The radio station that carries the New York Yankees has sued the
NEW YORK (AP) _ The radio station that carries the New York Yankees has sued the team for $10 million, claiming it’s losing money on ``sham competitions″ featuring replacement players.
WABC said it paid millions of dollars to air games using real major leaguers, but the Yankees breached their contract by offering unknown and unskilled replacement players.
The strikebreaker games are worthless to WABC, the station said in papers filed Friday in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court, ``because virtually no advertisers″ will buy time on broadcasts of them.
WABC said that George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, has admitted that replacement baseball is not ``the same product″ as a major league contest.
Court papers quote local sportscasters as referring to an exhibition game played between the ``fake Mets and fake Yankees.″ And a recent column in a local newspaper referred to the replacement players as ``raggle taggle recruits.″
WABC asked the court for money damages for the alleged contract breach, saying ``WABC has lost and will continue to lose millions of dollars in revenue inasmuch as the vast majority of advertisers have refused to advertise on replacement baseball games.″
The station also asked for a declaration of the parties’ contractual rights and obligations. WABC radio’s contract with the Yankees dates from Sept. 24, 1986, court papers show.
Don Bouloukos, WABC radio’s vice president and general manager, said that for now, ``we’re going to continue to broadcast the games.″ He refused to comment on any other aspect of Yankees-WABC radio relations.
Howard Rubenstein, a Yankees spokesman, said in a statement that the Yankees ``are confident of their position under their contract and they will prevail.″
Also Friday, the Madison Square Garden Network said it would not cablecast Yankees exhibition games on Saturday and Sunday as planned.
Negotiations between owners and the players aimed at ending the seven-month strike broke off March 4 and may resume Tuesday.