Extra Innings For The Antitrust Exemption?

Seems like dark days lie ahead for baseball team owners. Look how acting commissioner--and Milwaukee Brewers owner--Bud Selig got beaned at a Mar. 21 U.S. Senate hearing. Its chairman, Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), a longstanding critic of the owners, led a chorus of threats to revoke the major leagues' cherished antitrust exemption. Senator Connie Mack (R-Fla.), grandson and namesake of the Hall of Famer, said the sport needs "free-market discipline."

But the owners are really in pretty good shape. Metzenbaum retires this year. And Mack may be mollified if a franchise is granted to Tampa Bay. Plus, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Me.), a friend of Selig and other owners, may land the commish's job, which would boost their Capitol Hill clout.

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