"I like to see outstanding plays made in the outfield. You see more of those now than ever before because there is more offense. And the defense is better because you have more speed in the outfield. You put the slow guy at DH."
Appeals to the purity of the sport ring hollow in the face of the sweeping changes that are taking place in the 1990s. Major League Baseball has realigned the six divisions, expanded by two teams, embarked on another two-team expansion and added a new tier of playoffs.
Gillick doesn't have a problem with that. The game has changed and its fans are hungry for a more entertaining product. But he doesn't think that National League owners are "flexible" enough to agree to adopt the designated hitter.
"I think American League owners are more flexible," he said. "The NL is less bending."
If he's right, then the only change possible would be the elimination of the DH, which might be palatable to some American League owners because it would help in the ownership crusade to cut costs.
But the likely resistance from the players union and the opposition from those still strongly supportive of the DH probably will be enough to maintain the status quo.
That's fine with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, whose opinion on the designated-hitter rule is based largely on the assumption that it is popular with Orioles fans.
"I don't want to change it," he said. "The fans like it, and the customer's always right."
Meetings at glance
What happened yesterday at the baseball owners' meetings:
* American League owners and National League owners met separately yesterday afternoon to discuss a wide range of issues, first and foremost the proposed plan for interleague play that was approved by the Executive Council on Tuesday night.
* National League owners postponed action on the proposed sale of the Pittsburgh Pirates until a number of financial wrinkles can be worked out. NL president Len Coleman said the owners would reconvene to consider approval as soon as their list of concerns was addressed.
* The Milwaukee Brewers acquired catcher Kelly Stinnett from the New York Mets in exchange for minor-league pitcher Cory Lidle in the first trade transacted during the three-day pseudo winter meeting, which is being attended by baseball general managers.
What's up today:
* Owners are expected to approve the purchase of a 25 percent interest in the California Angels by the Walt Disney Co., which will take over management of the club. Angels president Richard Brown said he saw "no hurdles" to approval by the full ownership.
* The owners are expected to vote on the experimental interleague format for 1997, which calls for teams to play 15 games against teams in the same regionalized division of the opposite league. The format may have to be revised the following year when two expansion teams begin play.