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— While Union-Tribune World Series coverage has been heavy on hype, light on substance, last Sunday's New York Times magazine weighed in with a voluminous indictment of baseball and professional sports in general. Titled "Bizball," the magazine's special report detailed everything from greedy superagents to Rupert Murdoch's "campaign for global media dominance." Opined the Times, "As the money piles up, so, too, do worries about fair competition, loyalty, and fan alienation." Meanwhile, the L.A. Times ran a hard-hitting op-ed piece from the guy everybody in the San Diego establishment loves to hate, Peter Navarro, attacking the baseball stadium deal on November's ballot. "With the Padres now in the Series, the bond measure is building support -- even though it is likely to cripple the city's finances.... San Diego's major newspaper has been a rabid supporter of the project, bombarding voters with a steady stream of pro-ballpark editorials and news stories. Meanwhile, radio mergers have divided San Diego between the station that broadcasts the Padres and is a natural ballpark partisan and a group of stations that wants to grab the Padres contract, thereby muzzling or converting normally outspoken talk show hosts." Navarro also went after the taxpayers association. "With most of its funding coming from the same development interests that support the park, the association's director endorsed the measure."

Hitching a ride

When the Chargers went to the Super Bowl in 1995, Mayor Susan Golding grabbed a free seat to Miami on the plane of owner Alex Spanos. Later, when a reporter started asking questions, then-city manager Jack McGrory asked Spanos to bill taxpayers for a $1000 first-class fare. This Monday, Golding returned from the World Series in New York, accompanied by Padres bigwigs on a chartered jet. The mayor's office was mum on how she paid for the junket.

More inside baseball

On Sunday, the U-T's hackneyed "dueling columnist" routine, pitting Peter Rowe against Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News, was devoted to shamelessly hyping San Diego, all seemingly part of the paper's campaign for approval of a new baseball stadium. Rowe complained that New York gets too much media play. (For those who haven't noticed, the U-T is always pushing the notion that big-ticket, tax-financed projects like stadiums and Super Bowls are needed to attract national publicity, the better to "create jobs.") Kennedy, Rowe's New York adversary, reinforced the U-T's persistent theme of San Diego as a media-deprived city. The worst she could say about the town was that it has no "image." On Friday, Rupert Murdoch's New York Post had a sharper take on San Diego: "PROFILE: Laid-back Navy town ... POPULAR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: Yachts ... MOST FAMOUS ZOO RESIDENT: Onya-birri, an albino koala ... HOW MANY SAN DIEGANS IT TAKES TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB: Three. One to change the bulb, two to share the experience."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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