far as a possible retirement
he said, "I'm pretty sure that's my decision" (Mult., 7/17).
The NFL "plans to talk" to Reggie White about a full-
page ad in USA TODAY in which he spoke out against
homosexuality while wearing his uniform, according to USA
TODAY's Steve Hershey. NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello:
"No permission was asked for or given to use the Green Bay
uniform. We feel that it is inappropriate for a player to
appear in the NFL uniform in this type of ad." The ad was
paid for by a coalition of 15 Christian groups. A Packers
spokesperson said neither White nor any group asked the
team's permission to use the uniform (USA TODAY, 7/17).
FREE AGENT LEDGER: During the NFL's unrestricted free
agency period, 113 veteran free agents re-signed with the
old teams, while 113 signed with new teams. The Falcons and
the Panthers signed the most unrestricted free agents from
other teams with eight each. There were a total of 305
unrestricted free agents this year (NFL).