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Flagship station sues Marlins

The Florida Marlins have been sued by their flagship radio station, claiming that last season's breakup of a World Series champion cost it profits.

The lawsuit, filed this week by WQAM and parent company Beasley-Reed Acquisitions, seeks an unspecified reduction in their rights fee from last season and for the next three seasons. Also named as a defendant is Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga's Front Row Communications.

WQAM's five-year, $15-million contract took effect before the 1997 season when the Marlins won the World Series. The station wants to keep the games but at a reduced price.

The Marlins lost 108 games last season after many key players from the championship team were traded in cost-cutting moves.

Prospective owner John Henry said he thinks WQAM does not have grounds for a lawsuit and that it will not affect his ongoing acquisition of the team.

"If WQAM refuses to pay the rights fee, the simplest thing might be to move the games to another station," Henry said. "but I very much hope WQAM will remain our flagship station, and I expect them to be."

MORE BASEBALL: The Sacramento Steelheads of the independent Western League offered former Reds great Pete Rose $100,000 and part ownership in an effort to woo him into managing the club in 1999, Steelheads owner Bruce Portner told the Cincinnati Post.

SKIING: Martin Schmitt of Germany jumped a course-record 123.0 meters to win the second event of the Four Hills ski-jumping tournament at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Schmitt has won six of the eight World Cup event he's entered this season.

YACHTING: Italian Giovanni Soldini won the second leg of the Around Alone around-the-world race after British rival and leader Mike Golding's yacht hit a submerged object and began taking on water. A team of boat builders flew to assist Golding in the remote Tom Bowling Bay in the far north of New Zealand after he damaged his yacht Friday.

TENNIS: Australian Open champion Petr Korda planned to retire but changed his mind because he wants to clear his name after failing a steroids test. "I couldn't retire in such circumstances," he told The Times of London. . . . Martina Hingis is determined to use the Hopman Cup to regain the No. 1 ranking, which she lost to Lindsay Davenport. Hingis and Switzerland play Davenport and the United States in a second-round match. "I've been there at the top," Hingis said, "and want to have the feeling back again."

OLYMPICS: The group that is trying to dome the Cotton Bowl wants to make it the centerpiece of Dallas' bid for the 2012 Games at a cost of $250-million. Darrell Jordan, chairman of the Cotton Bowl Dome Foundation, said financing and engineering studies show it could serve as the site for the Opening and Closing Ceremony and track and field competition.

_ Compiled from Times wires.