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MLB, union say new deal could happen by next week

DETROIT -- Negotiators for baseball players and owners bargained again Saturday as they intensified efforts to reach a new labor contract before the end of the World Series.

The sides' Friday session in New York didn't end until 3 a.m. Saturday, and they returned later in the day for more negotiations before recessing talks in the early evening until Monday. Several people on both sides with knowledge of the talks said it was possible an agreement could be reached next week, perhaps in time to be announced when the World Series shifts to St. Louis.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, participated in the Friday night talks before heading to the World Series.

The current contract runs out Dec. 19, and reaching agreement before the expiration would be a landmark for baseball, which had eight work stoppages from 1972-95.

In August 2002, the sides agreed to a deal hours before players were set to strike. It was the first time since 1970 that players and owners reached a labor contract without a work stoppage.

Revenue-sharing, the luxury tax and ensuring that teams spend the revenue-sharing money they receive in an effort to improve themselves are the chief topics in the talks, which have taken place without public acrimony.

A new agreement would run through 2011 and ensure baseball 16 years of labor peace since the 1994-95 strike, which wiped out the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

"By the mid-'90s people were tired of reading about it," commissioner Bud Selig said earlier in the week. "There were no winners. There was a lot of acrimony. There was a lot of hatred. There was a lot of bitterness. It was bad. I give both sides an enormous amount of credit.

"Why is the sport doing so remarkably well now? You have to put labor peace at the top of the list," he said. "It wasn't much of a relationship for 30 or 35 years. The relationship between the parties is now what it should be. It's mature. We understand them. They understand us. That's the way it's supposed to be. Owners and players fighting with commissioners in the middle fighting with both was just not a very happy set of circumstances."