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Volume 24 No. 157
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     MLB's ownership committee is scheduled to vote today on
whether to give John Rigas, Chair of Adelphia Communications
Corp., preliminary approval to buy the Pirates.  Rigas needs such
approval before he can negotiate with Pirates ownership, as it
"signifies that the ownership committee believes Rigas would be a
fit owner and has the financial resources to own and operate a
ballclub."  Once approved, Rigas has until January 29 to reach a
deal, the date when a "180-day option that gives the city first
crack at finding a buyer expires."  After the 29th, owners of the
Pirates can open up the sale to out-of-town buyers.  Although
Rigas could be approved today, neither he nor the Pirates would
speculate on when talks between the two sides would commence
(Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/23).
     PIRATES GUARANTEE ENJOYMENT:  The Pirates' "Guaranteed
Offer" -- based on replacement players comprising the Pirates,
and in effect through May 19 -- will allow any fan who purchases
a ticket for games on May 20 and after and who is not satisfied
with Pirates baseball through May 19 to receive a full refund for
any remaining home games.  The offer will be in effect through
May 19 unless a CBA is reached, or a "representative number of
striking major leaguers return to play by that date."  Pirates VP
Marketing Steve Greenberg said that 62% of full-season and 40%
partial ticket holders have renewed so far:  "We're doing OK.
Not great. Not bad" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/22).