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McHale: We're still talking

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- While the commissioner's office is believed to be working behind the scenes to make the deal happen, John McHale Jr. said Wednesday there have been no developments in his possible move to Tampa Bay as Rays chief operating officer.

"There really isn't anything different," McHale said. "I'm involved in a process that is ongoing, and I have no presumption that it will culminate within 48 hours or 72 hours. ... I don't know when to predict it will culminate.

"I'm reasonably satisfied with how it's gone, and we'll see how it goes."

McHale, the Tigers president, has been considered the top choice for the job since the Rays announced April 27 they were seeking to fill the post. Conflicts between Vince Naimoli and the other general partners, and among the other partners themselves, apparently stalled the talks last week, but the Times and Detroit-area newspapers have reported a deal still may be worked out. If so, an announcement is expected by the middle of next week.

With the McHale situation, Naimoli's status and the team's future unsettled, rumors and false information are circulating rapidly. The latest, the Rays said, was an unconfirmed report Wednesday in a Tampa newspaper that four representatives of the commissioner's office visited Tropicana Field on Monday.

"Not even one representative of Major League Baseball, let alone four, was at Tropicana Field on Monday or any other time this week concerning ownership issues or the hiring of a COO," said John Higgins, the team's senior vice president and general counsel.

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