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ROGER, HOUSTON -- OVER AND OUT? MCLANE TO STAR PROCESS?
Published August 7, 1996
Astros Owner Drayton McLane meets with MLB's Executive Council in Milwaukee today to discuss the financial condition of his club and review negotiations with Harris County on a new stadium, according to the WASHINGTON POST. It is unclear if McLane will ask for clearance to re-open talks to move the Astros to Northern VA. However, Astros Senior VP Bob McClaren said the issue could come up if the Council is "receptive" to the club's situation. One MLB owner said McLane "almost certainly will not" formally petition for relocation, noting such a move is "another two weeks to a month away." Yesterday, McLane and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels met for the first time since Eckels' pitch for a $250M ballpark last week. McLane told Eckels the offer is "unacceptable" because of the $8M a year club contribution (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 8/7). RUT-RO: Eckels is urging MLB to wait until a proposed November referendum before deciding on a move. As evidence of voter support for a new facility, he cited a poll commissioned by the county of 650 likely voters which shows 62% support for building the ballpark on the terms Eckels offered on August 1. Eckels: "It would be foolish for the league to then turn around and say, 'We're sorry Houston, we don't care what you think, we don't care about your support for the sports, we're going to leave you short.'" Virginia Baseball Exec VP Mike Scanlon said they would have no comment until McLane receives MLB's permission to re-open talks. Scanlon: "We're not even mentioning the H- word or the A-word." Meanwhile, county commissioners approved Eckels' request to hire Philadelphia-based Stafford Sports Ventures and Houston-based Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton to help with stadium planning. Eckels had passed on Stafford because the firm had a contract with VA's Baseball Stadium Authority. Eckels is now "satisfied" Stafford is not working for VA (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/7).