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A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

As for sites, upstart football leagues have demonstrated that new teams can get onto the field at municipally owned stadiums. (Still have your Denver Gold jersey?) Meanwhile, wouldn't cities like Washington, D.C., St. Petersburg, New Orleans and Phoenix--all seduced and abandoned by the existing big leagues through the years--welcome a major club (any major-league club?) with open arms? We oughta know. The Denver A's, Denver Giants, Denver Indians and Denver White Sox all proved to be phantoms.

What about management? Someone would have to be in charge of cutting players, reassigning washouts to the bush leagues, levying fines and other such trips to the dentist. Bobby Bonilla and Walt Weiss probably don't want the job, so there would have to be some kind of division of labor. What the new league wouldn't have is a stalemate, or a stranglehold by the bosses.

Pipe dream or reality? Scaling the battlements wouldn't be easy, of course. And there's no guarantee that the kranks--er, fans--have any more love for today's pampered players than they do for their pigheaded employers. Joe and Jane Six-Pack might not pay a nickel for a new league to Play Ball!

But those are still the two prettiest words in the language, aren't they? Play Ball! This week, as the fogs of anger start to subside, they take on a particular poignancy.

Maybe, just maybe, John Montgomery Ward was right.

So far this September, football has been the natural beneficiary of baseball's deep-down troubles. Television viewership is up, along with ticket sales for college and pro games. Even the idiot on the stool next to you can tell you what's wrong with them Donkeys.

And have you noticed? Everywhere you look in the pro game, there's an ex-Colorado Buffalo. One Buff, QB Darian Hagan, is with Las Vegas of the Canadian Football League. (Have you heard? Las Vegas is now a suburb of Winnipeg.)

Twenty-four more are playing in the NFL--including five at Pittsburgh (LB Chad Brown, CB Deon Figures, WR Charles Johnson, OL Ariel Solomon and NT Joel Steed), four with the Broncos (DB Ronnie Bradford, WR Jeff Campbell, WR Mike Pritchard and punter Tom Rouen), two each with Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Diego and Philadelphia, and one each with Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, the Raiders and Seattle.

This is the highest concentration of CU players in the Bigs since the late 1970s, when 47 Buffs graced the

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