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Losses Adding Up for Disney

September 16, 1997|BILL SHAIKIN and JOHN WEYLER

The Walt Disney Co. expects to lose at least $25 million in its first two seasons operating the Angels and could spend another $90 million to renovate Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim Sports President Tony Tavares said Monday.

Tavares said the Angels lost $12 million in 1996, the first season of Disney management, and he anticipates a larger loss this season, primarily because of lower attendance. The Angels are on pace to draw 1.8 million this year, the lowest figure for a nonstrike season since 1978.

Tavares also confirmed the $100-million stadium renovation project is over budget, though not by more than 10% "as of this moment." In addition to paying $70 million of the renovation cost and guaranteeing the city of Anaheim another $10 million, Disney is responsible for cost overruns.

In that light, Tavares said he was disappointed to receive letters from fans critical of Disney for accepting $28 million from Edison International to change the stadium name to Edison Field.

"How does it harm you as a fan? It doesn't," he said. "We've got to try to tap every source of revenue we can to keep these seats affordable."

Disney has not committed to restore the $5 price for bleacher seats when they reopen next season, though Tavares said bargain seats will be available. Disney has not yet decided on ticket prices for 1998, Tavares said, aside from luxury boxes and suites. The Angels' average ticket price of $9.68 this season is the lowest in the American League.


The results of MRI exams performed on the shoulders of infielders Darin Erstad and Craig Grebeck Monday were identical, as is the prognosis. The tests revealed irregularities in the labrum, a lip-shaped structure in the joint. Both players are available for pinch-running duties only and will be reevaluated on a daily basis. . . . The Angels hired George Lauzerique to the new position of Latin American Coordinator. A native of Havana, Lauzerique has been a scout for 16 years with Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia. . . . Jason Dickson, who was struck on the elbow by a line drive Saturday, threw on the side Monday and expects to make his next scheduled start on Thursday. "It's still a little tender, but the swelling is down," he said. "It doesn't really affect the way I throw, so I'm not worried."



Anaheim Stadium, 7:00 p.m.

TV--None. Radio--KTZN (710).

* Update--Hasegawa, who will be making his third start of the season, says he is glad he broke into the major leagues as a reliever. "I was starter in Japan, but I came here and didn't know the hitters, didn't know the strike zone," he said. "I think it was better to begin as reliever." Hasegawa said he was "a little surprised" to get tonight's start, but he'll try to approach it like a reliever and "take it pitch by pitch, hitter by hitter." In his last two relief appearances, Hasegawa has given up only two hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Radke is second in the league in victories and fewest walks allowed (1.8 per nine innings). His complete-game victory over the Angels June 7 was the first of 12 wins in a row, a major league high this year.

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