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Vote on Realignment Looks Unlikely

Baseball: Giant owner Magowan says players should be consulted. Meetings end today.


ATLANTA — What a revolutionary concept.

A baseball owner actually said Wednesday that the players' union should be involved in the decision on realignment.

A partnership?

"We shouldn't be doing things the players want no part of," San Francisco Giant owner Peter Magowan said. "That's one of the lessons we should have learned from the strike.

"Maybe they don't have the legal power to stop it, but that isn't the question. The question we should be asking [the players] is, 'What do you guys want?' "

Magowan wants no part of a plan that would put the Oakland A's in the National League. He has threatened legal action if the A's intrude on what he contends is his exclusive NL territory.

He continued to plead his case to the media Wednesday, igniting a feud of sorts with Arizona Diamondback owner Jerry Colangelo and turning the lobby of the upscale hotel at which owners continued to mull realignment into a mini-traffic jam.

The three-day meeting ends today with no vote scheduled on realignment and no indication when there will be a vote.

Magowan said the union should be included in the process.

"I'm flattered by the interest," Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, said from New York. "Our interest is their interest. I'm hopeful they'll come out of these meetings and we can sit down and work out a meaningful realignment plan."

Fehr refused to comment on how far he thinks realignment should go, but he said the union has received direct communication from people involved in ownership planning, leading him to believe there will be joint talks after the owners leave Atlanta.

That might herald a new era, but a baseball official said it isn't going to happen.

The official said the union has no authority in realignment and that the only meetings that have been held with Fehr--and will be held with him in the future--are designed to keep him informed.

While the partnership remains on hold, so does realignment.

The new favorite is a plan in which seven teams would switch leagues and looks like this:


East--Philadelphia, New York Mets, Atlanta, Pittsburgh.

Central--Cincinnati, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City, St. Louis.

West--Dodgers, San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado.

Pacific--Angels, Oakland, Seattle, Arizona.


East--Toronto, Boston, Baltimore, New York Yankees, Florida.

Central--Cleveland, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal.

West--Chicago White Sox, Texas, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Houston.

Magowan reiterated that if the two Chicago and two New York teams are being placed in different leagues, so should the Giants and A's because of their proximity, comparatively small population base and the NL exclusivity he received when buying the team.

He railed about the fact that he does not have a veto--since the Giants are not switching leagues--but that the Diamondbacks, who have not played a game and are not switching leagues, do and can exercise it if they are not in the NL West (or the new Pacific spinoff), where they were placed in January.

He said the realignment dilemma could be resolved easily if Arizona would move to the American League.

"Magowan is trying to bring attention to us to protect his own agenda," Colangelo said. "If I'm not mistaken, he's been playing in a two-team market for several years. We're the new kid on the block. We're not even part of the equation.

"We don't have any leverage, but we're going to be one of the industry's top revenue producers right from the start and a payer in revenue sharing.

"Our fans want the National League, and we should have the opportunity to maximize our revenue by remaining where our fans want us. [Magowan's] bitching and complaining isn't going to undo [what was done in January]."

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