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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

Ducks Need to Shed Some Light on Kariya's Contract

September 16, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

While Disney negotiated to sell naming rights for the Big A to Edison International, a light bulb must have clicked on in Tony Tavares' head.

The Ducks have to sign Paul Kariya before the season opens.

Before they can do that, serious negotiations--meaning those in which serious dollars are discussed--must take place. Tavares, who presides over the Ducks and Angels for Disney, apparently recognized that and has put them in motion with an offer.

He might argue that he had already made one, but he even he knows that his offer in July of $25 million for five years was a case of too little, too early.

Kariya and his agent, Don Baizley, could have made a point about Disney's frugality, but they took the high road by simply not responding. They let the market speak for them.

It has spoken loudly.

I know it's easy for sports columnists to give financial advice because it's not our money, but I believe $40 million for five years would be fair.

That's good for Kariya because it would make him the second-highest paid player, earning him more than the $7 million a year Colorado pays Joe Sakic but less than the $8.5 million a year Eric Lindros reportedly seeks from Philadelphia.

That's good for the Ducks because, considering the rapid rate of inflation in hockey salaries this summer, Kariya will be a bargain long before his contract expires.

Maybe Tavares could get Kariya for less. Even though he's a free agent, he has received no offers from other teams because they know the Ducks would take advantage of their right to match. He will play either in Anaheim or nowhere.

But Tavares is too smart to play that game. He's a tough negotiator, but I'm sure he's aware that trying to beat the team's best and most popular player at the bargaining table is a no-win situation for the Ducks.

Besides, Disney can afford it after agreeing to a deal with Edison that reportedly is worth $50 million over 20 years. The company could sign Kariya and still have $10 million left over.

*

You have a one-run lead in the top of the ninth against the San Francisco Giants. Two out, runners on second and third, Barry Bonds at bat. Walk him, right? . . .

Most teams do. But the Florida Marlins pitched to him Sunday. He fouled out. . . .

Granted, the Marlins' Bobby Bonilla made a great catch in the stand next to third base to retire Bonds, but the decision to pitch to him tells you he hasn't been scaring anyone with his bat lately. . . .

The Marlins preferred to face him rather than Jeff Kent, who hit his 28th home run Monday against the Braves. . . .

The previous record for Giant second basemen was 26, set by Rogers Hornsby 70 years ago. . . .

Average attendance for the Giants' last homestand was 13,953. . . .

The Dodgers will bring them out. The Giants expect at least 100,000 at Candlestick, or whatever it's called now, for the two games Wednesday and Thursday. . . .

It was great to see Eric Davis back in action Monday, three months after he underwent surgery for colon cancer, just as it will be to see figure skater Scott Hamilton next month...

Hamilton will return to the ice for the first time since his June 24 surgery for testicular cancer in a CBS television special to be filmed in late October in Los Angeles. The show is tentatively scheduled to air Nov. 4. . . .

His recovery won't cause him to miss any dates next winter with the Discover Stars on Ice tour, but he won't compete much. . . .

"Right now, I'd be really competitive with a 6-year-old," he says. "But I've got experience competing, so the 6-year-old might be edged out." . . .

He chose to lose his hair on his own terms, shaving it off instead of allowing the chemotheraphy to take its toll. . . .

"If you squint real hard and turn your head a certain way, I look like Michael Jordan," he says. . . .

Allan Malamud, who set an impossibly high standard for this space, died a year ago today. . . .

Since then, he has had two scholarships and the press box at Santa Anita named in his honor, a table dedicated to him at Farmers Market and a night at the Friar's Club. . . .

He has also won the A.J. Liebling Award for his boxing prose and been inducted into the USC Hall of Fame. . . .

It was a great year for him. I wish he'd been here to enjoy it.

*

While wondering how Texas can be ranked but not UCLA in the coaches' poll, I was thinking: Don't believe the coaches when they say writers know nothing about football, Bill Parcells could coach my team, Dodger fans need Vin Scully back in the lineup by Wednesday.

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