Originally created 11/07/97

Marlins owner closer to selling team



Winning the World Series didn't change the bottom line for Florida Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga. He announced Thursday he is close to selling the team to a group headed by team president Don Smiley.

The group -- at least 25 investors -- has 30 days to reach a sale agreement. The asking price for the team is said to be $150 million, and Smiley's group reportedly has commitments for two-thirds of the money.

Huizenga will continue to own the team until baseball approves any sale, a process that usually takes 6-to-12 months. He thinks local governments, who agreed to finance an arena for for his Florida Panthers of the NHL, won't work with him on building a retractable-roof ballpark for the Marlins.

The billionaire also owns the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Both the Dolphins and the Marlins play at the Huizenga-owned Pro Player Stadium, where money for luxury boxes goes to pay bondholders.

  • Los Angeles outfielder Brett Butler, who intends to retire, filed for free agency along with Seattle second baseman Joey Cora.
  • There have been 133 players who have filed for free agency thus far, and up to eight more players are potentially eligible to file by Monday's deadline.

    After signing Tim Wakefield to a $12 million, three-year contract on Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox agreed to an $8 million, two-year extension through 2000 with pitcher Tom Gordon, who would have been eligible for free agency after next season.

    Also Thursday, Boston acquired Jim Leyritz and outfielder Damon Buford from the Texas Rangers for pitchers Aaron Sele and Mark Brandenberg and catcher Bill Haselman.

    HIGH SCHOOLS: The Georgia High School association agreed to a deal with Georgia Public Television to broadcast all eight semifinal football games to be played Dec. 12-13 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and the Class AAAA and AAA championship games.

    Legendary Georgia play-by-play commentator Larry Munson will call the championship games with former Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note.

    GPTV will also broadcast live the state basketball finals in the spring.

    BASKETBALL: Former Westside High star William Avery may receive a lot of playing time as a freshman at Duke if the Blue Devils' first two exhibitions are an indication. Avery, the backup to starting point guard Steve Wojciechowski, had 11 points in a Blue-White scrimmage and 16 points, six assists and no turnovers in a 128-74 victory over the Upstate All-Stars. Avery was a combined 10-for-17 from the field.

  • Former Thomson High star Vonteego Cummings of Pittsburgh was picked to the all-Big East Conference preseason team at the Big East media day in New York. The 6-3 Cummings, a junior guard, was joined by preseason player of the year choice Pat Garrity of Notre Dame, St. John's Zendon Hamilton, junior Tim James of Miami and sophomore Shaheen Holloway of Seton Hall. Connecticut, with former Westside High star Ricky Moore at point guard, was the pick to win the Big East 6.
  • Clemson faces a stiff exhibition test tonight when the Tigers take on the Australian National Team at Littlejohn Coliseum at 7. Eleven NBA scouts are expected to attend to see Clemson and the Australians' Ben Pepper, who was drafted by the NBA's Boston Celtics. The Aussies beat Illinois 87-61 and lost a close game at Purdue. Clemson beat Marathon Oil 73-65 on Monday and opens the season on Nov. 14 against UNC-Wilmington.
  • Kendrick Smith scored 33 points, including six 3-pointers, and Derek Moore had 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots Wednesday as the Cardinal beat the White 107-100 in USC-Aiken's first-ever intrasquad scrimmage. The Pacers play the Columbia Sharkheads on Monday at 7:30 p.m., in their next exhibition. The Sharkheads are led by former NBA star Xavier McDaniel and former South Carolina guard Carey Rich. USC-Aiken opens the regular season at Queens College on Nov. 15.
  • Craig Dawson of Kinston, N.C., one of the nation's top high school basketball players, has decided to accept a basketball scholarship at Wake Forest. The 6-5 shooting guard canceled trips to Kentucky and Florida State after choosing Wake Forest.
  • SOCCER: Augusta State's four-overtime victory over North Florida on Wednesday propelled the Jaguars into Saturday's Peach Belt Conference semifinals against top seed USC Spartanburg, which is ranked No. 8 in Division II. The Rifles beat the Jaguars (14-5) 3-2 on Oct. 23 on a goal with 32 seconds remaining. Augusta State and USC Spartanburg meet at 2:30 p.m., preceded by No. 17 Lander against Francis Marion at noon.

    RECRUITING: Burke County lineman Lannis Baxley and receiver/safety Michael Youngblood have been invited to visit Alabama this weekend. Youngblood and Baxley have both attended Georgia games and Baxley was Florida's guest at the Tennessee game last month. A Nebraska assistant, in Georgia to visit Washington County star Terrence Edwards, will be in Waynesboro today to see Youngblood. Swainsboro junior Curtis Fann will attend the Clemson-Duke game on Saturday and Dante Brown, who has visited Georgia several times and has indicated he is leaning toward the Bulldogs, may also accept Clemson's invitation.

    BOXING: About the only things Michael Moorer has in common with Mike Tyson are their first name and occupation. And one thing Moorer has that Tyson doesn't is a win over Evander Holyfield.

    "It was the biggest moment of my life at the time," Moorer said.

    It's also a moment Moorer thinks he doesn't get enough credit for, especially from the man he beat on a narrow majority decision April 22, 1994, at Las Vegas.

    Holyfield was hospitalized a few days later with what was then diagnosed as a heart problem and he later blamed a bad left shoulder for his performance. Even as he prepares to fight Moorer again Saturday night, Holyfield said Moorer won not because of what he did, but what Holyfield didn't do.

    "It took away from my victory," Moorer said of Holyfield's excuses. "People who know boxing know I've been cheated out of it. But I got the victory and I got some titles, so I'm not worried."