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Baltimore's "lucrative offer" to lure the Rams remains intact, "but it's apparently a limited-time offer." Mark Wasserman, secretary of MD's Department of Economic and Employment Development, said Gov. William Donald Schaefer's message to Rams President John Shaw was, "Don't leave us on the hook forever." Wasserman said Schaefer "wanted some sense for how this process will play out, and Mr. Shaw indicated rather clearly that he hoped to arrive at some sort of decision within 4-6 weeks." Sources in St. Louis "aren't sure if Shaw will decide that quickly, but nonetheless expect a decision before Thanksgiving" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/25). On NBC's "NFL Live," Jim Gray featured the courting of the Rams. Gray noted the St. Louis offer is the most "solid," but Baltimore is "clearly the leader." Gray noted that last week Orioles Owner Peter Angelos sought "advice" from Raiders Owner Al Davis on moving franchises and decided "litigation now would simply be an inconvenience." Angelos also said that while Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke "might not like it ... I'm convinced legally he can't stop it" (NBC, 9/25). ST. LOUIS UPDATE: FANS Inc., the local group trying to lure the Rams, "is putting the final touches on a seat-licensing program that probably will be instituted to coincide with any Rams announcement that they are moving here" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/24). In a related development, FANS Inc. is suing Fran Murray, one of the founders of the partnership that was formed to head up St. Louis' bid for NFL expansion. The suit asks the court to declare that Murray owns no stock in the St. Louis NFL Corp. and has no ownership interest in the corporation and that he has no "existing right to acquire any such stock." FANS is prepared to protect the Rams from any potential Murray lawsuits. "The Rams have indicated to FANS that this would satisfy their concerns" (POST-DISPATCH, 9/24). DOME-WARD BOUND: St. Louis' 70,000 seat stadium/ convention center addition is 43% complete. The completion date remains October 25, 1995. FANS Inc. "has let it be known that perhaps the stadium could be completed ahead of schedule -- say in August -- meaning the Rams could play the entire 1995 regular season in the dome if they moved here" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/24). HARTFORD: CT Gov. Lowell Weicker is not optimistic about the Rams moving to Hartford (AP/Baltimore SUN, 9/25).
Software millionaire John Moores has "agreed in principle" to buy the Padres, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. "But the final transaction may not occur for weeks or months because of baseball's uncertain future." The source indicated that dollar figures are "being attached to each contingency" of baseball's uncertain future: whether there will be revenue-sharing, if the antitrust exemption is lifted, if the '95 season will start on time, or if other MLB owners wait until a new labor agreement is signed before approving the sale. In any event, the current Padres ownership is expected to receive less than the $75M they paid for the team in '90. To be determined is how much of the team's '94 debt will assumed by Moores. One Padres insider said the team is expected to lose $11M. Moores has been silent since his name has been floated as a potential suitor, "perhaps in deference to Padres owners, who were angered by the public posturing of previous suitor Norton Herrick." Herrick now heads the ownership group for Orlando's expansion bid. Former Orioles President Larry Lucchino is expected to oversee baseball operations for Moores, receiving equity in the team for his effort (Buster Olney, San Diego UNION- TRIBUNE, 9/24).
The chief negotiator for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Ed De Silva, is working out the "final details of an offer" to Raiders Owner Al Davis that includes major stadium renovations and a commitment by the football team to return to Oakland for at least 15 years. De Silva said the new offer -- "which could be brought to the Coliseum board of directors as early as next month" -- involves the sale of bonds by the city of Oakland and Alameda County to finance stadium reconstruction. The Oakland proposal calls for city and county construction bonds to be paid off with football revenues. De Silva "declined to discuss specifics of revenue-sharing or stadium renovations, saying details are still being worked out." The renovations would be similar to those proposed during Oakland's '90 attempt to lure back the Raiders. "One major difference" from the '90 offer is that the Raiders would not be guaranteed income. Any offer to the Raiders would first need the approval of the Coliseum board, the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (Judy Ronningen, S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/23).