RUPERT MURDOCH PLAYS HARDBALL Australian Rupert Murdoch has made a habit of buying broadcast rights to North American sports at staggering prices. Now he's close to buying his own team--the L.A. Dodgers baseball club--for a major league cost of $350 million. The franchise was recently valued at $147 million. No wonder Dodgers owner Pete O'Malley declared himself "pleased" that the negotiations were winding up. As usual, the tabloid and TV billionaire was willing to fork over what seems an un-economic sum, because his vision goes far beyond Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Murdoch called the Dodgers "a great American institution." Great...

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