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IS REALIGNMENT ALL BUT DEAD WITH ONLY ONE/TWO TEAMS TO MOVE?
Published October 14, 1997
MLB owners "are leaning strongly toward settling for a scaled-down realignment plan" that would move the Brewers or Royals to the NL and shift the Tigers from the AL East to the AL Central for '98, according to sources of Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. The plan, which would also put the expansion D'Backs in the NL West and the Devil Rays in the AL East, could be voted on during a conference call set for Wednesday. It "would leave the sport" with a 16-team NL and a 14-club AL. Sources told Maske that the owners plan to postpone further realignment at least until after the '98 season (WASHINGTON POST, 10/14). But Royals GM Herk Robinson doubted the report: "We have said as a club that unless there are substantial changes, it would be in our best interest to stay where we are" (K.C. STAR, 10/14). GET ALONG, GO ALONG: MLB officials "are becoming increasingly irritated" with MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr's "repeated denunciation" of realignment. MLB's Labor Relations Chair Randy Levine said that the union has been kept "apprised" of realignment plans: "Even though this is something we don't have to bargain with the union, we have kept them informed from Day One." Levine also said that the owners "had the right" to terminate the DH without union approval (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14). Fehr: "They're entitled to their opinion. The fact is that the self-imposed deadline is near, and we have no new information" (Larry Whiteside, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14). Fehr said that geographical realignment could have a "negative effect" on players' earning potential. Fehr: "Would Nike be interested in Ken Griffey if he played exclusively west of the Mississippi?" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 10/14).