MLB's fantasy

Posted: June 15, 2007

BASEBALL DOESN'T MIND Web sites running fantasy leagues, so long as they kick back a few dollars in the right direction.

Those that don't? Well, they are hanging on to what's happening before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

A lower court already has ruled in favor of CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., a St. Louis-based company that is involved with running fantasy leagues without paying the tribute.

Major League Baseball's contention is that player names and statistics are luring customers to Web sites and it wants its cut. Many outlets, such as CBS Sportsline, ESPN and Yahoo, already pay annual fees to MLB.

"There's no way of escaping the fact that players' names are on the product," said Virginia Seitz, a lawyer for MLB.

While attorneys make a living using hyperbole, CBC's lawyer, Rudy Telscher, said alarmingly: "If we lose this case, hundreds of companies go out of business."

The case is being argued before a panel of three judges, at least one of whom seems like our kind of guy.

Judge Morris Arnold raised an interesting question during arguments.

"MLB is like a public religion," Arnold stated. "Everyone knows [the players'] names and what they look like. This is just part of being an American, isn't it?"

The Ballcoach speaks

Never shy about offering a truthful assessment, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was asked if college football should have a playoff to determine its champion.

"I'm not really at a school that needs to worry about the national championship," he said.

No Cuban cigars

Just thought of something that could make the NBA Finals even less appealing: Mark Cuban could own the Spurs. *

- Ed Barkowitz

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