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Pittsburgh talks to new buyer group

The Pirates still have not been sold, and the buyers may be changing.

Mayor Tom Murphy met Tuesday with investors led by Kevin McClatchy, a member of the family that owns McClatchy Newspapers, at the request of owners frustrated by the failure to conclude a deal with John J. Rigas, chairman of the Adelphia Communications cable TV company.

"The mayor did agree with the Pirates that if documents were not signed with the Rigases by (Monday), he would be willing to meet with one purchaser that the Pirates have recommended," said William Newlin, Murphy's special counsel for the sale. "This does not exclude continuing good-faith negotiations with the Rigases."

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Major League Baseball told Rigas last Wednesday that the $41-million cash in his $85-million offer was insufficient to buy and operate the Pirates. The team's debt is more than $100-million.

Bill Craig, general manager of PrimeSports/KBL, the Pirates' cable channel, said the new group, like Rigas, promises to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

Labor: National Labor Relations Board chairman William Gould, speaking at a sports law conference, urged players and owners to return to bargaining immediately "so fans can focus on the pennant races and the new statistical achievements of individual players without the distraction which seems to plague all professional sports in our time."

All-Stars: Confirming news that leaked out late last week, the NL announced that the Marlins will host the All-Star Game at Joe Robbie Stadium in the year 2000.