SBD/23/Franchises

HOUSTON, PART II: OWNERS TO RESTRICT ASTROS FLIGHT?

     Reports in Houston and Washington, DC, focus on the
likelihood MLB owners would reject a sale of the Astros to
William Collins and the team's subsequent relocation to the
Northern VA area.  NL President Leonard Coleman:  "There's a
process in baseball. ... And that process is yet to begin."  In
Houston, Alan Truex notes, despite Collins' stated wish to have
the deal done by Thanksgiving, an MLB relocation committee would
have to consider the proposal and any move would require a 3/4
vote (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/22).  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
Selig echoed Coleman's comments in an interview with the
WASHINGTON POST.  Selig praised Collins for his aggressiveness,
but noted the "reasonable" procedural requirements.  Selig:  "One
of the factors is, is there a local buyer?" (Mark Maske,
WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).  One MLB "insider":  "This isn't the
NFL.  These owners are not going to just yawn and let this happen
in a matter of a few weeks."  One source says owners will try to
convince Astros Owner Drayton McLane to "hold on for one more
year" (Terry Blount, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/21).  The POST's Maske
notes other MLB owners "apparently are upset that McLane is
talking to Collins without having made an intense effort to sell
the team to local buyers" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/21).
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