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Saints get what they want

By By Rob Sigler
July 11, 2001
The state of Louisiana finally caved in to Tom Benson's demands and it appears any hope of a New Orleans Saints team in Mississippi is fading fast. Or is it.
That just goes to show, the threat of the team actually moving out of New Orleans and building a stadium in Mississippi or going elsewhere was fairly real. Or at least Louisiana governor Mike Foster and his staff must have thought the possibility was real enough. Enough to commit $12.5 million to the team for the next couple years while a committee examines the possibility of constructing a new stadium or a "re-engineered" Superdome.
Benson also got the upperhand by getting out of the city in 2004 if he believes his team is losing money. Benson would have to pay a very expensive exit fee, but dishing out $50 or $60 million to get the $450 million stadium a city would build him elsewhere is not a very high price to pay.
Louisiana apparently has bought themselves some time, but now they have to come through with a new stadium. I don't believe a renovated Superdome is the answer Benson is seeking.
Meanwhile, Mississippi continues to stand by and wait to see how this plays out. Stay tuned.
I may be alone in my thinking, but the All-Star Home Run Derby just isn't what it used to be since they changed the format.
Pitting an American Leaguer against a player from the National League through the first two rounds and then going to a Final Four isn't fun.
It should be like the way it used to be when all of the players were grouped together until only one player remained.
If you watched the Homer Derby Monday, you saw Oakland's Jason Giambi blast a derby record 14 dingers in the first round. The only guy to reach double digits.
He advanced to the next round, but his 14 homers didn't and he eventually got knocked out in the semi-final round.
The guy who won it, Arizona's Luis Gonzalez, had just six balls leave the ballpark in the final round to out-slug Chicago's Sammy Sosa. Combined, Gonzalez belted just 16 homers in all three rounds.
Rob Sigler is sports editor for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at rsigler@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551 ext. 3235.

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