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     The partnership headed by telecomm exec William Collins has
"emerged as the clear front-runner" among the two potential
ownership groups seeking an MLB franchise for Northern VA.  One
baseball official close to the process: "If we decide we want to
expand into that area, it looks at this point like the Collins
group is the one we'll be dealing with."  Sources said that at
the Chicago meeting on Tuesday, Collins' presentation was "more
impressive" than the one given by the coalition led by Washington
lawyer Bart Fisher.  One local official familiar with both
presentations: "Collins's group was much stronger.  The financing
is solid stuff.  With Fisher, it was like, 'We are happy to meet
with you when you put the numbers all together.'"  Fisher is
hoping to counter Collins' bid with the addition of a coalition
of minority investors.  Fisher's group would be the first MLB
team headed by minority ownership (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON
POST, 11/3).
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