Vincent to meet with NBA, NFL heads about AIDSMIAMI BEACH...

December 12, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. — Vincent to meet with NBA, NFL heads about AIDS

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent presided over a meeting of major-league owners yesterday, briefing them on a list of issues facing the sport.

Among them:

* The AIDS epidemic and how it can be addressed by professional sports leagues. Vincent said he would be meeting soon with NBA commissioner David Stern and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

* The Mariners crisis. Vincent told the media after the owners meeting that Mariners owner Jeff Smulyan has not asked for permission to relocate the team.

* New playoffs. Vincent said he had no plans to propose an extra tier of playoffs to prop up TV revenues.

"I don't believe there is substantial interest in another tier of playoffs," Vincent said.

There has been talk of an extra round of playoffs since baseball added an interdivisional playoff series after the strike-interrupted season. Vincent, however, appears to be working in the other direction, hoping to shorten the regular season and move up the World Series.

* Superstations. Vincent said that ownership will continue to lobby for a repeal of the compulsory license, a government-sponsored copyright arrangement through which superstation royalties are distributed to various rights holders.

Vincent said that Major League Baseball received approximately million in superstation revenues, but baseball officials apparently feel that they would be better off selling baseball to cable operators in a free market environment.

"This is a delicate issue for us," Vincent said, "since two of our owners [Ted Turner of the Atlanta Braves and TBS, and the Tribune Co., owners of the Chicago Cubs and WGN] are superstation owners."

Bonilla warns Pirates

Former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bobby Bonilla called on the club to trade Barry Bonds before it's too late.

"Get what you can for Bonds. Trade him," Bonilla told the Pittsburgh Press. "They won't sign him to a long-term contract. I know him. If they offer him $30 million, he'll figure he can get $35 million as a free agent."

Bonilla, who signed with the New York Mets last week for $29 million over five years, also said that he helped make Bonds a better player.

"I did get Bonds to play," he said. "If I did something, he turned it up a notch and tried to do better."

Twins extend Kelly's deal

The Minnesota Twins have given Tom Kelly his second contract extension in three months, adding the 1994 season onto the two-year extension he signed in September.

Kelly was named The Sporting News American League Manager of the Year after leading the Twins to their second world championship in five seasons.

"In addition to Tom's extraordinary accomplishments over his first five years, his teams have always played with an energy and enthusiasm that reflect his genuine affection toward the game," Twins general manager Andy MacPhail said in a statement. "In today's volatile environment, this gives the Twins an added element of stability that is essential for the organization."

Angels go home

The California Angels checked out of the winter meetings yesterday, their contingent returning to the West Coast apparently satisfied that the club has made major steps in the right directions.

But has it? The club lost Wally Joyner to free agency and chose not to pick up a contract option on Dave Winfield, who still could return but has garnered substantial interest

from outside the organization.

Joyner and Winfield combined for 182 RBI last year. The club's two new run producers, Hubie Brooks and Von Hayes, combined to drive in 71 runs, but both were hampered by injuries.

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