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MLB OWNERS' MEETINGS TO END WITH NO REALIGNMENT VOTE LIKELY
Published September 18, 1997
MLB owners, "barring a sudden compromise," will leave Atlanta today "without a realignment plan, a process which may drag out for another month or two," according to I.J. Rosenberg of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. After two days of meetings, "the owners realize that their leadership has not done enough homework. There are too many plans, too many questions and too many problems" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/18). In DC, Mark Maske reports that the realignment debate "seems to grow more contentious and problematic by the day." Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "Do I think there will be a vote (Thursday)? If I had to answer right now, I'd say the answer would be no" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/18). WHERE THEY'RE AT: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley reports the realignment committee has "proposed a compromise plan that circumvents an opposition group" of NL owners. The new format, with seven teams changing leagues, "appears to have the best chance of being approved" (USA TODAY, 9/18). In Chicago, Jerome Holtzman reports that owners "have dumped" the radical plan and "have downsized" to relocating seven or nine teams. One owner who requested anonymity: "Bud Selig is no longer trying for a bases-loaded home run. He's now trying for a double" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/18). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "One owner said to me when they leave here tomorrow morning, he's afraid there's going to be absolute gridlock." More Gammons: "The problem is, all these deals that Bud has made over the years have come back to roost ... it's almost as if the game is owned and operated by thirty Jesse Helms.' ... My guess is ... they're talking about either two or three weeks up to 45 days ... that'll set back a lot of ticket sales, they may end up losing some of the revenues they gain by having more games in their time zone" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/17). GIANT OPPOSITION: Giants Managing General Partner Peter Magowan, who is opposed to realignment, has "expressed his views early and often, even before he had an opportunity to register his objections with his fellow owners," according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. He "won no friends among the realignment strategists." Chass adds that some owners are "upset with Magowan because they say he is creating a non-issue" in opposing the A's move to the NL West. One owner: "They're not going to stay in Oakland. They're going to be gone" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). Magowan added yesterday that the MLBPA should be included in the debate: "We shouldn't be doing things the players want no part of. That's one of the lessons we should have learned from the strike" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 9/18). In Phoenix, Pedro Gomez writes that D'Backs Managing General Partner Jerry Colangelo "is being viewed as the villain during these owners meetings" for refusing to move to the AL. Gomez: "A few owners ... quietly spoke of Colangelo with contempt" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/18). Colangelo was reportedly asked in meetings yesterday to move to the AL, but one ownership source told Jerome Holtzman: "All he said was, 'I want to stay in the National League'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/18). NOTES: MLB President & COO Paul Beeston was profiled by Paul Crane on CNNfn's "Sports inc." Beeston: "I'm a Bud Selig man. I think he's done a lot" ("Sports Inc.," CNNfn, 9/17)......An arbitrator is expected to rule after the World Series if MLB umpires must carry stopwatches to time breaks between innings to give proper time for TV commercials. The umps have refused, "saying they were not required to hold up games for the benefit of TV." MLB filed a grievance that went to a hearing in August (USA TODAY, 9/18).