Cities such as Denver and Washington may have to wait until the next decade for baseball expansion teams. But at least the American and National leagues are studying the possibility of adding clubs.
A six-member subcommittee, headed by league presidents Bobby Brown and Bart Giamatti, delivered a report on expansion this week to baseball club owners gathered for their quarterly meeting.Any setup for expansion could vary drastically from the past. For instance, the committee will require new clubs to be flexible to move between divisions, and to have the capability to develop a spring training site and a minor league system prior to beginning big league play.
"Expansion is a process that raises all the issues of baseball," Giamatti said in a prepared statement. "It brings into play all of baseball's dynamics as an industry. When it is done, it must be done thoughtfully and carefully so as to be sure that it is done right for everyone."
Brown said the consensus is that expansion will occur in the 1990s, "but it is a complicated process that requires a tremendous amount of study and planning."
Criteria for expansion developed by the long-range planning committee include local team ownership with community roots, a baseball stadium owned or controlled by the club and used solely for baseball and long-term support by local government.
Also to be considered are procedures established for ownership by Major League Baseball, such as examining personal commitment, financial status, potentaial conflicts of interest and plans for running a ball club.
The expansion committee grew from the joint expansion committee of the American and National leagues.