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Owners look at interleague schedules National League


NEW YORK -- In the next couple of weeks, the baseball owners' committee studying changes in league alignment and postseason playoffs will examine its first schedule for interleague play. The mock schedule would provide for 16 or 20 games between teams in the corresponding divisions in each league.

The schedule is one of six the committee has commissioned for its study and for a presentation to the 28 owners at their meeting in Denver next month.

The committee is studying an increase from two divisions to three in each league, and an expansion of the playoffs from four teams to eight. Any changes the owners adopt must also be approved by the Players Association. If the process runs smoothly, the new format could be in place as early as next season.

Under the format, teams would play four games -- two home, two away -- against each of the teams in the corresponding division in the other league.

Under the plan, the Mets, for example, would play four games each against the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles, the Toronto BlueJays and the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees, besides the games against the Mets, would play four times each against the Montreal Expos, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Florida Marlins.

The owners, at a meeting March 4, gave preliminary approval to a three-division alignment and eight-team playoffs.

Interleague play would feature most of the natural geographical pairings: Mets-Yankees, Cubs-White Sox, Cubs-Brewers, Expos-Blue Jays, Cardinals-Royals, Pirates-Indians, Dodgers-Angels, Padres-Angels, and Giants-Athletics.

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