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BASEBALL OWNERS VOTE TO ADOPT INTERLEAGUE PLAY
Published January 19, 1996
MLB owners voted unanimously to approve a proposal to experiment with limited interleague play in '97. Under the plan, each team will play 15-16 games versus teams from the same division in the opposite league; games will be played around Memorial Day and Labor Day; the DH will be used in AL parks only ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/18). WHAT MAKES BUD HAPPY? NEWSDAY's Jon Heyman writes, "Yesterday was a rare day for total good feeling in the baseball community" (NEWSDAY, 1/19). Murray Chass notes the likely controversy over the DH under the new system, but writes acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "was too ecstatic, though, to allow details such as the [DH] to intrude on his elation" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19). Selig: "I think the DH is a nonissue" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19). Selig, on possible union opposition: "Don [Fehr] and I personally have talked about interleague play for a long time and its a subject we've never had any disagreement on" (Tom Keegan, N.Y. POST, 1/19). Red Sox CEO John Harrington, on the DH: "It might kill interleague play, but I don't expect the union to do that" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19). TV REAX: ESPN's Charley Steiner: "On a day when Lisa Marie tells Michael to beat it, when Disney buys the Angels in the outfield -- and the infield, and the dugout, and the bullpen -- Major League Baseball took a major step towards Fantasy Land." Peter Gammons: "All that's happened the last couple years has been about demographics. ... They are trying to address some fans who really don't care about numbers, but about moving forward" ("SportsCenter," 1/18). PRINT REAX: In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin: "Interleague play will work better only because nothing the owners came up with in Los Angeles could possibly be worse than the Baseball Network" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 1/19). In Chicago, Bob Verdi: "This schedule modification is so overdue and so logical that even the union's most militant soldiers will have to dig deep for causes to resist" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18). In New York, Mike Lupica -- arguing that MLB needs a CBA, a commissioner, revenue-sharing and a less confrontational union: "Baseball did not take a giant step forward yesterday with interleague play. It just danced a little more" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/19). Ira Berkow, who argues for realignment: "Baseball was frightened into it" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19). Steve Jacobson: "In a word, it stinks. It messes up a century of geometry" (NEWSDAY, 1/19). In Washington, Tom Boswell: "It's about time baseball tried to please the public, even if embracing change leads to a few errors in judgment" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/19). In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg: "Interleague play should put a charge into a sport that continues to try to regain what it lost in the strike" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19). But Terence Moore adds, the problem with baseball isn't the lack of interleague play, it's the lack of a CBA -- and the fact "that most of those who run the game would rather trick the public with smoke and mirrors" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19). In Orlando, George Diaz writes, "For once, baseball got it right" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/19). In Tampa, Martin Fennelly: "Interleague play isn't a grim reaper. He has come and going, going, gone" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/19). In Dallas, Cathy Harasta: "Making sense and taking a positive step? Baseball owners?" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/19).