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Investors want to explain proposal to buy Mariners

Members of the Japanese-backed group seeking to buy the Seattle Mariners may get a chance to meet with baseball's ownership committee next month.

The group has said it was looking forward to sitting down with baseball officials to explain its structure.

Ownership committee chairman Fred Kuhlmann told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer he was in favor of a meeting, possibly at the owners' March 4-5 quarterly get-together.

"I think if they would like to have the opportunity to talk to the committee, I don't know why we shouldn't give them that opportunity," Kuhlmann said.

The group said it will respond next week to the committee's request for additional financial and background information. One point it is expected to emphasize is that while Japanese businessman Hiroshi Yamauchi will provide 60 percent of the money and Seattle-area businessmen will provide 40 percent, it will take a majority of 85 percent to make any decision.

In Seattle, meanwhile, a cable TV company executive said a proposed deal with the team is in trouble. A $2-million cable TV deal is considered a key part of the $13-million annual revenue package to keep the team in Seattle.

"We're not bailing out, but it's past D-Day and we haven't lined up anything yet," said Eric Kronen, senior vice president of Viacom Cable. "We were hoping this would have been settled long before now."

The $13-million package is being offered in return for a three-year commitment from the team's ownership. A ruling on the Japanese purchase offer is not expected for several months. Current owner Jeff Smulyan said he would consider a one-year deal, but Kronen said it was unlikely his company would agree.

As a result, the Mariners remain the only major-league team without a 1992 TV deal.

Also, Smulyan has received an extension on a $39.5-million loan he used to buy the team. The loan was due Feb. 1, but Smulyan has arranged an extension, team spokesman Dave Aust said.

Huizenga to be honored

The Florida Sports Foundation will honor Florida Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga tonight in Tallahassee for bringing the first major-league baseball team to the state.

Huizenga may use the forum to say he isn't trying to stop Tampa Bay from landing the second team.

Members of the Pinellas legislative delegation have threatened to alter a law that would provide the Marlins a $60-million tax break if Huizenga was indeed interfering with St. Petersburg's efforts.

Huizenga came to St. Petersburg last week to say he is not impeding and, actually, would support a relocation of the Seattle Mariners.

Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent will attend tonight's reception as Huizenga's guest.

The reception is part of the Florida Sports Foundation's annual sports summit, an afternoon of sports related seminars. The Florida Sports Hall of Fame will announce its 1991 inductees and its pro and amateur athletes of the year.

Dodgers: Outfielder Kal Daniels (.249, 17 home runs and 73 RBI) avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.5-million.

Braves: Reliever Alejandro Pena (8-1, 15 saves and 2.40 ERA) signed a one-year deal worth $2.65-million. (See transactions, 11C)

_ The Associated Press was used in this report