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MLB Vs. World Not Likely Soon

July 21, 1998

ROME (AP) _ A modern day Murderers’ Row of McGwire, Griffey and Bonds, backed by pitching from Maddux, Glavine and Cone will not be taking on the world for several years, if at all.

Plenty of financial aspects need to be ironed out before major league players participate in the Olympics or other international events, the head of the sport’s world governing body said Tuesday.

``They have their long league season. It’s not possible to bring the major leaguers in without the right accords,″ said International Baseball Association president Aldo Notari in a telephone interview from Florence.

``I am talking about economic values. There are huge interests involved in their league.″

Notari met on Monday with Paul Beeston, major league baseball’s chief operating officer, and Donald Fehr, head of the players’ union, to discuss the issue.

``If the owners can reach an agreement with the players first, then we can make progress,″ Notari said.

Notari was in Florence for the opening game Tuesday night of the World Championships, in which Italy trounced first-time participant China 10-2. Italy’s Massimiliano Masin pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits.

The other 14 teams see action Wednesday, including defending champion Cuba against Spain, and the United States _ with a roster of college players _ against the Netherlands.

Notari ruled out major leaguers playing in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney, Australia, which overlap with the baseball playoffs. But he said players from the minor leagues will be in Sydney.

These championships are the first to allow professional players. But there is only a smattering, none from the majors.

``And it is still going to be difficult for 2004 in Athens,″ he said. ``We hope that by then that the problems will be resolved. But everything still needs to be agreed.″

Sticking points include dates and security, Notari said.

``The Olympics or worlds would be different and better with all the best players. The panorama would be changed,″ he added. ``Not just the United States would be strong. There’s Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and others.″

Notari said he hoped the United States would bid to host the 2001 worlds. The last U.S. host was St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1974 _ the last time the country won the title.

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