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Milwaukee could be an NL town again

October 14, 1997

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ If Kansas City declines to switch leagues, Milwaukee would become a National League town for the first time since 1965, baseball owners and officials said Tuesday.

Owners are set to vote Wednesday on a plan that calls for either the Royals or Brewers to switch from the AL to the NL. Kansas City has until about the end of the month to decide, and Milwaukee has said it would agree to switch if the Royals balk, the owners and officials said on the condition they not be identified.

``By virtue of two expansion teams coming into the National League, realignment of some kind almost becomes mandatory,″ Brewers vice president Laurel Prieb said Tuesday. ``It’s more a case of which route it takes.″

Baseball owners were set to approve a resolution Wednesday that would have the expansion Tampa Bay Devils Rays join the AL East and shift Detroit from the AL East to AL Central.

Kansas City or Milwaukee would switch from the AL Central to the NL Central, leaving the NL with 16 teams and the AL with 14.

Milwaukee has had an AL franchise since 1970, when Bud Selig’s group bought the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court. The Braves, who arrived in Milwaukee in 1953 after more than a half-century in Boston, had abandoned Milwaukee after the 1965 season, moving to Atlanta. Milwaukee, which the Braves had abandoned after the 1965 season.

A switch to the NL would bring 12 games a season _ six home and six road _ with the popular Chicago Cubs, along with visits from the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

But, at least until a more comprehensive realignment is introduced, the Brewers would lose big draws from the AL such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Milwaukee would have interleague games against its former AL Central rivals: Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota and Kansas City.

``Whichever scenario occurs, I think that there’s positives to be found,″ Prieb said. ``I suppose like everybody else we’re waiting to see what occurs.″

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Eds: Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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