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Volume 24 No. 117
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          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).