NBC's Bob Costas said he is not worried about the "under-30 fan base" in MLB as much as others critics of the game. Outside national TV ratings, baseball is not "just ahead of where it used to be -- and way ahead of the so-called 'Golden Age' of the sport -- in every measurable way it's past of those eras in quantum leaps in attendance, in marketing revenue, in total viewership." Costas said of baseball being "culturally irrelevant" today, "Nostaglia and retro are an aspect of baseball's appeal. They shouldn't apologize for it, they should embrace. But to say that it's a disproportionate aspect of it is wrong" ("The B.S. Report," GRANTLAND.com, 10/7).
CALL FOR A BAN: In N.Y., Jeff Klein reported researchers at a Mayo Clinic conference on concussions in hockey have called for a "ban on fighting at all levels of the sport." Conference organizers said that "although no direct link has been established between fighting in hockey and long-term brain trauma, pathological studies indicate that fighting could lead to serious brain damage." The NHL in recent years has "gradually legislated against particular circumstances around fights, and the rate of fighting has slowly dropped." Wednesday's meeting was "attended by researchers and hockey officials from across North America and Europe," and was the Mayo Clinic's "second conference dealing with hockey concussions" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/10).
NO DEAL YET: In Hartford, John Altavilla reported talks on a new WNBA CBA have "essentially been going on since the All-Star break," but it could take "several months" before a deal is reached. That is especially true if the players "feel put upon by ownership to give up things they don’t want to give up." One likely change will see an extra player added to each roster, and it is "quite possible" the All-Star Game format for '14 "will be a repeat of the national team vs. WNBA All-Stars not on the national team" (COURANT.com, 10/9).
BEEFED UP BEAT DOWNS: In San Diego, Dennis Lin wrote under the header, "UFC Faces Growing PED Problem." In UFC, "slaps on the wrist prevail" when it comes to PEDs, while "not being sufficiently entertaining can put you out of a job." In governing his own domain, UFC President Dana White "follows a less linear path" than MLB. Maybe White "is simply content to tackle each mini-crisis as it arises." Never mind that "the mini-crises are coagulating into a mega-mess." Lin: "The UFC's drug policy lacks substantial punch. Shamed fighters have returned in blazes of pay-per-view glory." White appears to take a "do not get caught" approach to PEDs, deferring to athletic commissions on testing and punishment (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/8).