The investment group fronted by Chris Hansen that is "trying to bring men's professional basketball back to Seattle is remaining focused on the NBA, even if landing a hockey franchise could happen sooner," according to Tim Booth of the AP. Hansen said, "No one in our ownership group is interested in being a majority owner in an NHL franchise. That's been the case since the start. I've certainly queried our ownership group about this. I think if someone really wanted to it would be easier than bringing in an outside party." He added, "Getting involved in hockey solely because basketball hasn't worked out right now, when it's not something your heart is in, would be a disservice to the fans here." Hansen said that the focus right now is on getting "environmental reviews completed -- possibly by the end of the summer -- so that if an NBA franchise becomes available via sale or expansion, Seattle can be at the front of the line ready to go." He said that there are "far fewer conversations with the NBA now than there were at this time a year ago, though he remains confident the NBA will eventually return to Seattle." Hansen's investment group "has not changed, including former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and neither has his original timeline of trying to land a team within five years of when the process began" (AP, 4/2). Hansen said, "It's inevitable Seattle will have a basketball team. It's just a question of when." In Seattle, Percy Allen notes Hansen acknowledged that it would "be a risk for the NHL to place a team in Seattle and play temporarily at KeyArena because his arena-funding deal stipulates construction will not begin and the city will not contribute $200 million until an NBA team is secured" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/3).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
In N.Y., Alan Schwarz wrote the "questionable events" surrounding Nationals LF Bryce Harper sustaining a possible concussion Monday against the Mets "underscored two things: football isn’t the only sport with pressure to return players to the field, and in some ways, baseball has it worse." Baseball players once removed "cannot return to the game." After Harper was injured while sliding into second base, medical personnel had "two outs left -- and two minutes for commercials -- to get him to the clubhouse, perform the test and hustle back." Univ. of North Carolina Senior Associate Dean for Natural Sciences Kevin Guskiewicz, who is part of the team that developed the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, said that it "could not be administered properly in less than 10 minutes, and often takes up to twice that." Schwarz: "Baseball's challenge is unique [in that] its players can be in the game but not on the field, undergoing medical evaluations that must end along with the commercials. For a sport without time, it sure can run out, quickly" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2).
DRAFT DAY: MLB.com's Jim Callis reported values for picks in the first 10 rounds of '14 MLB's First-Year Player Draft and for each team's four int'l Draft slots will "be increased by 1.7 percent over last year's assigned figures." Draft bonus pools for all 30 clubs will now total $205.79M and the int'l bonus pools will equal $79.19M. The industry spent $219.3M on Draft bonuses in '13, and "had paid out" $88.7M on int'l bonuses through Feb. 9. The Marlins, who "have more selections (13) in the first 10 rounds than any club, have the highest Draft pool" at $14.2M, but only in '05 have they "spent as much" as $8M. The lowest pool "belongs to the Orioles," who have an allotment of $2.2M (MLB.com, 4/2).
ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE? ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wrote MLB with its new replay system is "getting more calls correct -- and that’s admirable and necessary -- but we’re still seeing controversy and confusion." MLB "should have known from watching the NFL that instant replay wasn’t going to be a panacea." Replay "is not going to be a perfect system," and the delays, while "usually short, do seem to provide an unnatural pause to a game." In addition, managers "yelling at the men in blue" will soon "seem like a relic of baseball’s past, like ivy-free walls at Wrigley" (ESPN.com, 4/2).