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Saturday, August 3
Owners remain unified on contraction

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig wouldn't say whether a strike would be worth the cost to owners if the sport emerged with a new economic system.

Players and owners face a key week at the bargaining table, with the union threatening to set a strike date as early as Aug. 12.

"The system is so, in my judgment, badly flawed, it's going to take a myriad of solutions,'' Selig said Saturday during a panel at the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Sounding the gloom-and-doom theme he has spread for much of the two years, Selig repeated much of his standard speech on the ills owners think afflict baseball. Asked whether a new system is worth the cost of a strike -- which would be baseball's ninth work stoppage since 1972, he responded: "I'm not going to comment on that. We'll discuss all those things at the table.

"We know what we have to accomplish, and I think the players association knows that. Now we just have to go to work. ... Now, nobody understands the sensitivity about a strike more than I do. We need to get the focus of our sport back out on the field.''

-- On contraction: "This is the most unified owners have been on any subject.''

-- On the possibility of franchise moves: "I've said about relocation -- they'll be relocation after we've changed our economic system. Contraction is going to be take place before relocation. We will relocate teams in the future, but we need to solve out internal problems first.''

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