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A-Rod: Let's begin promoting the good

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 8, 2002

The labor strife now settled, at least one high-profile player believes it's time to focus on something other than luxury taxes, revenue sharing and salaries.

Something like an imitation of marketing strategies employed by other professional sports.

"We've got an agreement, we've found a remedy and now it's time for the owners and the players to get together and start promoting their players," said Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, an American League MVP candidate.

"No one ever said anything about Michael (Jordan) making $40-million, all these people making all this money. All you talk about is (NBA commissioner) David Stern kept driving the marketing."

Baseball appears to lag behind several sports, not just the NBA, when it comes to marketing its marquee names. The NFL, PGA and NASCAR all get their stars' faces and stories out to the public.

"My gosh, when you have players like Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Ichiro (Suzuki) ... the incredible adjustments he had to make to come to our culture and win a batting title," Rodriguez said. "There are some unbelievable stories. But we haven't had a chance to promote them because we've been trying to find a remedy between owners and players.

"The bottom line is they're great players and good people. That's got to bring more fans to us. We've been enemies for so long that we're losing all wars."

REVENUE SHARING BENEFICIARIES: An report Friday, citing figures obtained from anonymous sources, said the Brewers and Pirates will benefit most from the labor agreement.

Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, a club once owned by commissioner Bud Selig, are expected to receive an extra $5.9-million through revenue sharing. The Expos ($31.3-million) and Twins ($22.6-million) would get the largest checks, and the Yankees would pay $16-million more under the new system.

The Rays, according to the report, would receive $13.6-million next season. That would be $1.4-million more than they received under the old agreement.

ICHI-WOES: On the surface, 2001 American League MVP and Rookie of the Year Suzuki is having another fine season as he ranks among the league leaders in average, hits, triples and stolen bases.

But the Mariners rightfielder and leadoff hitter is part of a teamwide offensive slump. Ichiro batted .350 and stole 56 bases last season, but he was hitting .268 with three steals in his past 31 games through Friday.

"I am not new to baseball," he said. "I cannot do more than I am capable of doing."

LAST GO AROUND: Braves pitcher Tom Glavine became one of the most visible player representatives during the recent labor negotiations.

He doesn't expect to play such a part when the new agreement expires after the 2006 season.

"When this thing is over, chances are I'm going to be retired," said Glavine, who gained notoriety during the 1994-95 strike for his willingness to discuss the labor situation.

"I think because I was able to get in front of a TV camera or talk to a newspaper guy and do it somewhat articulately, I just kind of got pushed up front because nobody else wanted to talk," he said. "I never perceived myself as being a National League representative."

CAME UP SHORT: The A's were looking at the 1935 Cubs, not the 1916 Giants managed by John McGraw, as the key to setting the major-league record for consecutive wins.

The Giants' streak of 26 wins was interrupted by a 1-1 tie against Pittsburgh. The 1935 Cubs won 21 in a row.

"It's not a real 26," A's closer Billy Koch said before Oakland's streak ended at 20 games with a 6-0 loss to the Twins on Friday. "You know we're not going to tie ... unless we play an All-Star Game in the next week."

ODDS AND ENDS: Rockies rookie pitcher Jason Jennings is one win from tying the club's single-season record (17) set by Pedro Astacio and Kevin Ritz. With at least four starts remaining, he could become the first National League rookie to win 20 since Cincinnati's Tom Browning in 1985. ... Rightfielder Shawn Green became the first L.A. Dodger to hit 40 homers in consecutive seasons Wednesday. Duke Snider did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers in five straight seasons. ... Former Rays and current Cubs first baseman Fred McGriff needs two homers to reach 30 this season, which would make him the only player to do so with five teams (Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs).

THE LAST WORD: "I look through the same eyes, but I don't see anything the same way. I don't take anything for granted any more." -- Former Rangers manager Johnny Oates, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November and visited with the team Tuesday.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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