Obstacles Remain for Owners


It remained uncertain Monday whether major league baseball owners will vote on realignment during a three-day meeting that begins tonight with another attempt by the realignment committee to refine a plan that would eventually win majority approval.

American and National League owners were expected to vote during a joint meeting on Thursday, but acting Commissioner Bud Selig, who seldom puts an issue to a vote without knowing the outcome and who is a proponent of major realignment, said Monday he didn't know if there would be a vote here.

"It's like revenue sharing," Selig said of the long struggle to get owners to agree to that controversial concept.

"We have to let the process play out, and we probably can be flexible for another month or so."

Selig was hopeful of getting a 1998 schedule to the clubs and players union by Sept. 30, but he called that a self-imposed deadline and said it can be extended.

"Everyone is in favor of realignment, but the question is how to do it," he said.

The radical realignment plan that was favored by Selig and which would have had 15 teams switching leagues has been modified into versions in which anywhere from seven to 11 teams would switch. However, no plan is thought to have sufficient support, and San Francisco Giant owner Peter Magowan continues to threaten baseball with a lawsuit if the Oakland Athletics are moved into the National League, intruding on what Magowan contends is his exclusive NL territory.

"The last thing baseball needs is another legal mess," Magowan said Monday.

Selig refused to comment on Magowan's threats, but a baseball official pointed out that the concept in which all eight Pacific and Mountain time zone teams would be in the National League has the support of the other seven.

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