The Cincinnati Reds hadn't heard anything from baseball Thursday on the future of controlling owner Marge Schott, and Schott wasn't talking.
Baseball officials are preparing to announce a decision that could end her 14-year reign as the Reds' managing partner. She reportedly has agreed to sell her controlling shares, with the understanding that baseball will otherwise continue her 21/2-year suspension from day-to-day operation of the team. She began the punishment in 1996 for having made inflammatory remarks about minorities.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told Cincinnati television station WCPO Thursday he did not expect an immediate announcement.
Baseball planned to wait until after the World Series to make an announcement regarding Schott. But even though the Series is over, baseball is under no immediate pressure to act because Schott's current suspension lasts through the end of the month.
Three Ohio newspapers - the Dayton Daily News, Cincinnati Post and Cincinnati Enquirer -- reported Thursday that baseball's decision would be announced shortly.
According to published reports, Schott has agreed to sell her 61/2 partnership shares, including two general partner shares, before the end of the calendar year. If she doesn't, baseball officials reportedly are ready to extend Schott's suspension until the end of the Reds' general partnership agreement on Dec. 31, 2000.
Schott declined comment from her home Wednesday night. She did not return a call to her office Thursday.
The Reds have not been told anything by major league baseball, Reds spokesman Rob Butcher said.
Baseball officials have not confirmed receipt of any written notification from Schott about her plans to sell her control of the Reds.
There are a total of 15 shares in the team. Should Schott settle on a buyer, the remaining limited partners of the Reds would have the option of matching the price, as tey did this summer when Frisch's Restaurants Inc. attempted to sell its share to an outside buyer. Limited partners Carl Lindner, William Reik, George Strike and Louise Nippert joined to buy the share for $7 million.
During Schott's current suspension, she sold her Chevrolet-Geo dealership in suburban Cincinnati to settle a complaint by General Motors Corp. that she falsified sales records to meet quotas. Major league baseball has looked into allegations that she used the names of Reds employees on the falsified records, giving the sport grounds to extend her suspension for two more years.
The team's limited partners can vote Schott out when the partnership agreement expires at the end of 2000.
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