SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL EXPANSION COMMITTEE INVITES CITIES TO GIVE UPDATES

     In what may be an effort "to protect itself" against
complaints that "groups did not get a chance to be heard," the
five finalists for baseball expansion will give brief updates
before the MLB expansion committee Tuesday before the committee
makes its final recommendation.  The owners are expected to award
two franchises at their meetings March 7-9 in Palm Beach, with
Tampa Bay and Phoenix "widely considered the favorites" (Marc
Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/3).  But USA TODAY's Hal Bodley
reports, "It's no better than 50-50 that ownership will be asked
to vote on the two cities at this meeting."  Bodley also notes
the questions the committee is facing on where to place the new
teams.  Because of the lack of a fifth team in both Western
divisions, "Both leagues need Phoenix."  However, Bodley notes
that two leagues of 15 teams would create a  need for inter-
league play -- thus raising the DH question.  Bodley expects the
franchises the be awarded before Phoenix's April 1 deadline for
stadium financing and then "set the fee ($140 million) and keep
the newcomers hanging for awhile as to which league they'll play
in" (USA TODAY, 3/3).
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