Owners split over divisional switch

September 09, 1993|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Are baseball fans ready for a season filled with six -- count 'em, six -- divisional races?

Better yet, are the baseball owners ready?

Owners continued their talks about splitting the American and National leagues into three divisions each. But despite clearing up some minor disputes at yesterday's round of owners meetings, team executives still appeared divided whether to adopt the controversial plan for next season.

"The concept of three divisions is possible, that would probably pass," said National League president Bill White after emerging from a session with NL owners late yesterday.

What is less clear is how to keep all 28 teams happy with such things as their divisional assignments and whether under the new alignment, clubs would play a balanced or unbalanced schedule.

The NL and AL owners are expected to hash out some of these issues today when they meet in joint session. The New York Times and Dallas Morning News reported that owners were expected to approve a plan -- at least unofficially -- today. Before it can be implemented, the Players Association must agree to it as well.

The plan owners are considering would split each league into two divisions of five teams, and one of four teams. Here's how they apparently would break down:

* AL East: Orioles, Boston, Detroit, New York Yankees, Toronto.

* AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota.

* AL West: California, Oakland, Seattle, Texas.

* NL East: Florida, Montreal, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh.

* NL Central: Atlanta, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Houston, St. Louis.

* NL West: Colorado, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco.

One obstacle was overcome yesterday when Cleveland agreed to play in the proposed Central Division. That quieted Detroit, which was fighting to stay in the East.

But other doubters remain, including AL president Bobby Brown. "I'm a dinosaur. I don't like any of it," he said.

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