Monday, October 29, 2001

Selig: Contraction still an option for next season

The Associated Press

        PHOENIX — Eliminating two major league teams by the start of next season remains a viable option, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Sunday before Game 2 of the World Series.

        “Can it be worked out for 2002? I can't tell you that. But I wouldn't rule it out,” Selig said as he stood by the New York Yankees dugout at Bank One Ballpark.

        Some owners want to eliminate teams that are losing money and taking a large part of the $160 million in the revenue-sharing fund this year. If owners approve contraction, they would eliminate the Montreal Expos plus one other team, with the Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins among the candidates. All three teams have sought government assistance in constructing new ballparks.

        “As the (economic) problems have exacerbated,” Selig said, “it has become clearer to me that everything should be on the table, including contraction.”

        Owners plan to meet in Chicago the week following the World Series, and Selig said he wasn't sure if any decisions on contraction would be made then.

        The players' association has taken the position its approval is needed to eliminate teams because of the affects on player contracts and work rules.

        In addition, baseball's labor contract expires at the end of the World Series, and talks have not yet begun on a new agreement. The union says it is ready to start bargaining and is waiting for management.


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