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duke of dorwood
10-23-2001, 10:21 PM
A spokesman for baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the contraction issue is still on the table, but that no decisions have been made, and indeed no serious discussions of which teams to eliminate have taken place.

"It's pure speculation. The commissioner is still studying the possibility of contraction, but nothing's been decided," said Richard Levin, public-relations director for major-league baseball.

Another source in the Expos organization called the report "a fabrication," while another National League front-office executive said all talk of contraction or moving franchises will have to wait until a new collective agreement is ironed out between the owners and players.

The prevailing sentiment among players, and indeed among several owners, is that baseball should simply prolong the existing contract for a season or two to avert a work stoppage this off-season.

That argument has a great deal of currency among players, who believe the spectre of contraction is little more than a negotiating tool. But the NL executive warned that not all owners support rolling over the current contract.

"Continuing under the current terms only benefits one side - the players. I can tell you not all the owners support it," said the source.

Lots of Speculation

The latest rumours seem to be a rehash of speculation this season that baseball would merge the beleaguered Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays to create a single, Orlando-based franchise.

This summer, ESPN pundit Peter Gammons mused that Loria might be given an opportunity to take over that team, given the owners' dislike of the current Tampa ownership, and Florida owner John Henry's continued frustrations in attempting to build a new stadium for the Marlins.

:boston
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