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Padres, San Diego State, Fox In Dispute

September 7, 1996

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ San Diego’s city manager said Friday that the Padres can’t move their Sept. 21 against the Dodgers to the afternoon for the Fox network and displace San Diego State, but baseball’s TV head said the Padres will play in the daytime.

The Padres originally planned to play an 8:05 p.m. PDT game against the Dodgers, allowing the Aztecs to play Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m. in a football game to be shown regionally on ABC.

``It’s over as far as I’m concerned to the extent that the city is the landlord and owner of the stadium,″ City Manager Jack McGrory said. ``We feel this decision is consistent with the rights of the tenants. If major league baseball doesn’t agree with that, they may pursue legal action.″

Under Fox’s contract with major league baseball, the network may change the game time of any game on the last two Saturdays of the season with 10 days notice.

``We told San Diego State three months ago that this was a possibility,″ said Philadelphia Phillies owner Bill Giles, the head of baseball’s television committee. ``They said they were willing to take a chance the Padres wouldn’t be a contender. Now, they’re playing hardball. Baseball’s position is the Padres have to move to 1:05 p.m.″

After being informed of McGrory’s statement, Padres spokesman Roger Riley said only the NFL’s San Diego Chargers have priority over baseball at Jack Murphy Stadium.

``We’re contractually obligated to play the game at 1:05 p.m. and that’s what we’re going to do,″ he said.

Fox also said the baseball game will be played in the afternoon.

``We intentionally saved our Padres and Dodgers appearances, which are limited, in order to bring our viewers this critical game,″ Fox spokesman Vince Wladika said. ``We informed major league baseball more than one month ago. In our last conversation with major league baseball, this game was on Fox, and we have yet to be informed otherwise.″

McGrory sent a letter to acting commissioner Bud Selig explaining his decision.

``We don’t think it’s fair, and we don’t think it’s consistent with agreements we have with the ball clubs,″ McGrory said.

San Diego State athletic director Rick Bay applauded McGrory’s decision.

``Had Fox TV been allowed to do that ... San Diego State would be hard pressed to schedule any network television coverage during the first five weeks of its season,″ he said.

``Other teams would be reluctant to schedule us at all because we would not be able to commit to a firm date or kickoff time,″ Bay said.

The conflict raised problems for both teams. San Diego State will make at least $50,000 and gain valuable recruiting exposure from the TV game.

The Padres have sold 24,000 tickets to groups for the Saturday game, on top of season tickets, and have had to inform all the groups of the first time change.

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