Stadium Issue Stirs Manhattan

From Times Wire Services

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone vowed Friday to move ahead with a November referendum that could block a new baseball stadium in Manhattan, despite a warning from Yankee owner George Steinbrenner that he might move his team out of New York.

The speaker's promise to push the referendum came during a tumultuous day at City Hall, highlighted by a standoff between Vallone and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Giuliani said he wasn't surprised with Steinbrenner's frustration, and used the occasion to again criticize Vallone for proposing a plan that could squash a Manhattan stadium--one site being considered as a new home for the Yankees.

"Nobody is asking anyone to support a Yankee Stadium in Manhattan or a Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or a Yankee Stadium anywhere else in New York City," Giuliani said. "What we are saying is don't close down options when you are in the middle of a negotiation."

A day earlier, Steinbrenner attacked Vallone's effort to send the stadium issue to voters and accused him of turning the Yankees into a "political baseball in what certainly seems like a move he thinks will aid him in his race for governor."

Vallone is one of four Democrats seeking his party's nomination for governor. Critics have accused him of trying to arrange the referendum to drive up the vote tally in heavily Democratic New York City, which presumably would help his candidacy if Vallone gets on the ticket to face Republican Gov. George Pataki.

"Politics has driven more teams from New York City than any of us care to remember, most recently the football Giants and Jets to New Jersey," Steinbrenner said. "I do not want to move the Yankees from New York, but I must warn he is bringing us dangerously close."


The Texas Rangers put shortstop Kevin Elster on the 15-day disabled list because of a left shoulder injury, suffered after diving for a ball in a game against Tampa Bay last Monday.

Elster separated the shoulder after landing on the artificial turf of Tropicana Field. The shoulder popped back into place, allowing Elster to remain in the game, but the dislocation caused a ligament strain, bruising and soreness, forcing him to miss the next three contests.

To fill his roster spot, Texas purchased the contract of infielder Scott Sheldon from triple-A Oklahoma.


The Colorado Rockies sent right-hander Mark Mangum, the team's first-round choice in the 1997 amateur draft, to the Montreal Expos to complete an off-season trade for reliever Dave Veres.

Mangum, 19, opened the season in Colorado's extended spring camp, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six appearances. Outfielder Terry Jones also went to the Expos in the Dec. 10 deal.

The Rockies also announced eight of their picks in the amateur draft, including Cal State Fullerton first baseman Kevin Duck.


The Baltimore Orioles, looking for bullpen help, called up left-hander Radhames Dykhoff from double-A ball and optioned Bobby Munoz to triple A.


Career saves leader Lee Smith, released by the Kansas City Royals this spring, has pitched a two-inning simulated game at the triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs' park and is scheduled to pitch another today. Smith is trying to make the Houston Astros' squad.

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