If the Major Soccer League is about to experience a ripple effect from the folding of the Kansas City Comets yesterday, commissioner Earl Foreman says he doesn't know about it.
"I know that is the knee-jerk question to ask," he said last night. "I don't resent it. The answer is: If the league is weak, K.C.'s folding will have an effect. If it is strong, it will not. I've talked to every owner in the league but one [St. Louis owner Milan Mandaric is out of reach in Saudi Arabia] and the message I've gotten is that they're sorry about Kansas City, but they're excited about their own plans for the future."
The Comets' announcement came less than 24 hours after it appeared their problems had been solved.
Monday, Kansas City board chairman Herbert Kohn had found the ninth of 10 required investors, cited a groundswell of support to save the club, talked of a possible agreement to televise all 20 road games, and listed the probable addition of a new major sponsor.
But by 10 a.m. yesterday, Kohn announced the demise of the franchise that just two seasons ago had led the league with an average attendance of 10,744 and had been a fixture since the 1981-82 season.
In Baltimore, it was "business as usual," public relations director Drew Forrester said. Or as owner Ed Hale added, "I want to play and I want to be in the league."
Foreman said he is trying to arrange an owners meeting in Chicago next Tuesday for the remaining eight franchises: Baltimore, Cleveland, Wichita, Dallas, San Diego, St. Louis, Tacoma and Pittsburgh.
"I think it is important to get everyone to a room to sit and talk."
Asked about specific franchises, Foreman said the decision in Buffalo to wait another year before joining an indoor league has given Pittsburgh ownership some second thoughts about coming in this year.
"That's never been a secret from the beginning," Foreman said. "There has been a lot of water under the dam in the last three months since they announced they were joining."
In Dallas, where ownership changed late last month, Foreman said the situation is positive, but it is one of the subjects that will be discussed in Chicago.
San Diego's new ownership is solid, Foreman said, and Tacoma's ownership, while not yet at the magic 4,000 season ticket level management has deemed necessary, "is looking forward to attending this meeting and is pleased with the progress they've been making."