Seattle Supersonics Will Play `Out of Town' All Next Season
SEATTLE shares an airport, Sea-Tac, with Tacoma. Soon, it appears, Seattle may share both its major-league baseball and pro-basketball teams with its southern neighbor.
By now, many baseball fans have learned of the structural problems at Seattle's Kingdome, where a small shower of falling wooden ceiling tiles has led to a decision to remove all 40,000 of them. Rather than promote a succession of Hard Hat Days, baseball's Mariners will take up temporary residence at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium, the 10,000-seat home of the minor-league Tacoma Tigers, an affiliate of the Oakland A's.
It was either that or play an upcoming home stand on the road against California, Kansas City, and Texas. Beyond that, it's not clear what will happen, although a baseball strike could wipe out much of the remaining season, leaving the field to pro football's Seahawks, who are already outfitted with hard hats. Even there, a contingency plan is being formulated to switch Seahawks games to the University of Washington's open-air Husky Stadium.
Because the Seattle Center Coliseum is being rebuilt from the ground up, the Supersonics have been forced to relocate for the entire 1994-95 season, beginning Nov. 5. Their interim home will be the Tacoma Dome, about 30 miles away - not bad, considering that the Pistons are about that far from Detroit in Auburn Hills, Mich., and the Cleveland Cavaliers play in Richfield, Ohio, 20 miles from Cleveland. The Cavs, however, are moving into the heart of the city in a new arena next to the city's spanking-new baseball stadium.
The 16,225-seat Tacoma Dome actually has 1,400 more seats than the Coliseum, which is good news for a hot-ticket team like the Sonics, who had the National Basketball Association's best record last year and are the only pro-sports game in town during the winter months. (Seattle has no National Hockey League franchise). Touching other bases
* If major league baseball is hit by a labor strike Aug. 12, as threatened, ABC and NBC have indicated that movies will replace scheduled game telecasts. (How about a baseball film festival, featuring such films as ``Field of Dreams,'' ``Bull Durham,'' ``The Babe,'' ``The Natural,'' and ``A League of Their Own''?) ESPN might show Triple-A minor league games, as it did in 1981, before it owned the rights to major league games.
* The National Hockey League (NHL) deserves an ``A'' for being so trusting. Each member of the champion New York Rangers has been given possession of the Stanley Cup for a weekend this summer. The cup showed up recently as the centerpiece at a party in Boston, where native son Brian Noonan, a Ranger winger, celebrated with 250 friends and family members at Jimmy's Harborside Restaurant. The cup, originally presented to Canada's amateur hockey champions, is named for Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated it in 1893.
* The NHL is closing in on arrangements that would allow its top players to compete in the 1996 Winter Olympics.