MLB OWNERS' MEETINGS TO END WITH NO REALIGNMENT VOTE LIKELY
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).