SBD/10/Franchises

RIGAS-MORTIS SETTING IN AGAIN IN PITTSBURGH?

     With Kevin McClatchy's bid for the Pirates "seemingly in
peril," two previous local bidders for the team have joined
forces "to make a last ditch run for the team," according to
Steve Halvonik of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  Penguins Owner
Howard Baldwin and cable TV magnate John Rigas "believe they are
an unbeatable combination" to buy the team if McClatchy's bid
fails.  A spokesperson for Rigas said the two have reached an
understanding on a partnership that will make a bid if, and only
if, McClatchy's bid fails.  Baldwin reportedly believes "there
are marketing and business advantages to combining management of
the two small-market teams."  He made an unsolicited bid for the
team in January '94 that was rejected because it did not contain
enough cash.  Rigas failed in his $85.15M bid for the club
earlier this year (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/8).  McClatchy's
bid "is at least" $10M short of the cash he needs, and may be as
much as $20M short, sources told the WASHINGTON POST.  Mark Maske
reports that one baseball source said the deal "hasn't collapsed
yet," but is "pretty much hanging by a thread" (WASHINGTON POST,
10/8).  Virginia Baseball Inc. head William Collins "has
intensified his efforts" to buy the Pirates and move them to the
Washington area (WASHINGTON POST, 10/7).  Bart Fisher, a DC
attorney who leads another VA-based baseball group, said Friday
he assumes the bidding "will open up to out of town bidders at
this point."  Fisher has said he would keep the team in
Pittsburgh (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/7).
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