Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB President Bob DuPuy met for several hours at league headquarters in New York yesterday in an attempt to select a new owner from among bidders trying to buy the Washington Nationals, according to baseball sources.

Selig wants to name a new owner before the playoffs begin on Oct. 3, but he first wants the District to approve a long-term lease for the Nationals at the $535 million stadium the city has agreed to build for the team along the Anacostia waterfront.

MLB last week sent out purchase agreements to eight bidders that included a price of $450 million for the team, according to several sources. Baseball did not set a deadline for the return of the purchase agreements and it is unclear how the selection process will proceed.

Mark H. Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, said at a D.C. Council committee hearing yesterday that negotiations with baseball on the lease agreement are ongoing.

"Baseball has requested we have it finished by the start of the playoffs and hopefully we'll have it done by then," Tuohey said. But council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6) warned that baseball must realize that the process could drag on if the council, which will vote on an agreement, does not agree with provisions in the document.

-- Thomas Heath