The Ackerley Group "will not invest in the Marlins
because the Seattle-based company cannot have the control it
wants," according to Antonio Fins of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-
SENTINEL. The end of the negotiations with Ackerley "raises
questions about how, or whether," Marlins President Don
Smiley will be able to buy the team. Ackerley CEO & Sonics
Owner Barry Ackerley said in a statement that he ended
negotiations because the "proposed deal was not consistent
with the Ackerley Group's investment criteria of having a
leading ownership position in all its investments and
acquisitions." Smiley had no comment (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/18).
POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY: In FL, David O'Brien writes that
Marlins Manager Jim Leyland has become "a more conspicuous
proponent of a publicly supported baseball stadium than he
was during the season." Leyland: "For some reason, people
act like [Marlins Owner] Wayne Huizenga should take South
Florida out to dinner every night. ... People have this
perception you're building [a stadium] for some $8 million
or $10 million ballplayer. That's absolutely not true.
You're building it for the area" (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/18).
Flyers C Eric Lindros signed a contract extension
Wednesday, "further setting $8.5 million and shorter-term
contracts as benchmarks for elite NHL players," according to
USA TODAY's Mike Brehm. Lindros' pay will rise from $3.75M
to $7.5M this season, and he'll make $8.5M next season, the
figure the Mighty Ducks' Paul Kariya agreed to last week for
'98-99. Agent Tom Laidlaw: "Not only were the numbers
pretty high, but the short term shocked a lot of people"
(USA TODAY, 12/18). In Philadelphia, columnist Bill Lyon:
"This is the sad and pathetic state of sports at the moment:
Almost $13 million changed hands in Philadelphia yesterday
and neither side is happy. The Flyers signed the player
they believe to be the very best in his sport for another
season, and yet his team's owner confessed to emotional
emptiness." Flyers Chair Ed Snider: "There is no
exhilaration" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/18).