Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Los Angeles Lawyer Seeks State Takeover of Baseball
By DON PARRET, Staff Writer
A Hollywood-based group, led by Los Angeles attorney Nick Morosoff, is pitching a proposal that would provide the framework for the state to take over baseball.
The Association to Save the American Pastime said yesterday that it has submitted a ballot initiative to the California Attorney General’s Office as the first step in a government takeover of Major League Baseball.
The initiative would pave the way for the state’s acquisition of the five California Major League Baseball teams—the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Anaheim Angels, the Oakland Athletics, the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres.
“[Our group] believes that the Major League Baseball Players’ Association and baseball owners have repeatedly displayed complete disregard for our national pastime and its fans, consistently betraying the American people who have entrusted to them this valuable piece of our national heritage,” Morosoff said.
The initiative supporters said they don’t see much difference between baseball and the national and state parks systems, calling it “a national treasure that can no longer be subjected to the whims and greed of warring, private-sector factions.”
The teams, under the group’s plan, would be owned by the California Department of Baseball, which would acquire the teams.
The state would use its powers of eminent domain to buy them, Morosoff said.
Morosoff, an in-house attorney at a redevelopment company, said he’s spearheading the effort with “several others,” and that his group will end the campaign if Major League Baseball owners and players agree to a new contract before Friday, a players-imposed strike date.
In the meantime, the group is beginning its campaign. The initiative would need nearly 500,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
“The preferred solution would be a federal takeover of all U.S.-based Major League teams,” Morosoff said. “However, as California provides a process for proposing legislation directly to the voters, we have decided to take this opportunity to do so.”
The group is also calling for the baseball department to establish a confederation of governmental departments of baseball which would follow California’s trot down the baselines and acquire teams in their states.
“We think that it’s about time that government steps in,” said Morosoff, a New York Mets fan. “Because we think the players and owners are about to go to war.”
Text of the proposed legislation can be found at: www.caag.state.ca.us/initiatives/activeindex.htm.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company