Major leagues' stance softens on Nintendo bid for Mariners


SEATTLE -- Steve Greenberg, Major League Baseball's deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, said last night that baseball's rules forbidding foreign ownership of a team don't apply to the bid by a Japanese-led group of investors trying to buy the Seattle Mariners.

Greenberg said that baseball is "backing off" from its initial position that the sale is unlikely because Nintendo owner Hiroshi Yamauchi would hold a majority interest in the team.

He said commissioner Fay Vincent didn't realize the bidders have the strong minority participation of local business leaders such as Frank Schrontz, Boeing chairman and chief executive officer, and that the majority interest would be controlled by Minoru Arakawa, Yamauchi's son-in-law, who has lived in the Seattle area for 15 years.

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