Vincent says chances of Mariners deal slimBaseball...

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February 05, 1992

Vincent says chances of Mariners deal slim

Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent said yesterday that there was still a chance, though remote, that the Seattle Mariners would be sold to a Japanese-led group. Hiroshi Yamauchi, president of Nintendo Co., has proposed to finance a group that would purchase the Mariners from Jeff Smulyan, who is trying to sell the club for $100 million.

The proposed deal was called "unlikely" by Vincent when it was proposed Jan. 23 and has gained no public support thus far from owners of the other 25 teams. "I don't think I would change my statement," Vincent said after a 75-minute meeting with Washington Gov. Booth Gardner and Seattle Mayor Norman Rice. Vincent said his coolness to the bid was not based on racism or anti-Japanese feeling.

Smulyan, under pressure from bankers to sell the team, has met with officials of St. Petersburg, Fla., which is trying to lure the Mariners. Vincent repeated that the Mariners would play in Seattle in 1992. Vincent said the purpose of the meeting was to consider "what the community could do in the business sector to maintain baseball in Seattle." The Nintendo-backed offer will be taken up tomorrow by baseball's ownership committee.

Pro basketball

Former San Antonio Spurs coach Larry Brown will be named head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow, a San Antonio television station reported last night. A "reliable source on the West Coast" provided the information that Brown would succeed Mike Schuler, KSAT-TV in San Antonio reported.

College basketball

South Carolina forward Joe Rhett's college career is over after medical tests showed he could collapse again. Tests performed last week on Rhett after he collapsed in a game Jan. 25 showed he has two conditions that "predispose him to . . . [collapsing] during periods of intense exercise," team physician Bill McKenzie said.

The first is that the 6-foot-8 senior from Columbia, S.C., suffers from a slow heartbeat at rest, for which two years ago he had a pacemaker implanted. The second condition -- an irregular heartbeat during intense exercise -- was uncovered during the tests last week at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

* Nevada-Las Vegas leading scorer J. R. Rider has been declared ineligible by university officials after they determined he did not pay his own bail when arrested during an altercation with a Las Vegas police officer. Rider was not suspended, however, and will continue to practice with the Runnin' Rebels basketball team during the ongoing investigation, UNLV athletic director Jim Weaver said.

Rider will have to make restitution on the $200 bail before UNLV can apply for his reinstatement from the NCAA. He could be eligible for the 17th-ranked team's next game, tomorrow against Santa Barbara.

* A lawsuit on behalf of the 8-year-old son of the late Hank Gathers, alleging negligence by former Loyola Marymount basketball coach Paul Westhead, has been withdrawn, attorneys for both sides said. The boy's attorneys, also representing Gathers' estate, said that after almost two years of pretrial discovery, it has become apparent to them that there is no evidence of individual liability on the part of Westhead, now head coach of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

Claims by Gathers' estate against Westhead also were withdrawn. Westhead was the Loyola Marymount coach when Gathers, 23, collapsed during a game at Loyola's Gersten Pavilion on March 4, 1990, and was pronounced dead less than two hours later at a nearby hospital.

Pro football

Babe Laufenberg, one of the NFL's most traveled PTC quarterbacks the past eight years, will travel once more. Laufenberg, the quintessential third-stringer who had a half-dozen stints with the Washington Redskins and an almost equal number with the San Diego Chargers before being cut by the Dallas Cowboys last summer, was the second overall pick in the World League of American Football's second draft.

Laufenberg, 32, who last played for the Cowboys in the final game of the 1990 season, was taken by the expansion Ohio Glory. The first pick in the draft, conducted by telephone from Dallas, was George Bethune, an outside linebacker who spent 1989 and 1990 with the Los Angeles Rams, who was taken by the Sacramento Surge. All the players eligible had been signed by the league before the draft.

Two former University of Maryland players were taken -- offensive tackle Ben Jefferson by Ohio in the first round, and defensive end O'Brien Alston by San Antonio in the eighth round.

Tennis

Next month's Davis Cup quarterfinal between the United States and Czechoslovakia will be played March 27-29 on an outdoor hard court in Fort Myers, Fla., the U.S. Tennis Association announced.

Boxing

Promoter Josh Hall has scheduled a seven-bout dinner-boxing card at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie tomorrow night featuring heavyweights Jerry Jones (7-4) of Hillcrest Heights against Nahaniel Finch (5-1) of Spring Lake, N.C.

A pair of six-round bouts will match Pasadena junior welterweight Mark Padeletti against Steve Frederick of Washington, and Baltimore light-heavyweight Cecil Sims against Cliff McPherson of Glen Burnie. Tickets priced at $30 may be reserved by calling (410) 789-9723 or (410) 760-2699. The fights begin at 8 p.m.

Soccer

Organizers of the 1994 World Cup said that the cities chosen to play host for the 52-game tournament will be announced at a news conference in New York March 23.

Alan Rothenberg, chairman of the organizing committee, World Cup USA 1994, had said last month that 12 cities would be picked from the 19 communities still in contention. But he backed off that yesterday and said there was a chance only eight would be chosen. Washington is among the cities still in contention.

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