Jerry Buss Shopping, Has Eyes on S.D. Padres

From Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss says he's "in the market for a baseball team" and will see about buying the San Diego Padres following owner Joan Kroc's announcement that she is selling the club.

"I probably will make a call (today) and throw my hat in the ring," Buss said after Kroc's statement on Tuesday that the franchise is on the block because she wants to spend more time with her family. (Story, Section C).

"There comes a time in everyone's life when you have to look at your priorities, and my first priority is my family," Kroc said. "So I intend to semi-retire from public life to maximize the quality time I have with them, to travel and to enjoy my own personal time."

Jerry Kapstein, a longtime player agent who is married to Kroc's daughter, Linda, has been authorized to handle sale discussions with prospective buyers.

Sources have told The Times that the selling price could exceed $100 million, which would be the largest amount ever paid for a team.

Buss, who has a house in Encinitas in northern San Diego County, said he is "in the market for a baseball team."

"One hundred million for the Padres sounds a little high, offhand, but you really don't know until you see the P-and-Ls (profit and loss statements) and take a closer look at it," Buss said.

Buss noted that he wrote a letter to Kroc this summer asking about the franchise's availability, but received a reply from her representatives saying the club was not for sale.

The franchise is tied to the city by a lease agreement for use of San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium that runs through March, 2000.

Kroc put the team up for sale in November, 1986, and a tentative agreement was announced in March, 1987, to sell it to George Argyros, then the owner of the Seattle Mariners. But the sale fell through and was aborted in May, 1987, with Kroc deciding she would hold onto the club for the time being.

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