BASEBALL STRIKE REPORT
Even though groups in nine cities have submitted bids for new baseball teams, Harrington, chairman of the Schedule Format Committee that is considering expansion, said many clubs fear adding teams will end up costing them money.
“There’s this notion out there we may expand and get this $150 million expansion fee,” he said. “It is not in baseball’s best economic sense to expand, because you have to divide the pot up by a greater number of clubs.”
Adding two more clubs--bringing the total to 30--would cost each of the existing teams about $1 million per year in TV and other revenue because it would have to be split among more clubs, Harrington said.
“There may not be expansion in baseball because a lot of clubs don’t want to give up a million dollars a year to expansion teams,” he said.
The expansion process also might be delayed because of the strike and the lack of a collective agreement between owners and players.
Gene Budig, the new American League president, said he believes the Seattle Mariners have a chance to get a baseball-only stadium to replace the Kingdome.
Budig, who spent part of last week in Seattle, said he still wasn’t sure when the Kingdome would be playable again. With players on strike, it’s not a factor now for the Mariners, but it does affect the Seahawks, who were forced to play an exhibition last weekend in Tacoma, Wash. The Kingdome is unplayable because acoustic tiles are falling from the ceiling.
“Something good is coming out of this for the Mariners,” Budig said. “I think there is growing sentiment for a baseball-only facility.”
A lawsuit filed on behalf of fans and sports bar owners in an attempt to stop the strike has been dropped, lawyer Mark Rubin said in Jacksonville, Fla. The suit was dropped after the players union threatened to seek legal fees and costs if the plaintiffs lost, Rubin said. . . . In Atlanta, a group of fans, saying the Braves sold them season tickets under false pretenses, filed a lawsuit to recover the cost of the tickets, along with $5 million in punitive damages. “They’re holding the fans hostage,” said Atlanta businessman Bert Erling, one of the plaintiffs.