FANS point man Sen. Tom Eagleton declined to give specifics on the recent negotiations with the Rams to move the team to St. Louis, but he said "many differences" emerged between their proposal and Rams' wish list. Eagleton: "We rejected many items on their wish list. And the ones we rejected will remain rejected." Eagleton noted differences "amount pretty much to one word: money." U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, who represents St. Louis, said any changes to FANS's proposal would likely be minor. One source "with knowledge of the negotiations" said the Rams were "impressed" with the offer but wanted specific aspects restructured. Eagleton added: "In all candor, more than once, Mr. Shaw wondered about St. Louis as a football town. We tried to assure him as best we could." Eagleton admitted that the Rams "believe Baltimore has greater intensity, greater zealotry" for football (Bernie Miklasz, ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 10/14). BALTIMORE BID BOOSTED? Orioles Owner Peter Angelos said he believes Baltimore's efforts to attract the Rams will "improve dramatically" if the Redskins decide to build a new stadium in DC, rather than MD. Angelos plans to call Shaw "very soon" to resume negotiations and said Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke's "setback" in efforts to build a stadium in Laurel, MD were "now reverberating throughout" the NFL. But "one highly placed league source" said that even if Cooke stays in DC, some owners would be "concerned" about the proximity of Baltimore and DC teams. Rams owner Georgia Frontiere is considered "sensitive to the wishes" of NFL owners and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. One source said Frontiere is "not geared toward being litigious" (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 10/14). Baltimore CFL owner Jim Speros told the WASHINGTON TIMES, "As long as Cooke owns the Redskins, there will never be an NFL team in Baltimore" (Kevin Lyons, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/14).
Steelers President Dan Rooney said yesterday that the current labor dispute in baseball is "complicating efforts" to purchase the Pirates and could cause his family to withdraw from the bidding. Rooney said that small-market teams such as the Pirates need revenue sharing and a salary cap for financial reasons. Rooney contended that without such financial restraints it would be difficult to maintain a baseball team in Pittsburgh: "This deal might be so difficult, we might feel it's impossible to do it. There are a lot of factors that still have to be worked out to make this deal attractive." Rooney added that he is concerned that if the Pirates leave Pittsburgh, the city's image will receive "serious damage." The Rooney family is among six local groups that have submitted bids for the Pirates (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/14).