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Owners zip through light agenda
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11/20/2002 7:18 pm ET 
Owners zip through light agenda
By Jim Molony / MLB.com

IRVING, Texas -- The Collective Bargaining Agreement isn't quite three months old, but it is already being felt in some corners of the baseball world. Wednesday, at their annual winter meeting, several Major League Baseball owners said that the new agreement has helped foster a new solidarity with the players and the outlook for the game has improved as a result.

"We're all working to make the game better," Arizona's Jerry Colangelo said. "That's not to say we weren't before, there's just a feeling that owners and players are really working together for the same thing these days."

Which wasn't the case this time last year.

"We've come a long way down the road," Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. said. "We had a lot of turmoil, you've got to remember we were getting ready for contraction this time last year. Contraction and then uncertainty about a labor agreement. Lot different this time."

With labor peace across baseball's landscape and contraction not an immediate issue, the owners zipped through a relatively light agenda -- compared to previous years -- in less than three hours.

According to Commissioner Bud Selig, the owners were briefed on the status of the Montreal litigation and Bob DuPuy and John McHale gave a report on the Montreal Expos, the team currently being run by the league. The Expos will play 22 home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003.

The owners also listened to a financial update, a report on MLB's Advanced Media including MLB.com, a marketing report and a report on the Olympics by Sandy Alderson, who also updated the owners about the status of time of games and proposals concerning the minimum ages for batboys.

No new policies were announced and Selig indicated updates on the topics discussed Wednesday might be finalized when the owners meet again in January.

"We made a lot of progress, we reviewed the financial condition of baseball, the new labor agreement and some new ideas," McLane said. "The Commissioner touched on several new programs he's initiated."

Owners differed on whether enough time had passed to determine whether the new Collective Bargaining Agreement had significantly impacted the league's profitability, but there seemed to be general agreement that the outlook this year was much better than last November.

"I think it's way too early to tell what kind of impact (the new CBA) is going to have," McLane said. "I think when we have the Winter Meetings we'll see the first real indication."

Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks said he has noticed a change as a result of the new CBA.

"We knew we had to lower our payroll because we stepped out farther than we needed to (financially)," Hicks said. "Only now we're going to have to pay in revenue sharing on top of that. So it's definitely impacted what we're going to be able to do."

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at mlbmolony@aol.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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