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DODGER REPORT

Potential Buyers Are Still in the Running

May 21, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Although News Corp. is negotiating exclusively with Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner Malcolm Glazer, the other groups hoping to purchase the Dodgers reaffirmed Tuesday they plan to remain in the process until major league baseball approves the sale, sources involved in the talks said.

Los Angeles real estate tycoon Alan Casden has decided not to withdraw his bid for the franchise and Dodger Stadium, which is believed to be the highest at $450 million, hoping that a deal with Glazer, which baseball executives said appears imminent, hits a snag in the next few weeks.

Radio entrepreneur Jeffrey Smulyan, the former Seattle Mariner owner, also has left his offer on the table despite recently being informed that News Corp. will not sell the six television stations his media company was seeking as part of the deal, ending his aggressive pursuit of the club.

Because major league owners must approve the transaction, representatives of the Casden and Smulyan groups have continued to express their interest to News Corp. executives, believing the door is still slightly ajar.

Meanwhile, News Corp. and Glazer, the leading candidate throughout a process that began in early April, apparently have continued to speed toward a deal that some baseball officials expect to be ratified by owners in August.

Glazer's bid is believed to be in the $400-million range. Casden and Glazer have not pursued the purchase of any Fox television stations.

Glazer recently cleared a hurdle to purchase the club when NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the acquisition would not violate the league's cross-ownership rules. Glazer, 74, is expected to buy the team for his son, Edward, who lives in Southern California and has overseen negotiations with News Corp.

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Despite batting only .192, Adrian Beltre is still high on the list for teams seeking to add potential impact players before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline, scouts following the Dodgers said.

"It's always good if people think you're a good player, but this is where I want to be," Beltre said. "I'm not thinking about going anywhere else."

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Funeral services for longtime Dodger trainer Bill Buhler, who died Saturday after a lengthy illness, will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Long Beach.

"He was such an innovator in so many ways," Tom Lasorda said, "and he was a father figure to all of us." In lieu of flowers, Buhler's family has requested that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The donations can be sent to Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163.

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The judge in the Dodger lawsuit against Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has set a June 9 hearing. The Dodgers are seeking $4 million in unreimbursed insurance payments for Kevin Brown.

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