By MARC TOPKIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- John McHale Jr. was in his Detroit office Thursday afternoon conducting business related to running the Tigers.
He is expected to be in the bay area this morning to meet with representatives of the Tampa Bay ownership group for conversations related to taking over the Rays.
McHale is believed to be the leading and perhaps only candidate under consideration to be the Rays' first chief operating officer and if negotiations go well a deal could be made quickly.
Whether it gets done today or if talks carry over, as some expect, until next week, McHale needs to be back in Michigan by this evening to prepare for his daughter, Frances, to make her first communion on Saturday.
The process remains shrouded in secrecy. Team officials said they had no knowledge of a meeting, and McHale remains limited in his comments except to say the process was proceeding.
"I've been contacted and my contacts asked me not to speak about it, and I'm trying to honor their request," McHale said.