SBD/Issue 80/Leagues & Governing Bodies

First Day Of MLB Owners Meetings Marked Mostly With Inaction

McCourt's Bid For Dodgers Still Under Review

MLB owners today conclude two days of meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today's sessions will include further examination of a baseball World Cup and a 24-hour baseball-only cable network (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/15).

DODGERS: In L.A., Ross Newhan cites a high-ranking MLB exec as saying yesterday that "issues pertaining to baseball's debt-equity rule" in Frank McCourt's $430M bid to buy the Dodgers "continue to be a concern." Since McCourt plans to finance the deal "entirely through loans," the source said, "The man has $400[M] in net worth. That's not the issue. The concern is with his liquidity." A source close to McCourt, referring to MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy indicating last week that he "did not foresee any significant obstacles in the path of approval," added he was "not aware of anything that has happened that might change the way (DuPuy) characterized it last Friday." DuPuy yesterday revealed that a meeting with McCourt and the MLB Ownership Committee will take place next week in L.A. Newhan adds, "A sure indication there are unresolved problems with the proposal" (L.A. TIMES, 1/15). MLB.com's Barry Bloom noted the deal is facing a January 31 deadline. DuPuy said, "Any vote, whether by fax or telephone, is up to the Commissioner. There's a desire of the buyer and the seller to close by the end of the month and the Commissioner is aware of that desire" (MLB.com, 1/14).

EXPOS: In DC, Mark Asher reports the MLB relocation committee yesterday was "expected to pare its list of candidates to land" the Expos down from eight, but "delayed doing so." DuPuy indicated that he "preferred a timetable that would focus on negotiations with the finalists in February, March and April, hoping to send a recommendation to [Commissioner Bud] Selig by May 1." DuPuy does not "expect the list of potential bidders to be pared" in the next 30 to 60 days (WASHINGTON POST, 1/15). DuPuy: "It is an objective to have a facility committed for and understand how the facility is going to come together before a decision is made. We don't want to do something in the blind" (MLB.com, 1/14).

EPHEDRA: MLB.com's Bloom also reported MLB is "currently negotiating with the [MLBPA] to place" ephedra on the list of banned substances in MLB. MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations & HR Rob Manfred said, "Because ephedra is not a steroid, it doesn't automatically become banned. But we're moving toward an agreement" (MLB.com, 1/14).

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