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"
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).