The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 41
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 41

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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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D8 SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1997 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL T PRO FOOTBALL Ditka's arrival making Saints more marketable FISHING REPORT Team officials, fans hoping new coach will resurrect down club By MARY FOSTER I'he Ass. DITKA NEW ORLEANS -- Greg Suit knows about tough sales. As the New Orleans Saints' marketing director, Suit is in charge of soiling season tickets for a team that hasn't had a winning record in four years, never won a playoff game, and finished 3-13 last season. And when you don't win, you don't sell many tickets. That's where new coach "Iron" Mike Ditka comes in. Since he was hired in January, more people are buying tickets and more businesses are using the team's name and players in ads. The Hall of Fame tight end and Super Bowl winning coach has given the Saints instant credibility. "We've had a tough couple of years," Suit said. "Based on early returns, I think Mike is going to stop the bleeding." In mid-May the Saints will begin a three-week radio and TV ad campaign featuring their new slogan: "This year, we're made of Iron." A second media blitz is planned for mid-July when the Saints open training camp. "He's really the lynch pin for getting people back in the Super- dome," Suit said of Ditka. "We want to get back to those days when we filled the Dome and everybody felt good about this PttKa'g dHemma Rebuilding Saints THE FALL: Since going 12-4 in 1992, the Saints went 8-8, 7-9, 7-9 and 3-13. ATTENDANCE: Home attendance slipped to 302,000, down from more than 540,000 in the early '90s. Attendance in the 72,000- seat Superdome averaged 37,750 a game. team. What better way to convince people we're on that track than selling Mike Ditka. He's a proven winner and a national celebrity." As the Saints fell from 12-4 in 1992 to 8-8 in '93, 7-9 the next two seasons, and finally watched the bottom fall out last year, interest in the team plummeted. Jim Mora, the coach who had taken the Saints to the playoffs four times, quit halfway into his 10th season as coach. Fans who wore paper bags over their heads during the 1-15 season in 1980, barely bothered this time. Apathy had replaced pain. Home attendance slipped to 302,000, down from more than 540,000 in the early '90s. Attendance in the 72,000-seat Super- dome averaged 37,750 a game. Ditka is trying to put fans back in the seats and, of course, win some ballgames. He hopes the new ad campaign helps. "We're going to do a lot better and that will mean selling tickets is easy," Ditka said. "This is not brain surgery. It's simple — get the right people put them in the right place. "It's not going to be business as usual. The players aren't going to be the same as usual," he said. "If they don't put out 100 percent on the field, if they don't bust their butts, they're not going to be here. It's as simple as that. That's what they're selling, really." Dr. Edward Strong, associate professor of marketing at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, said the Saints don't have much choice in their attempt to sell tickets because of bad records and a lack of superstars. "So what they're doing is following the old idea of selling the sizzle," he said. An NBC commentator in the four years after leaving the Chicago Bears, Ditka is outspoken and decisive. He also has a reputation as a winner and a tough guy. Surveys of Saints fans found that most felt that Ditka could make a difference. Asked to describe the coach, fans used words like "aggressive," "strong" and "tough." "Those are all words that describe football," Suit said. "It only makes sense to combine his image with the image we want to project for the team." Bob Thompson, whose company, Thompson Marketing of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., specializes in event marketing, agrees with the strategy but does not like the approach. "It might be hard to convince someone the team is made of iron after last year," he said. "They would have done better to focus on Ditka's reputation as a disciplinarian." Nonetheless, season-ticket sales have already increased. The Saints took orders for more than 3,000 new season tickets within 10 days of Ditka's hiring. They sold only 6,000 new season tickets during the entire offseason last year. Kosar among many interested buyers of new Browns team Former Cleveland QB and Ohio native working on buy plan By M.R. KROPKO Tilt Associated Press CLEVELAND — They won't be selling tickets to this Browns game. Most of the action in the high- stakes contest for ownership of the future Cleveland Browns will play out in private. The NFL has a contractual commitment to restore pro football to Cleveland in 1999, and construction for a new $242 million stadium begins this year. The league will determine who owns the Browns, but the decision is probably a year away. Not much is known about the players, except for former Browns .star quarterback Bernie Kosar, an Ohio native who has been working on a business plan and forming a group of financial backers. Mayor Michael R. White won't reveal who has approached him, saying only that there has been "quite a bit of interest." The price tag will be high. Former Browns owner Art Modell, who moved the team to Baltimore last year, bought the Browns in 1961 for $4 million. If the NFL makes Cleveland an expansion franchise, the next owner could Buying the Brawns TEAM'S DEBUT: 1999. Construction of new stadium begins this year. OWNERSHIP: The NFL will decide who owns the team, but the decision is probably a year away. PRICE: $400 million range. Art Modell paid $4 million for the Browns in 1961. spend $400 million or more. The NFL is holding the Browns franchise in trust, preparing it for the next owner. Bill Futterer, who heads the trust, said it's too soon to discuss ownership because the league has not decided whether another NFL team will move to Cleveland or if it will start an expansion team. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue favors expansion. "He certainly did indicate he thought the league should take a hard look at expansion to Cleveland and Los Angeles," Futterer said. Until the question is decided, Futterer is keeping busy. "We want to make sure we have in place a financial and business entity and that we can turn over the keys of a very solid operation," he said. The next owner will be virtually assured of sellouts in the new 70,000-seat stadium. At an average ticket price of $40 for each of two exhibition and eight regular-season games, ticket sales could produce $28 million. The league's TV contract produces about $40 million a team, but an expansion team may not see the full benefit for several years. Merchandising produces about $5 million a team. But the new Browns owner also will be able to produce income from advertising packages on stadium video boards and signs, sale of radio rights and local TV programs, and the sale of food and souvenirs. It's a far cry from the simplicity of pro football in 1950, when the Browns under coach Paul Brown joined the NFL. Brown's son, Mike Brown, who owns and runs the Cincinnati Bengals, says he would rather see a team move to Cleveland. "It's better for the league," Brown said. "But I'm just one of 30 owners and, believe me, these guys don't defer to anyone." Bob Cries, a Cleveland financier who sold his 43-percent share of the Browns rather than be involved in Modell's transfer to Baltimore, said it was premature to discuss his plans. "There will be no shortage of interested people," Cries said. "There are some who can do it all by themselves and some who would need a partnership group." Aikman has final say in Dallas By DAVE GOLDBERG Tilt; Associated Press If Dallas makes it back to the Super Bowl next season, credit Troy Aikman, not Jerry Jones. For America's Team is now Aikman's team. During the offseason, Aikman has quietly put his stamp on the Cowboys after hinting to Jones that the team do things his way. If not, Aikman suggested, he might retire early and the team might have to find another franchise quarterback. Jones relented and Aikman's good friend Daryl AIKMAN "Moose" Johnston re-signed instead of heading for Jimmy Johnson and Miami. Aikman also went to Baton Rouge, La., to work out David LaFleur, the tight end from LSU, then recommended that the team draft him. In fact, if the Cowboys had managed to draft Ike Milliard, the wide receiver from Florida, that would have been Aikman's doing he liked Hilliard, too. But the Giants got, to Hilliard much earlier, leav- ing Aikman — uh, Jones — to draft LaFleur. All of this is part of the effort to clean up the team's image, about which Aikman has been vocal for the last two years. That was one reason Calvin Hill was hired as a consultant (the young players probably know him as Grant Hill's father rather than a former star running back). So when the Cowboys showed up for minicamp last weekend, who sounded like the coach? Not Barry Switzer, who Aikman believes is too lax. "We've had to take a hard look at our team in the offseason and we've made some positive changes," Aikman said. CHRISTIAN AND THE GIANTS: When the New York Giants signed Christian Peter in January, it was only after he had spent months in counseling with Dr. Joel Goldberg, the team psychologist. But when Peter snowed up at minicamp last week, he quickly got into four fights. Nobody seemed to mind, except perhaps his opponents. "It's OK to see aggression on the field," coach Jim Fassel said. "It's off the field where he has to control his anger." HEART OF AMERICA SPORTS CAMPS KANSAS PREMIER CAMPS BOYS & GIRLS AGES (9-17) SIGN UP TODAY! Site:KWU BROCHURE WRITE: SALINA CALL: PO BOX 1096 913-827-6229 SALINA. KS 67402-1096 "THE TRADITION CONTINUES" CEDAR BLUFF RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 54 degrees, lake level is 3.6 feet below pool. • Lorgemouth bass — Good to excellent at times fishing jig & pig over points or using spinner baits in shallow ends of coves. Size ranges from 13 inches up to 20 inches. Fifteen inches minimum length limit in effect. • White bass — A few whites reported by bass anglers from points and underwater roadbeds using white colored grubs or jigs. Average size. 2-3 pounds. • Wipers — A few reported being caught from shore early or late in the vicinity of hard bottoms such as ramps and roadbeds casting jigs or slab spoons. Average size is 14 inches. Remember to correctly Identify wipers vs. white bass, a statewide creel limit of two per day for wipers Is In effect. • Grapple — Mostly slow but a few reports of some legal white crappie caught in the Page Creek area in the timbered lanes and in the North shore cabin east cove area. Best baits include minnows and small rubber bodied jigs. Some keepers up to 14 inches. GLEN ELDER RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 56 degrees, lake level is 1 Vi feel below pool. • Channel catfish — Good, receiving some good reports of catfish caught up in the river systems and in coves lake wide. Live bait working best in rivers and on trotlines. Some shoreline and boat anglers using shad parts and prepared baits with good success. • Crappie — Good, getting plenty of pressure by boat anglers on crappie and around fish attractors within the State Park. Minnows and small jigs still working best. There has also been some nice 10-13 inch fish caught in Mill Creek. If water temperature continues to warm, male crappie should begin moving into shorelines in the next week or so. • Walleye — Slow, not heard of any walleye caught recently as they are in the post-spawn mode at this time. Best technique would be to anchor over old river channel and ledges with live bait. Will probably be a couple weeks before walleye will be caught in 10-12 feet of water on the flats. • White bass — Fair, still receiving a few scattered reports of white bass catches up the south fork river, but fish have yeat to make the big run up either fork. As weather conditions improve, mass migration should soon follow. Twister tail jigs and roadrunner of bright colors will work best. KANOPOLIS RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 54 degrees, lake level is slightly above pool. • Channel catfish — Has slowed down, a few being caught in the outlet area. . • Crappie — Good, in deeper water in the marina cove and off Loders Point on small jigs. On the warm days they are moving into the dock areas and the shallower brush. • Walleye — Slow, but a few still being caught along the dam and in the outlet. • White bass — Slow, a few reports are coming in from the river above the lake. • Rainbow trout — Good, trout are still being caught out of the seep stream and the Park Pond on corn, flies and worms. KIRWIN RESERVOIR • Water temperture — 56 degrees, lake level is 1.7 feet above conservation elevation. • Channel catfish — Slow. • Crappie — Sporadic, some good numbers of fish in the 8-10 inches range being caught off the Hungry Hollow culvert on jigs in the late evening, some nice catches of 2 pound and larger crappie being taken in the flooded timber south of Grey's Park. • Walleye — Slow, spawn is winding down. An occasional fish is being caught. • Largemouth bass — Very good to excellent casting spinnerbaits and plastic worms, also several beingb taken incidentally by crappie anglers, 15 to 18 inches average, larger fish common. Many have been caught form shore west of Knob Hill and near Crappie Point. Fish have been hanging on shallow water structures close to deep water. LOVEWELL RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 56 degrees, lake level is 1 '/s feet above pool. • Channel catfish — Good, anglers have good success on the west end of reservoir with night crawlers. Most using trotlines, but shoreline anglers in the State Park and in the Oak Hill area enjoying the same success. Do not overlook at the major tributaries of teh lake, as catfish are likely to be in most shallow water coves and creeks. • Crappie — Fair to good, still some nice carappie being caught off fish attractors in fairly deep water. Not many limits, but some nice stringers of 10-13 Inches fish. Minnows being used most, but small jigs should work as well. Have not heard of any crappie caught in shallow water yet. • Walleye — Slow, walleye continue to be in post-spawn but should show up off cabin point and walleye point within the next week or so. At this time, anglers should concentrate their efforts off deep water structure. Cedar point, cross area on the south side and off the dam should be good areas to begin looking for walleye. • White bass — Have had a couple reports of white bass being caught, but mostly by unsuspecting anglers fishing for other species. Whites should probably be found up White Rock Creek, as there should be attempting to spawn. Ftccky shorelines and points on the main reservoir should also be good locations to look for whites. SEBELIUS RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 55 degrees, lake level Is approximately 1.8 feet above conservation level. • Crappie — Good to excellent using minnows and jigs in the coves, Vz pound average with some ranging to 1 pound or more. • Largemouth ba»s — Excellent, variety of artificials lakewide, majority in 12-16 inches range, some over 4 pounds. WEBSTER RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 57 degrees, lake level is 2 feet above conservation elevation. • Channel catfish — Fishing was slow over the weekend, but was excellent using cut shad in upper end of reservoir prior to the cold front, 3-12 pounds. • Grapple — Fishing has slowed during the weekend probably- due to the cold front, should Improve again with fair weather. Evenings best using jigs and minnows near the concrete culverts on the south side, 10-12 Inches, occasional large fish. • Wipers — Sporadic, excellent at times, late evening best, casting large jigs and a variety crankbaits at both ends of the dam, also over rocky points and sand in the eastern '/« of the lake, 2-12 pounds. • Walleye — Slow, spawn Is winding down. Fish should begin moving up on roadbeds soon. WEBSTER STILLING BASIN • General conditions — Fishing has slowed In the Stilling Basin. WILSON RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 56 degrees, lake level is at pool, releasing 10 cubic feet per second. • Black bass — Good to excellent, most of the largemouth are being taken in the upper end and in the backs of the creeks and coves and the smallmouth are mostly coming from the rock bluff areas. • Crappie —'A few being caught around the deeper brushpiles and occasionally shallower on warm sunny days. • Walleye — Slow, a few being caught on crankbaits around the rocks by bass anglers. • White bass — Fair to good, some nice fish being caught in the river above the river above the reservoir on white jigs and beetle spins. The spawning action Is in full swing and some of the females have dropped their eggs. Wildlife and Parks is tagging white bass in the river just east and west of the Bunker Hill bridge and the elec- trofishing is disrupting the fishing somewhat In that area. This project should be finished by the end of the week. OTTAWA STATE FISHING LAKE . • General conditions — Water level is normal. • Channel catfish — Has slowed some but some being taken on shad sides lake wide, better in the upper end at times. The fish feeders are scheduled In within a week or so. • Largemouth bass — Has slowed some, a few being caught on spinner baits and jig-n-pig. The vegatation is coming on fast and the bass will concentrate on the edges of the weeds. SALINE STATE FISHING LAKE • Channel cattish — A total of 1,000 fish averaging % pound were stocked last week arid the fishing for those fish should be good. The fish feeders will be installed within the next couple of weeks. SHERIDAN STATE FISHING LAKE • Water temperature — 54 degrees. • Catfish — Sporadic to good following warm days fishing with cut sunfish or shad parts. Average size is 1-2 pounds. • Largemouth bass — Fair to good with spinner baits along shallow edges. Average size )s 13-18 inches. Fifteen inches minimum lenght limit In effect. TUTTLE CREEK RESERVOIR • Water temperature — 56 degrees, lake is at pool level. Water is clear, releasing 1,000 cubic feet per second. > • Channel cattish — Good, 1-10 pounds, jn the north end in 1 '/2-3 feet of water on worms, minnows and green worms. • Crappie — Fair to good, '/z-1 Vz pounds in 2-4 feet deep water on jigs and minnows. • White bass — Fair to good, 3 /4-1 % pounds in the lake tributaries and streams on jigs arid minnows with spinner baits. MILFORD RESERVOIR ' • Water temperature — 55 degrees, water is clear, lake level Is 1V4 feet high, releasing 1,500 cubic feet per second. • Walleye — Fair, 2-5 pounds on jigs and night crawlers in 6-10 feet of water and submerged flats. • Channel cattish — Fair to good, 1-6 pounds in the north end on worms and shad baits. • Crappie — Fair, Vi-1 pound on jigs and minnows In 3-6 feet of water. • White bass — Fair to good, %-1 pound in the Republican River, above the reservoir on jigs, minnows and spinner baits. GEARY STATE FISHING LAKE ;"' • Crappie — Fair, 1-2 pounds on jigs and minnows in 3-7 feet of water. WASHINGTON STATE FISHING LAKE • General conditions — All species slow. RANDY SMITHSON'S 1997 SHOCKER Basketball Camps Overnight Camps: June 8-12 June 15-19 Big Man/Guard Camp Offensive Position Camp June 13-14 Day Camp July 28-31 Join Shooting/3-Point Camp June 15 For Information: Call Fred Andrews 316-978-3252 Tht 1 Best Teaching Camp In Tht 1 Midwest To the uninitiated, Peter is the former Nebraska defensive tackle who was drafted in the fifth round a year ago by New England. His rights were relinquished the next week after Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, read media reports about Peter's off- field problems in college. The most serious of those was a misdemeanor disturbing-the-peace charge, for which he served 10 days in jail after pleading no contest. A 21-year-old woman had said he used abusive language toward her. Wishing You Success! Say Congratulations to your favorite graduate with their photo in our special tribute to the graduating class of 1997, Sunday, May 25th. Only 15 k Includes photo, graduate name & school. *Ads must be prepaid If photo is to be returned by mail, a self-addressed stamped envelope must be included with order. Deadline: Ihesday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. Send or bring photo and form with payment to: lht Salina Journal P.O. Box 740, 333 South 4th St. Salina, KS 67401 (913)823-6363 Graduates Name:. School:. I . Your Name: I Address: | Phone: ( ). City/State/Zip: Credit Card*. Exp:.

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