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Friday, July 14, 2000

Pecos teams look to reach subesctionals

PECOS, July 14, 2000 -- The Pecos Little League All-Stars have had things easy in the 11-12  year old division so far, outscoring their opponents 33-7 in three District  4 Tournament games.

Pecos' 9-10 year olds have also won three games, but things have been a lot closer, as they edged Crane in their opener and did the same this past Monday in Crane against North Concho, while the Junior League has had one close game and one blowout so far in their 13-14 year old division.

All three teams will try to remain unbeaten, or at worst, suffer only one loss this weekend, as the semifinals and finals of the double-elimination tournaments are held in San Angelo. The winners will advance to subsectional play next week.

The 9-10 year olds start first, at 8 p.m. tonight at San Angelo Lake View against San Angelo Northern. Since both teams are unbeaten, the teams will play again at 8 p.m. Saturday and possibly face a deciding game on Sunday.

The 11-12 and 13-14 year old teams will both face San Angelo Lake View on Saturday _ the Junior Leaguers in the tournament semifinals at 11 a.m. at Nathan Donsky Field on Knickerbocker Road, and the Little Leaguers at 5 p.m. at San Angelo Northern (West 19th Street), with a second game if needed at about 7:30 p.m.

Coach Vaughn Garnto is hoping Eddie Vela, who threw a no-hitter in the tournament opener over Crane, can keep Pecos from having to play a 7:30 p.m. contest. The 11-12 year olds only need one win, while Lake View, with a loss in sub-district play, would have to be Pecos twice to win the title.

The Junior Leaguers edged San Angelo Northern last Saturday by a 6-4 score. Hilario Bustamante got the victory, while Rigo Ramirez, who beat  North Concho earlier in the day, 14-3, figures to start Saturday morning.

Baseball eyes dumping Expos, other team

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK — After 40 years of the expansion era, baseball might  find itself reversing course. 

Owners appeared set to put off realignment until 2002 when they met Friday, and there was talk they might even discuss getting rid of the Montreal Expos and another team.

Colorado owner Jerry McMorris first discussed so-called contraction a year ago, but commissioner Bud Selig played down the idea.

When asked the question on national TV last weekend, Selig said: "I don't want to rule anything out because there's no question that we do have to solve that problem, because (disparity) is getting worse by the day."

Owners gathered to receive the sport's latest economic study report, and to be briefed on the format of next year's schedule and the negotiations for new national TV contracts.

While contraction may not be on the formal agenda, two owners, speaking on the condition they not be identified, said the idea is being given increased attention by team heads because of Montreal's inability to get a new ballpark. The idea probably will be discussed in the hallways.

"It is being taken more seriously," McMorris said Thursday night. "It's just because of disparity and how do we find our way out of difficult situations."

If baseball ever decides to shrink, its central fund, which gets money from national broadcasting and licensing contracts, could be used to buy back the Expos along with one other team, one of the owners said.

"If we disappear, they're going to have to come up with another club that could produce as many Guerreros and Martinezes and Walkers," Expos manager Felipe Alou said, referring to Valdimir Guerrero, Pedro Martinez and Larry Walker, who became stars in Montreal.

"We've heard all kinds of stuff in the last two years about us and about baseball, so nothing surprises me," Alou said.

While there is no obvious choice for a second team, Florida, Minnesota and Oakland have failed to get new ballparks, and Tampa Bay has seen a large decrease in attendance.

As for realignment, Texas had been pushing hardest in order to get out of the AL West, where it has late TV start times for intradivision road games. But the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City and Minnesota were against the plan to place six teams in the AL Central and just four in the AL East and AL West.

In addition, Arizona objected to the plan, under which it would move from the NL West to the AL West.

Selig, several owners said, does not appear ready to call for a vote on realignment any time soon, effectively putting it off until the 2002 season at the earliest.

"Nothing seriously has been debated in the last few months," Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "I think most likely significant realignment will be put off a year."

The two owners who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed McLane's assessment that no realignment would take place for 2001.

The one change owners were to hear Friday is the format for next season's schedule: Teams will play division rivals 18 times each instead of 12 or 13.

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