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Decision nears on team name

Tampa Bay fans don't know yet if they are going to get a baseball team, but they soon may know the team's name. Stephen Porter, managing partner of the Tampa Bay ownership group, is considering final name candidates and said he may announce his group's decision by the end of the week.

The group has incorporated under two possible names _ Florida Suns and Florida Tides _ but Porter indicated neither would be the final name.

"We have reserved some trademarks, but I feel it all may be superfluous," he said.

A name-the-team contest produced in excess of 15,000 entries, and Porter's St. Petersburg staff has whittled the list to 30.

The list was faxed to Porter in his Washington office Monday, and he said he'll likely make a decision and announce it this week.

Among the most common names suggested during the contest were: Tides, Suns, Manatees, Barracudas, Sharks, Storms, Tarpons, Thunder, Thunderbolts and Tropics.

Major League Baseball Properties, the licensing arm of Major League Baseball, wants to have names and logos of all six finalists prepared so the winning two can be revealed at the June 12 announcement.

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