Tampa Bay ownership group leader Vince Naimoli said Saturday he is looking forward to making a presentation to the Major League Baseball expansion committee next month.
Naimoli was returning from an overseas business trip Friday when he learned his group was one of five invited to the Nov. 1 session in Chicago. "We are encouraged," Naimoli said. "This is another step on the path, and one we had to get to. Now we will on Nov. 1."
Naimoli said finishing touches will be put on the Tampa Bay presentation sometime this week. One possibility is that retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf may be part of the Tampa Bay presentation team.
"We have all the facts going for us," Naimoli said.
Also invited to the meeting are groups from Orlando, Phoenix and two from northern Virginia.
Owners to withdraw
The salary-cap proposal that triggered the strike that killed the World Series is about to become even less appealing to the players. According to a memo sent to the clubs last week, the owners plan to withdraw the $1-billion guarantee they offered players in their original proposal.
The guarantee was a significant element of the plan in which the owners would give the players 50 percent of their revenue for salaries and other player costs. The $1-billion figure was based on the projected players' share of the owners' estimated $1.78-billion revenue this year. The strike, however, could leave the owners with as little as $1.2-billion.
"In light of the economic damage done," the memo said, "the clubs will withdraw the $1-billion guarantee. The players would still be entitled to 50 percent of the revenues, but they would have to assume the risk that 50 percent would be less than the $1-billion they would have earned in 1994."
_ Staff writer Marc Topkin, Associated Press and the New York Times contributed to this report.