Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent cast a shadow on the Seattle Mariners' long-term baseball viability, saying that despite a dramatic increase in attendance this season, "Seattle is a major concern to me."
Vincent said he agrees with Mariners owner Jeff Smulyan, who has criticized three relatively low TV-rights bids and a lack of support from the business community.
"I know Jeff. I know he doesn't want anything he's not reasonably entitled to," Vincent said. "He wants to keep the team there. There is no hidden agenda. I also know he has lost a fair amount of money."
Vincent contributed to the city's anxiety last week when he made critical comments about city officials giving backers of the proposed adjacent basketball arena "favored-nation status" and priority parking rights.
The rhetoric, reminiscent of the adversarial George Argyros era in the late 1980s, comes at a time when the Mariners are playing their best baseball and attracting record crowds.
"I can understand the irony in that," Vincent said Thursday, "but on the other hand, actions are what they are."
* PIRATES: A bulging disk could end the season for third baseman Jeff King.
Tests done on King's lower back confirm the injury that has landed him on the disabled list twice this season.
Pirates trainer Kent Biggerstaff said King was to talk today with a Pittsburgh orthopedist who specializes in backs to discuss his options which run from complete rest to surgery.
King has played in only 10 games since May 4.
* REDS: Schottzie, the St. Bernard dog owned by Cincinnati Reds president Marge Schott, has bone cancer.
Schott said the dog is scheduled to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments beginning Monday.
Veterinarians said Thursday that the 150-pound female dog has advanced osteosarcoma, a bone cancer common in large breeds, in the right front leg.
* COLORADO: The National League expansion team expected to be awarded to Denver will be named the Colorado Rockies and the mascot will be a bear, a concession to local supporters of a competing name, the Denver Bears, according to a report in the The Rocky Mountain News.