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COUNTDOWN BACK ON IN HOUSTON? VA BASEBALL PONDERS OPTIONS
Published September 11, 1996
Astros Owner Drayton McLane says he will decide by the end of the week whether to put his team up for sale, but has publicly asked to first meet with Houston Mayor Bob Lanier to discuss his situation, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. McLane has said if he cannot strike a stadium deal in Houston, he will resume negotiations with VA Baseball Inc., who last year offered a reported $160M for the Astros. Meanwhile, Houston Property Rights Association President Barry Klein, a local opponent of publicly subsidized stadiums, said he will not legally challenge a November 5 ballpark referendum approved two weeks ago. Klein is, however, organizing a political action committee to oppose the referendum (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/11). In D.C., Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST reports the Astros and Harris County officials are "inching closer" to a stadium funding plan that would keep the team in Houston. Negotiations continue to focus on McLane's contribution to the project and which party would be responsible for cost overruns. Astros Senior VP/Business Operations Bob McClaren: "Hopefully, we can get an understanding in the next few days" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11). Noting Houston's civic and political leaders have "started to get together," ESPN's Peter Gammons said "things look very good" for the Astros and Harris County to come to a stadium deal possibly "as early as this week" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/10). VA BASEBALL NEWS: The POST's Maske reports that VA Baseball "plans to abandon" its effort to secure a MLB franchise for the Northern VA/Washington area if it is not awarded a team by the end of '97. Maske also cites sources within VA Baseball who note the group has made "renewed inquiries" about the status of the Pirates and Expos (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11). But VA Baseball Exec VP Mike Scanlon told THE DAILY the Post story "needed clarification" in that the organization has made "no determinations" about its post-'97 future and that "no decisions and no deadlines will be made without talking with Major League Baseball first." Scanlon added the group's "long-term strategy" is to get a team, "one way or the other" (THE DAILY).