DuPuy hopes Expos derby ends within month

Committee head's goal is Aug. owners' meeting

Baseball

July 13, 2004|By Ed Waldman | Ed Waldman,SUN STAFF

HOUSTON -- The man leading the search for a new home for the Montreal Expos said yesterday that he hopes Major League Baseball will have a decision by the owners' meeting next month in Philadelphia.

"I think that's a good working goal," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, referring to the meeting scheduled Aug. 17-20. "The sooner we get it done, the better.

"It's just a matter of making a decision and getting things done," DuPuy added before a news conference honoring baseball's living 500 home run hitters.

He said MLB officials continue to meet with the candidates, and none has been eliminated. The contenders for the Expos are Washington; Northern Virginia; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore.; Norfolk, Va.; Monterrey, Mexico; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Baseball has been looking for a new home for the Expos since it bought the team for $120 million from Jeffrey Loria in February 2002 in a complicated deal that allowed Loria to buy the Florida Marlins and then-Marlins owner John Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox.

At MLB's last owners meeting in June, league executives had expressed hope that a new Expos home could be announced by the All-Star break.

"When the decision is made, it will be made," DuPuy said. "It is difficult to have each step of your process analyzed. When the commissioner makes a decision and we've got an agreement in place, we'll announce it.

"I believe it will happen this summer. I think it's very important that we get it done this year."

DuPuy said he has not been lobbied recently by Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

"He has expressed his view in regard to the impact that a club in the Washington area would have on the Orioles," DuPuy said. "They've done a study. He's made no secret about the fact that he thinks it will have a negative impact. And the commissioner has made no secret of the fact that he's concerned about any location having an impact on an existing franchise."

If Washington or Northern Virginia were chosen, DuPuy said, it would be an issue that "would have to be resolved and reconciled." Previous speculation has centered on Angelos' receiving a payment -- as much as $100 million in some reports -- to compensate him for the loss of the Washington market.

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