Thursday, November 29, 2001

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Twins’ landlord yesterday asked the state’s Supreme Court to deny a quick appeal of a judge’s order that would likely keep the team alive for one more season.
In New York, meanwhile, players and owners agreed to start hearings Tuesday on the union’s grievance to stop owners from eliminating two teams before next season.
Lawyers for commissioner Bud Selig and the Twins last week asked the court to schedule an emergency hearing by Dec. 7 on the injunction that disrupted baseball’s reduction plans by forcing the Twins to play home games next season in the Metrodome.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which operates the stadium, filed its reply yesterday, the deadline set by Chief Justice Kathleen A. Blatz. If the state Supreme Court declines the speedy review, it is unlikely baseball could eliminate the Twins before the start of spring training in February.
“Contraction is not some inevitable natural disaster that has thrown Major League Baseball into disarray,” the MSFC said. “This problem is entirely self-created and should not be thrown into the laps of the public and the courts to rectify. Contraction is a voluntary measure that can be taken off the table just as easily as it was so abruptly put on the table two days after the World Series.”
The state Supreme Court has no deadline for deciding whether to take the case. Three of the seven justices must agree for the court to speed up a case, which has happened only 15 times since 1990.
In case the request is denied, the Twins and baseball have asked for an expedited hearing in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which generally takes six to eight months to rule.
Hennepin County District Judge Harry Seymour Crump issued the injunction Nov. 16, 10 days after owners voted to fold two franchises. Although the teams haven’t been picked, the Twins and the Montreal Expos are the likely targets.
The Twins and baseball argued in their papers to the Supreme Court last week that “the district court departed significantly from established precedent and the usual course of justice.”
The MSFC claims that the Twins’ lease requires them to play in the Metrodome next year. The team and baseball claim that any breach can be made up later with money damages.
Meanwhile, lawyers for players and owners met with arbitrator Shyam Das, and the sides agreed to two days of hearings next week in Irving, Texas, where the executive board of the players’ association is scheduled to hold its annual meeting.

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